Hartlepool College of Further Education is leading a campaign to change the perception of gaming and highlight the health and career benefits through its new esports course.
Esports is the rapidly growing industry surrounding professional competitive video gaming with live tournaments and competitions leading to incredible opportunities for teams and individuals and attracting large audiences
The number of related career opportunities have increased in recent years including video production and photography, game design, live broadcasting and becoming a professional gamer or coach.
Interest in the Stockton Street college’s Level 3 Esports qualification has risen significantly since first being introduced in 2020.
But course leader Paul Donnelly admits there remains scepticism surrounding gaming due to the length of time people, particularly youngsters, spend immersed in a digital world and impact on their physical and mental wellbeing.
Paul said: “It’s definitely a challenge trying to raise attention to the heavily under-appreciated employability skills that can be developed through esports.
“Opening this qualification was the brave step needed to give students a safe and structured path into the exciting new career opportunities of esports.”
Esports students at the college, who progressed into the extended year of the qualification, have received offers from a variety of universities across the UK, including the new College of Esports at London’s Olympic Park Velodrome, the first of its kind in the world.
Paul added: “We are changing the public’s perception of gamers, and are striving to create a culture in which our students can believe they could stand in the same light as any traditional sports athlete.
“While it may seem unusual, there is no surprise the hobby of gaming has made its way into the mainstream and education, especially with social networking tools available today such as YouTube and TikTok.
“It truly is great to see students finding a place to pursue their passion and transform their hobby into a sustainable career within this course.”
The course covers an array of subjects also paving a way to careers beyond gaming such as data analysis, entrepreneurship and commerce, events management, psychology, health, fitness and media as a whole.
For more information on the course see www.hartlepoolfe.ac.uk.