Dominic Sacco and Ryan McVean take a look at some of the British academic establishments exploring esports (updated as of June 2019).
With more and more esports jobs cropping up around the world, educational establishments are starting to catch on.
There are many colleges in North America already offering scholarships in esports, and now UK colleges and universities are looking at integrating esports into their courses.
Staffordshire University introduced the first esports degree in the UK, as well as a Masters degree, focusing on the business and event management aspects of esports. Students will be introduced to esports culture, learn about managing and developing events and teams, and will be given access to Staffordshire’s dedicated esports lab and ‘pro gamer training facility’.
Even Leeds United Sports College has launched a new Esports Academy in association with Sheffield FC, offering students the chance to earn a Level 3 BTEC qualification at Elland Road.
Furthermore, Chinese giant Tencent has teamed up with the University of Oxford to host tournaments and offer courses, in order to increase the profile of esports and foster talent.
Elsewhere, the University of Leicester has also announced a partnership with ESL UK, to develop a course that helps students gain insight into the esports industry. Read more about this here.
Qualification provider AIM is also looking at adding esports to some of its existing college-level courses. It’s looking at which skills are required for esports and the different positions it has to offer students, and this should launch in 2018.
Barnsley College has revealed it is offering the following course: Sports: Esports, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Level 3 Full-time.
Furthermore, London South East Colleges is also looking at esports skills and aspects being added to their courses. Both British Esports and Ukie sit on its advisory board.
Speaking of colleges, the City of Liverpool College has partnered with alternative education provider VSI (Visionary Sports Investment) to deliver an esports course which aims to develop emerging talent.
The Prince’s Trust also backed an esports workshop course dedicated on teaching skills through esports. This helped unemployed young adults learn new skills and access new opportunities. The group behind it, EOB Esports Academy, is doing more in the esports space too.
Abertay University is also looking at holding esports courses and have a PHD student currently working on an esports thesis.
In 2017, another university, the University of Manchester, launched a whitepaper on esports and the opportunities and challenges in this area. The uni called for greater unity in UK esports between companies and for strong collaboration between third-parties to help grow the esports ecosystem in the UK.
The University of Manchester also held a workshop in London, which the British Esports Association spoke at.
Other third-parties are looking at getting involved in esports courses in the UK to help train up and coming talent.
Of course, the British Esports Association has completed its Championships pilot for schools and colleges (won by Solihull School and Sunderland College), and will publish our findings document soon. You can sign up to take part in the full British Esports Championships for the 2018-19 academic year here.
And there’s the brilliant Digital Schoolhouse tournament by UK games industry trade body Ukie.
Then there’s the National University Esports League (NUEL), a group focused on bringing nationwide varsity competition to the UK, holding national championships for many top games including League of legends and Counter-Strike, and National Student Esports (NSE), which launched in April 2018 and is also looking to host university esports tournaments.
Have we missed anyone? Are you from an educational establishment or a company looking at esports? Please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to this article