We can’t quite believe it has been a whole year since we launched the nDreams Academy! We’ve been hard at work over the last 12 months ensuring that we, and the industry, make sure that video game careers are more accessible, more transparent, and more attainable than they have been historically.
But what is the nDreams Academy? It’s our ongoing engagement programme that has created an industry talent pipeline and has showcased our values to those interested in a career in games. The key areas of focus for the Academy (Outreach, Pipeline, and Upskill Me) cover the entire lifecycle of someone’s career. From providing support to young people who have shown an interest in a career in games through Outreach, to bridging that gap between education and employment with Pipeline, and continuing to invest in personal development and training once you join the studio through Upskill Me.
The Year in Facts and Figures
Over the last 12 months, all areas of our studio have thrown themselves into supporting and evolving our Academy offering. As a group, we’ve attended 28 events in total, including Skills Workshops, Q&A Sessions, Portfolio Reviews, Competitions, Panel Discussions, and Career Talks. Compare this to the seven events attended between 2019-21 (of course, impacted by COVID), and you can see just how much we’ve been on the road, in video calls, and at local educational establishments.
We’ve spoken to just shy of 3000 people and have officially partnered with the lovely team at Into Games. Working towards our shared goal of ensuring careers in games are accessible to everyone, no matter their identity or background, will enable us to deliver truly notable change for the better.
Championing the government Kickstart scheme, and providing further support to our own graduate hiring and internship initiatives, we’re now proud to say over 10% of our total headcount has come through the Academy, with more junior roles still available to suitable applicants. Of those, despite the UK having left the European Union, we have strived to ensure that our internal culture and diversity haven’t suffered, with 40% of Academy hires originating from Europe, and 20% from ROW. Compare this to the 3.22% of our total headcount being junior/graduate employees in 2019-21. This is an area we’re continuing to invest in and grow, with several Kickstart team members going on to be promoted into full-time positions within nDreams already.
“I am pleased we have been able to reach so many people through our Academy outreach programme. Representation matters and inspiring young people into our industry is one part of our strategy to remove barriers to entry, close skills gaps, and provide our team with the best possible opportunities,” Tamsin O’Luanaigh, Chief People Officer.
Partnerships and Awards
We didn’t just stop at Into Games. We’ve been working with local schools, colleges, charities, and universities to ensure that those interested in games as a career have direct access to the information they are looking for (and the opportunities that brings). From studio open days for neurodiverse students, to our partnership with Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke, where we provided their XR course with Oculus Rift S headsets so that students had access to the hardware they needed to get the most out of their course.
We’ve also been fortunate enough to be nominated for several awards over the last year. Daniel Woodward, our Learning and Development Manager (who heads up the Academy), walked away with the Education Award at the Guildford Games Awards. We were also recently awarded Best Graduate Employer at the Grads in Games Awards and Tamsin herself took home the Industry Advocate award. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to hire incredibly talented graduates throughout the different areas of the studio (and across a whole spectrum of disciplines). These wins are as much theirs as ours as they’ve really impacted the skillset and diversity of our team for the better. We’ll continue to learn and grow with them as we set our sights on the next twelve months.
What’s Next for the Academy?
“The last twelve months have been such a successful year for us, delivering workshops, talks, Q&A sessions, competitions, supporting and advocating growth with games-based apprenticeships, and hiring amazing talent through our graduate and internship programme. A quote from the 90s classic summarises the Academy’s future quite well - the only way is up,” Daniel Woodward. It’s important to remember, this is only the start for the nDreams Academy. There’s still lots we want to achieve, and that is as much about personal development and training as it is about outreach. Both parts form the commitment we have to continually invest in our teams.
We start with Outreach, before bringing people in as interns, graduates, and juniors, train and develop them over a period of time, ensuring they have the skills and tools to succeed, and set them on a pathway to success. Enabling them to really make video games a fulfilling career.
In 2022, we’ve launched our Outreach 22 initiative. Supported by cross-discipline outreach champions from within nDreams, we’ll be attending more events, speaking with more young people, and providing more opportunities for those interested in bridging that gap between education and employment to do so. We’ll be launching a series of regular virtual events on our studio Discord later in the year, from how to get your foot in the door, to discipline-specific talks and guidance from working professionals in those roles.
For 2022/2023, we will increase our Pipeline capacity by 50%, including our hiring of graduates, interns, apprentices, work experience candidates, and supporting other alternative forms of education. As well as this, we are aiming to increase our Outreach growth by 50%, attending and delivering even more sessions, supporting the Video Games Ambassador program, which will directly impact the relationship between industry and education. We look forward to taking you on this journey with us.
If you’d like to learn more about the nDreams Academy or register your interest in internship and work experience opportunities, please reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.