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Meet the Ukie team: Shahneila Saeed

What do you do at Ukie?

As Head of Education I have oversight over all our educational work, and that includes representing our industry in broader educational conversations. I also manage our Ukie Education members group and related activity such as our recent Devices for All Pledge Campaign. I originally joined Ukie to establish the Digital Schoolhouse programme and its been wonderful to see the impact that work has continues to have.

What made you want to work in the games industry?

I’ve always loved playing games, and the video games industry always seemed so exciting. Although, honestly I never in my wildest dreams imagined I’d be working within it; and with the people and companies that I do. Growing up my career goals switched from archaeologist, to librarian to barrister to psychologist and finally settled within teaching.  I taught computing for a very long time and loved my job. What I loved most was coming up with crazy ideas to excite and engage children with computing. Finding fun non-didactic teaching methods was really my priority from day 1; and that’s what led to me to my research in play-based learning. So when the opportunity came to do that full time for Ukie; and to be able to do it on a scale to help children across the country it wasn’t one that I could turn away from. Teaching computing using play-based methods and the video games industry really do go hand in hand.

What are you playing at the moment?

I’m currently teaching myself programming and games design all over again with Game Builder Garage 😊. Still can’t believe my day job involves playing games!

I like playing a range of games including different mobile games; and recently been trying Merge Mansions. Love console games too; Overcooked is lots of fun with the family.

Nintendo's 'Game Builder Garage' is a powerful and complex game creation  tool | Engadget

Game Builder Garage teaches you the basics of programming logic step-by-step, which you can then apply to making your own games! Download here.

What do you do in your spare time, apart from playing games?

I passionately enjoy reading; always have. Aside from that I love puzzles; completing jigsaw puzzles is something I started back up again during the first lockdown and I’ve continued with. I love craftwork too and occasionally like to get messy with paint, glue, pens etc.

Do you have a pet? (Show us a picture!) If not, what pet would you like to have one day?

I don’t have a pet (much to the disappointment of my daughters). I actually prefer playing with other people’s pets rather than have one of my own….all the fun minus the responsibility 😊. My daughter’s keep trying to change my mind and want to convince me to have a kitten or a rabbit; but currently there’s no hope of me giving in. Although I have to say I adore kittens; and so I think if I ever caved in to their demands it would be to adopt a cutesy little hairball of a kitten.

To hear more from Shahneila, you can follow her on twitter - @Shahneila1!