Five years ago leading figures in the creative industries highlighted a severe skills gap that – if left unchecked – would damage the UK’s position as a world leader in games and visual effects.

The skills gap was a lack of digital creativity brought about by a school curriculum that taught children how to use software but not how to write it. While older generations of creatives had learnt how to programme on computers like the BBC Micro, this generation was poised to fall behind.

In July 2010 Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, asked Nesta to work with Ian Livingstone, founder of Eidos, and Alex Hope from the VFX house Double Negative, to produce an independent report which considered how to meet the skills needs of the UK’s world-class video games and visual effects industries.

Making the case for change

Nesta’s Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia led the research, developed the policy recommendations and drafted the 2011 Next Gen. report (take a look at this here) which made the case for the reform of the ICT curriculum across UK schools. The recommendations in the report included adding computer science to the national curriculum alongside maths and physics, and introducing a GCSE in computer science in all schools.

Welcoming the findings of the independent review in February 2011, Ed Vaizey said: “This evidence can help government, higher education providers and the games industry to create the right conditions to nurture and develop the skills and talent that the UK needs.”

Read the full article on the Nesta website here.

We completely support endeavours to raise the profile of digital creativity in schools and in our young people.