A new digital innovation centre will open in London this year to grow graduates with specific skills to feed the world’s fastest growing industries.

Launching in September, Staffordshire University will be introducing its specialist games industry courses at new facilities in London, the European capital of technology. The UK is currently the fifth largest games market in the world, with a record £5.11bn spent on gaming in the country last year.

The Digital Institute London, based at Here East, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, will combine specialist teaching with access to London’s thriving mix of companies which are leading the way in cutting-edge technologies.

And students seeking their dream job in the computer games industry can commence study on Staffordshire University’s pioneering degrees in Esports, Computer Games Design or Games PR and Community Management from September 2019.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Liz Barnes said: “This is a significant next step for Staffordshire University and our position as the Connected and Digital University. Our Digital Institute London courses have been developed in Staffordshire and will focus on ensuring students have work-ready skills to step straight into some of the fastest growing industries in the world.

“Staffordshire University was the first University to launch a dedicated Esports degree last year and we know from our work with employers that the industry is crying out for innovative graduates with the skills to take on new and emerging roles, many of which are London-based.”

“Crucially this move will benefit our students in both Staffordshire and London, enabling the sharing of opportunities, knowledge and skills and supporting social mobility.”

The announcement was this week backed by Universities Minister Chris Skidmore who commented: “Technology and the world economy are fast-changing, and we need to make sure that people have the skills they need to get the jobs of tomorrow.

“There is a clear need to equip people with specialists skills, for areas like the growing games industry, and the Digital Institute London will help to grow our digital and technology capability in London and the South East, offering opportunities for both students and businesses.”

This major development draws on the University’s proud heritage as one of the first institutions in the country to offer computing, and as a leading university for Esports and computer gaming in the UK. Last year Staffordshire University cemented its reputation in the field when it was finalist for ‘Best Educational Institution’ at the TIGA Games Industry Awards 2018 – the Emmy’s of the games world.

Staffordshire University’s latest course offering, Games PR and Community Management, is a ground-breaking course for the games community managers of the future and will launch at both Staffordshire University’s main Stoke-on-Trent campus and Digital Institute London. And from September 2020 both the Stoke-on-Trent campus and Digital Institute. London will add BSc (Hons) Cyber Security to the course portfolio.

Renowned games developer Philip Oliver, one of the founders of developers’ trade body TIGA and Visiting Professor at Staffordshire University, added: “Staffordshire is going from strength to strength in Digital Skills education. The last 30 years has seen an explosion in digital entertainment and services, and I’m proud that the UK has been a dominate player globally.

“However, growth is accelerating, and we need to prepare the next generation of digital artists, coders and entrepreneurs with the skills required to ensure we stay at the forefront of this exciting digital revolution. I’ve chosen to support Staffordshire University as a visiting Professor to help inspire and utilise my experience as I see them making all the right bold moves for our digital and connected futures.”

Work to create replicate Staffordshire University’s dedicated games and Esports teaching facilities at Here East is starting immediately. Meanwhile Open Days events for prospective students will be held at Red Bull Gaming Sphere in Shoreditch on 28th April, 18th June, 10th August.