Tech-savvy students from schools across the county were given the chance to design a spaceship, sculpt an alien and create a Minecraft-style Esports arena as part of a Star Wars-themed series of online workshops staged by Northampton College.
The pioneering event, called Creating Digital Futures, was held as part of the college’s #IgniteTheSpark campaign – an ongoing initiative to raise awareness of the opportunities provided by courses and careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.
Pupils from schools including Kingsthorpe College, Northampton Academy, Bishop Stopford School and Parker E-ACT Academy took part in the virtual sessions on Tuesday, May 4, with subject specialists guiding students through a range of different software to give an understanding of the kind of work they would expect to see in digital industries such as games design, animation and Esports on a daily basis.
Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: “Digital industries are worth 500 billion dollars globally and that is expected to double in the next five years. The events of the past year have proved just how essential digital skills are to the economy, with remote working and online activity set to increase further as industries continue to adapt and evolve.
“We work closely with both employers and the Government to ensure the courses we offer are preparing the community for the future. There is a massive focus on improving digital skills within Northamptonshire and we have developed a series of new courses to reflect a changing jobs market.
“Our Augmented and Virtual Reality course gives students the skills to create virtual environments – for example, soon bricklayers will no longer need to learn how to lay bricks with traditional bricks and mortar – they’ll be using virtual reality to train themselves up, saving thousands of pounds in wasted resources. Our new Esports course gives students the opportunity to step in to one of the fastest growing industries in the world, setting up Esports events and broadcasting them on multiple platforms.
“Creating Digital Futures has given school pupils an understanding of some of the skills we will be developing in our new state-of-the-art Digital Academy when it opens this September, and opened their eyes to job opportunities they possibly didn’t even know existed in a sector they love.”
Students taking part in Creating Digital Futures were shown how to design an animated 2D spaceship using Piskel software, sculpt an alien in Sculpt Fab, design a rollerball game and create an Esports arena in 3D Slash.
Work created during the sessions was then showcased to the group at the end of the day.