Esports in Scotland is no game with many educational institutions beginning to promote the transferable skills and benefits young people can gain from the growing number of courses.
Over the last ten years, esports has steadily become one of the biggest phenomena in entertainment. In 2021 the first Singapore Global Esports Games raked in 500 million concurrent views and an inaugural championship tournament is lined up for this year’s Commonwealth Games.
Due to its apparent growth esports is becoming a more prominent part of mainstream culture and with that growth colleges and universities in Scotland have recognised the potential a career in esports can offer today’s youth.
Levelling up with esports
Mark McCready, Scottish Liaison Officer for The British Esports Federation highlighted some of the skills young people can develop on esports courses saying:
“We’re starting to understand the benefits of enabling people in different ways. They’re benefiting from communication skills, leadership and teamwork. It also spans into other elements of the esports sector itself within the games industry.
“Game development and game design is a mainstream avenue for a career, but there’s so much more like broadcasting and production, all these esports events have fantastic world-class production value. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people to explore a different concept.”
Scotland takes a leading role
Glasgow Clyde College served as the basis for a case study conducted by The British Esports Federation as the first college in Scotland to offer an esports qualification.
British Esports teamed up with Pearson to develop the BTEC Esports qualification aimed at 16–19-year-olds.
BTEC courses are career-focused and offer skill-based qualifications awarded by the Business & Technology Education Council. The course teaches pupils to develop skills in entrepreneurship, coaching, live broadcasting and events management.
A statement released by The British Esports Federation highlighted the importance of transferable skills saying:
“This is especially valuable to learners in a changing world where job roles are likely to continually change, and the emphasis is increasingly on flexibility, adaptability and transferable skills.”
Glasgow Clyde College is also home to the Clyde Hotshots who went all the way to the final in the 2020 British Esports Championships where they finished in second place. Tyler Grant, a lecturer on the esports course, speaks below:
Following Glasgow Clyde College’s example is Dundee and Angus College who are working closely with Esports Scotland to offer a range of full time courses with guest lectures and activities for students and school pupils as well as plans to launch a HNC/HND Esports course in 2023.
Dundee: Scotland’s capital for esports
Dundee is becoming a major hotspot for the growth of esports in Scotland. The city will soon be home to a 4000-seat multi-purpose arena which will provide education and employment opportunities.
The Northern Light Arena is being developed in collaboration with Abertay University, Dundee and Angus College and Trent University.
The arena is set to host several indoor sporting events and will also offer retail and workspace areas, but its primary function is to set up an esports academy which will offer students top of the range facilities and degree courses for the global esports market.
The Northern Lights Arena is set to open in 2025 and a new suite of esports qualifications is set to be introduced by the SQA in schools across the country this August.
A recent study commissioned by Dell has in fact shown that 70% of UK parents want to see Esports take a more active role in education so that their children can develop soft skills not seen in other educational courses.
Dell Educational sales director Brian Horsburgh spoke positively of the survey saying:
“Parents recognise the power of esports to develop their children’s people skills – to communicate, listen, even to lead. That’s a persuasive argument for schools that want their students to be future-ready.”