Young designers back in the game

A PARTNERSHIP between a Warrington college and one of the world’s leading games manufacturers is helping young designers crack the multi-billion-pound industry.

Priestley College and TT Games teamed up over a year ago to provide three internships for its students – the only programme of its kind in the country.

Now two of those interns have secured jobs at the company that is owned by Warner Brothers and the other is studying Game Art at university.

Another two started internships in August after the companies agreed the programme was worth continuing despite the impact of the pandemic.

Priestley tutor Matt Wilson, who forged the partnership with TT Games after inviting its head of design Arthur Parsons into his classroom, said the results had been incredible.

“I always had confidence we were attracting some seriously talented young people and we were equipping them with the knowledge and experience to succeed,” he said.

“However, the way our interns have settled into their roles and the approach taken by TT Games is beyond anything I could have hoped for.”

To apply for an internship, students put together a portfolio during their Level 3 Computer Game Development course before attending an interview with the company.

Successful candidates continue on the Art Foundation course at Priestley while being paid to work at the company for four days a week.

This year’s successful candidates, Ethan Steele and Rhys Nadin, are both working on a high-profile game, but are sworn to secrecy about its name and features.

Both are placing assets in the game and take part in daily zoom meetings with TT Games’ design team.

“We are having to work from home so don’t have someone sitting next to us to ask for help if we need it,” said Rhys, a former pupil at King’s Leadership Academy.

“We do have mentors and everyone is really supportive – they even supplied us with PCs at home so that we can get the work done.”

Priestley was one of the first colleges to introduce a computer game design course and since then several students have been nominated for BAFTA awards and most have gone on to university courses or jobs linked to the industry.

Ethan and Rhys’ passion for computer games was ignited by their dads playing at home. They spotted an opportunity to turn something they love into a career when they discovered the course at Priestley College.

Ethan, who previously studied at Birchwood High, said he believed games were the next great art form and after going to university wants a career in the industry.

“You have movies like The Godfather that are considered great art and I really believe computer games have the capacity as an artistic medium to match that,” he said.