UK games developer, Creative Assembly, donates over £30,000 in laptops to students-in-need via NextGen Skills Academy

Through the developer’s award-winning education programme, the Legacy Project, 50 students will receive high performance laptops to support their education through COVID-19 and beyond.

To help combat the additional barriers to education COVID-19 has caused, especially for students from lower-income families, Creative Assembly (CA) has donated over £30,000 of brand-new laptops that can run specialised games industry software applications.

NextGen Skills Academy estimate that around 25% of their Level 3 Extended Diploma students (aged 16+) do not have access to a laptop or suitable hardware at home, which is in line with the growing UK child poverty figures.

Emma Smith, Head of Talent at Creative Assembly said:

“One of the goals of the Legacy Project is to breakdown the barriers to education and enable more diverse talent to pursue a game development career. There are so many young talented students who are disadvantaged due to the lack of access to quality technology, and this has been amplified during the global pandemic. We want to play our part in addressing these inequalities through providing technology and expert mentorship.”

Marcia Deakin, Games Partnership Director at NextGen Skills Academy said:

“I, and all members of NextGen, would like to thank Creative Assembly for their generous donation. The global pandemic and lockdown highlighted the vital need for students to have access to quality technology to be able to engage with and continue their learning. This donation will make a massive positive difference in the wellbeing and studies of our students without access to appropriate technology. It will allow them to develop their creative skills and complete their studies, without the stress of not being able to access all the hardware and software needed to fulfil their potential. Each laptop will be refurbished and transferred to a new NextGen student once their current owner graduates, helping to deliver an ongoing legacy of addressing inequalities and breaking down barriers to education.”

Barry Hindmarsh, NextGen Course Leader at Middlesbrough College, North East England said:

"Based in one of the most deprived areas of the country our young students already have a lot to deal with and frequently don’t have the equipment at home which matches the quality available in our institutions; these laptops will mean our students will no longer be disadvantaged because of their financial circumstances and are able to develop the skills to be a part of the games industry they dream of joining. Having the ability to work from home will support them in producing work of a higher standard and continue to develop their passion and portfolios. This is simply a game changer for them."

Rob Hinde, NextGen Course Leader at St Helens College, Merseyside said:

“The machines will allow students from disadvantaged backgrounds to create and participate on an even playing field to those with more financial stability. It will help to ensure the best outcomes possible in the face of unprecedented social upheaval, and ensure that this year's NextGen graduates have focused on learning the craft, rather than struggling with outdated tech. Personally, I think it is great to see such an investment in the industries future, and as a large percentage of my student body are from areas classed as 'deprived' financially, we are happy to take full advantage of the offer for help.”

Luke Vinicombe, NextGen Course Leader at Uxbridge College said:

"In this current age of Remote Learning and the need for students to work from home, having laptops for those that require them is a massive benefit. Not all students can afford the required hardware for Games development, so with the support of Industry, it will really make a difference in our students' capability of learning and their ability to develop the independent study skills required in the future."

Adam Miller, NextGen Course Leader at Gateway College said:

“Having access to the laptops will allow our students to contribute equally as a member of their final major project team, provide the opportunity to develop their skills to their full potential and amplify their confidence.”

Matt Hall, NextGen Course Leader at Sunderland College said:

“Access to technology is sometimes assumed when not everyone is as fortunate to have technology powerful enough to explore and learn GAVFX skills. Just having that access is giving students the freedom of access to develop their skills and push themselves to achieve their potential!”

Max Brayshaw-Williams, NextGen Lecturer at Loughborough College

“The laptops supplied by Creative Assembly will have a huge positive impact on the students. The students’ would usually come into college on their days off to make use of spare PC’s, but due to COVID this hasn’t been possible. Not only will this allow them to not travel as much and put themselves at risk, it also means they can continue honing their skills from home and not feel like they are falling behind. So, a big thank you Creative Assembly, it means a lot to both staff and students.”

James Bennett-Hill, Curriculum Team Lead & Lecturer in Games Development at The Sheffield College said:

"With such a diverse pool of students studying at our college, from a range of socio-economic backgrounds, many of our students don't have the same digital access at home as they do at college. This year in particular has been even more challenging with all the changes to teaching and put many of our students at a disadvantage, creating huge barriers to their learning. With the help of Creative Assembly, we can now make sure all our learners are able to succeed in the face of adversity and give them all the opportunity to still achieve their full potential.
"I would like to say a huge thank you to Creative Assembly for this amazing donation, what better way to connect students early in their journeys with the industry they will be going into, giving them even more motivation to succeed and work towards a career in such an inclusive industry. This is not just a donation but an investment, investing in education, and investing in our future workforce."

Students across the UK will benefit from this donation including those in Merseyside, North East England, Leicestershire, and Greater London. In addition to the donation, as part of a long-term partnership, CA is a member of the strategic Employer Steering Group and supports delivery of the NextGen AIM Qualifications Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills. Through this CA provides masterclasses and sets project tasks for students, offering real industry guidance, feedback, and mentorship.

This work is part of CA’s award-winning gamesindustry education programme, the Legacy Project:

Written by

Creative Assembly and NextGen