East Anglian coding competition set to reduce skills gap and drive social mobility

FXP Festival, a STEM initiative based on a computer and mobile game design and development competition, is now open to entries from secondary schools and colleges across East Anglia. The initiative, which is linked to the computer science curriculum, uses computer games to increase interest and uptake of STEM subjects, build young people’s digital skills and provide an insight into what careers in the technology, creative digital and related industries might offer.

Hosted annually by Cambridge Regional College, FXP Festival delivers an exciting hands-on game development experience, involving students with a wide range of abilities, from those experienced in coding, to individuals more interested in the creative concept and artistry of game design. By engaging local students with computer science, art and design, FXP Festival aims to both drive social mobility in the region and help close the technology skills gap.

Over the course of the Festival weekend (7 – 9 July 2018), teams of students, aged 13-19 (Year 8 – 13, and FE), are tasked with designing an original computer game concept, based on a surprise theme. FXP Festival is supported by major companies in the region’s technology and creative digital sectors, which provide expertise, mentoring and coaching to students and their teachers. 2017 supporters included: Amazon, Anglia Ruskin University, Jagex, Microsoft, ARM, Hacklab, Rizing Games, Cambridge Regional College. The Festival organisers have also created and sourced a range of teaching materials for schools to help them prepare for the weekend, available on the FXP website.

Alison Taylor, Co-founder of the Festival and Managing Director of Conscious Communications, comments: “FXP Festival aims to inspire young people to develop their digital and creative skills, and provides a fun, practical way for students to engage with STEM subjects. The tech industry is facing a huge skills crisis – recent research from CWjobs has revealed that 94% of tech employers believe there is an industry-wide skills shortage, with 60% of employers stating that coding will become a key requirement for entry-level tech positions. With the help of our supporters, FXP Festival is playing an important, grass-roots role in closing this gap.”

Mark Ogilvie, Design Director at Jagex, has been fundamental to the Festival’s success since inception. He commented: “We love getting involved with FXP Festival, the event gives us a unique chance to interact, engage and inspire the next generation of digital talent, whilst teaching the students important skills. As a growing organisation, Jagex is always thinking about its recruitment pipeline, FXP is a fantastic opportunity to meet the young faces that will make up the future of our industry.”

Alison continued: “As well as improving their knowledge of the gaming industry and computer science, FXP Festival gives students and teachers the opportunity to develop valuable team-work, creative and communication skills. Our ambition to drive social mobility is a big factor in the organisation of FXP Festival – the government’s Social Mobility Index has identified Cambridge and East Cambridgeshire as social mobility ‘cold spots’, meaning we are within the worst performing 20% of authorities in the UK. The local industry can take responsibility for changing this trend – by working together to develop innovative approaches, like FXP Festival, we can provide exciting progression opportunities for the young people in our region.”

If your business, school or college is interested in getting involved with FXP Festival, please contact Joanna Colley joanna.colley@consciouscomms.com.

For full details, please visit http://fxpfestival.com/

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