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Getting ahead of the game

Latin is dead. History is old news. The digital age is upon us and one very cool school is re-booting the curriculum to take digitally shrewd kids to the next level, creating the technology tycoons and new media moguls of the future.

Jade Parkinson-Hill, The Studio School

Jade Parkinson-Hill, The Studio School

We meet The Studio’s Director of Enterprise, Jade Parkinson Hill to discover why Liverpool is in a class of its own when it comes to digital education.

Established in September 2013, The Studio is the first school in the UK to specialise in technology media and gaming for 14 to 19 year olds. Its revolutionary approach combines academic studies with enterprise to bridge the skills gap in the digital media sector.

Why is this important? Because the digital media and gaming industry is blowing up. Big time. More than 90 per cent of the population have at least one digital device in their home. The UK’s video games sector is now bigger than either its film or music industries, and is expected to grow at double the rate of the rest of the economy. In short, the UK needs creative and qualified digital talent to maintain its global position in the sector. Cue The Studio.

“Gaming is a serious business and its global impact cannot be underestimated. Digital technology is changing the way we live, the way we think about the world and the way we interact with it. Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?” said Jade.

The Studio School

The Studio School

Based in The Baltic Triangle’s Contemporary Urban Centre, The Studio benefits from cutting edge technology, state of the art facilities, strong support from leading industry players and a prime location.

“This is where the industry is. It’s on our doorstep. Liverpool has always been a creative city and here in Baltic we are surrounded by entrepreneurial game, app, and creative media companies. It gives the place a great energy and the students respond to that.

“Industry support is fundamental to our success. Our partners are made up of leading Liverpool digital companies, they feed in to our curriculum, mentor our students and host workshops, which keep us close to a constantly evolving sector”, said Jade.

Indeed The Studio has attracted support from some of the industry’s key players including international digital designer and artist Brendan Dawes, the government’s go to digital coding whizz Jordan Hatch and Set Go Ltd co-founder Clemens Wangerin. Dave Brown, Managing Director of Liverpool based mobile app company Apposing, also champions the school:

Studio School - Cinema

Studio School - Cinema

“These kids just get it. They’re passionate, tech savvy and most of all creative and full of ideas. This is not an industry they dip into. They live it. It’s part of their lives. Studio School takes that passion and uses it to develop rewarding careers, providing the industry with the skilled workforce we need.”

But The Studio does not simply create a conducive environment; students can also design their own education, Jade said:

“Why wait? Case studies, theory, coursework, they’re all very important, but the best way to learn about entrepreneurship is to become an entrepreneur. Our school operates within the traditional office working hours, from 9-5, but we have students developing enterprises in their own time. Using their skills to put their work out there.

“Our students are passionate, articulate and very confident. These qualities combined with natural creativity and digital awareness help to ensure that our students are creating opportunities rather than waiting for them. It’s an exciting time for the industry and The Studio is a really exciting place to be.”

Ideas Factory

Ideas Factory

The school’s annual Ideas Factory event highlights the realisation of that potential and proves to be a persuasive tool for promotion and recruitment. The two-day camp invites 11-16 year olds, with an interest in the industry to meet mentors and students and even play the games that students have created.

“Ideas Factory speaks volumes. Seeing is believing. The games our students have created are amazing and are actually really beautiful. I think people come along and are stunned by what these children can do. They start to believe that the next big idea in gaming or digital could really come from our school.”

In its first year Studio School attracted 140 pupils and expects to have more than 300 in its second year.

“But we remain purposefully small as we put a big emphasis on coaching” said Jade. “We’re getting a lot of interest. There aren’t many schools like ours.”

To learn more about The Studio and Ideas Factory visit thestudio-liverpool.co.uk

 

Date created: March 23, 2014

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