Schools and colleges that are part of the Digital Schoolhouse Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Team Battle are all eligible to receive support from a careers coach. That is, video games industry professionals who kindly volunteer their time to inspire and inform students about future opportunities and possible careers that they might not otherwise consider.
Not only are careers coaches there to support students, but they also provide teachers with a real industry connection and naturally, hints and tips that can (hopefully) lead their school champs to victory in the tournament!
We’d like to hear from you, even if you aren’t an esports expert. We use esports as a hook to engage students with the bigger picture and this immersive careers experience is a gateway into an entire industry of roles that may not otherwise be explored by prospective talent. In the past, industry connections have succeeded in inspiring students to study esports at university and obtain industry internships. Not to mention the transferable skills they gain from taking part including: communication, team work and an increased interest in a career in the video games industry (Esports: Engaging Education 2018).
We understand that being a careers coach is a commitment, however as a minimum requirement you'll just need to visit your school once. If you and your school would like to continue working together thereafter, we're always here to support you.
We caught up with veteran coach Laura Donaghy, social media/community manager at Scirra to uncover why industry folk should get involved.
How did you become a careers coach?
As a part of Scirra, I'd already been involved with Digital Schoolhouse for a while and really enjoying working with the programme. I attended the finale of the second esports tournament and a women in games roundtable soon after, and during both, the topic of mentors and coaches was brought up, as well as their impact on young people. Soon, the opportunity came up to be a careers coach and I couldn't resist!
Why did you want to become a careers coach?
It's essentially about giving back. I've always been considered weird for my interests (video games, motorsports, the sciences) so I know what it's like for people to look at you funny when you explain what you want to do. And I can also understand how hard it is to know what you want to do. I was quite lucky with support at my school/university, but I know full well that's not the same for everyone! Having not had the most conventional journey into the games industry, I'm hoping that my combined experiences will resonate in some with the students and I can offer them advice beyond the usual stuff - if I can help even just one student, then fantastic!
How do you think coaching has impacted students and teachers at the school?
Last year was my first year of being a careers coach, so, to be honest, we were sort of making it up as we went along! I'd like to think it made a good impact, but having gotten one year under my belt and being able to work closely with the lead teacher, I think we're going to make more of a difference this year.
Why do you think other industry professionals should coach?
Being able to interact with the future of the industry is a fantastic thing. These students will be the next generation of game designers, community managers, artists, musicians etc, and we should be giving them the best route into the industry as we can.