Tackling the UK games industry’s problem with social mobility

UK not-for-profit organisation Into Games is kicking off a national campaign which it hopes will help the industry crack its social mobility problem.

The organisation has highlighted that only 13% of UK games staff are from low income backgrounds, according to Ukie’s most recent Census, although 30% of the UK’s overall population identify as ‘working class’..

Into Game’s own ‘Difficulty Level’ research, released later this month, also suggests that 78% of working-class people already in the games sector feel like not enough is being done to support new people coming in, with a huge 51% having felt ‘othered’ during their career because of their class.

Social mobility overall in the UK isn’t improving, with the Institute for Fiscal Studies confirming that it is now at its worst in over 50 years. Games careers could offer a way up for many, says Into Games, delivering creative and positive work outcomes for young people who often connect deeply with video gaming, even when navigating challenging home lives.

Over the next 12 months, Into Games will implement its ‘Gameplan’ to help turn the tide and build the foundations for a fairer, more diverse sector. The plan, which highlights achievable delivery goals in five key areas, has been developed as a direct result of Into Games research and programme work conducted over the last four years.

The plan aims to:

  • Reach 20,000 young people in schools in areas of deprivation
  • Deliver four regional games and careers fairs in the heart of communities 
  • Deliver an annual bursary aimed at supporting event, travel and equipment costs 
  • Provide free training and mentorship for 150 people near work 
  • Provide free leadership training for those from low-income households already at work   
  • Create at least 40 new in-studio work opportunities for people from low income backgrounds with national studio partners
  • Create a model for excellence in South London

Declan Cassidy, CEO of Into Games, said: “We think games is in a unique position to provide a real leg up for many people from low-income groups. Games are something that many are already deeply connected to, and we need them to be able to see that they have a place in the sector.”

“Having come from a working-class background myself, I am deeply aware of challenges that people face when having to make career decisions in difficult circumstances, and I believe that there is a wealth of untapped talent sitting right under noses if we provided a bit more support and stability at the right time and place.”

“We need better access to training, financial support at early stages, and a joined-up approach at the regional level to make a difference. We think our Gameplan for 2024  provides a good foundation to start building this infrastructure based on existing programmes.”

The organisation is raising delivery funds as part of the programme, intending to bring in £100,000 by April 2024. All funds raised go directly to plan delivery.

To see the full plan, click here – https://gameplan2024.intogames.org/

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