Ukie announcements provide boost to West Midlands games sector and schools talent programme

21 September 2017  - London, United Kingdom Ukie host AGM at EGX in Birmingham, including:

Announcement of two-year programme with Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) to support growth of West Midlands games cluster

Ukie, PlayStation and SEGA make a joint call for more industry support for Digital Schoolhouse initiative and launch new entry level supporters tier

Renewed commitment to keeping players of all ages safe online with relaunch of new AskAboutGames site with the VSC Rating Board

Welcoming Mediatonic’s Helen Burnill as new member of the Ukie Board of Directors, with five returning Board members being re-elected

Games trade body, Ukie, used its AGM at EGX in Birmingham today to make several announcements that will benefit the UK games sector and reveal its latest Board members.

Ukie and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) announced a new two-year  programme to grow the games industry in the West Midlands, building on the success of the cluster and promoting the heritage and culture of ‘Silicon Spa’ in the surrounding Leamington Spa area.

The programme will deliver on many of the recommendations made in the recent 'The Games Industry in Coventry and Warwickshire - a Blueprint for Growth' report. This includes the appointment of a dedicated staff member to oversee a programme of games industry-specific investor ready training courses, providing opportunities to bring together investors and local businesses, as well as inbound and outbound trade missions.

Ukie will support the programme by heading up a local steering group to ensure that it remains an industry-led project to best serve the sector, and will assist in linking the activity into the trade body’s wider national strategy by building a network that can deliver support to games businesses around the country.

Sarah Windrum, CWLEP Board Director and Chair of West Midlands Digital Group, said, "On behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership I want to thank Ukie for all their support highlighting the significant economic value of our digital creative sector to the region. Coventry & Warwickshire are perfectly placed to lead this programme which will drive growth for our gaming cluster and our wider digital manufacturing sector across the West Midlands."

The AGM also saw supporters of Ukie’s creative computing initiative, Digital Schoolhouse, including PlayStation, SEGA and Warwickshire County Council join together to call for more industry support for the programme via a new ‘Red Tier’ industry sponsorship package, which will allow more games companies to support the initiative.

John Clark, Executive Vice President of Commercial Publishing for SEGA Europe Ltd, said: “SEGA Europe has a history in working with educational organisations in order to help bridge the skills gap in the UK with regards to the video games industry. The partnership with the Digital Schoolhouse Programme is particularly exciting as it aims to engage the next generation of school children, and their teachers, with the new computing curriculum.”

EGX also saw the announcement of a renewed partnership between Ukie and the VSC Rating Board, with the relaunch of the newly refreshed AskAboutGames site, an online resource which contains a comprehensive range of advice about PEGI ratings, parental controls, family friendly games advice, and online safety.

Ukie also welcomes Helen Burnill, Commercial Director of Mediatonic to a new role on the board, joining Phil Mansell, CEO of Jagex and ZeniMax Europe’s Sean Brennan, our two new appointed Board members this year.

Speaking of her new role, Helen said, “I'm so honoured to be elected to the Ukie Board. Ukie is an amazing organisation that delivers genuine impact and I can't wait to work with the excellent team with particular focus on the concerns of the UK's independent developers. Massive thanks to those who voted for me - I'm incredibly humbled.”

Returning to the board are Simon Barratt, Katherine Bidwell, John Clark, Kirsty Rigden and Tim Woodley. The new additions leave the Ukie board at 30 per cent female representation, an all-time high for the trade body. Noirin Carmody will return as Chair of the Board.

Tim Woodley, SVP Global Brand and Marketing, 505 Games, said, “It has been a real eye-opener for me to see at close-quarters the vast amount of work Ukie does on such a large number of fronts for the benefit and advancement of the UK Games Industry. It is a very great honour to be elected to serve again for another term and contribute to their significant work.”

Dr Jo Twist, OBE, CEO of Ukie, said, “The variety of the announcements from today’s AGM show the breadth of work that the Ukie team have undertaken this busy year. This has been a big year for us and for the industry, and we’re proud to be launching the a new CWLEP-backed local support programme, as well as our nationwide expansion of the Digital Schoolhouse project today. Our initiatives would not get off the ground without the support and leadership of our board, and so I congratulate all our latest elected Board members and extend a huge welcome to our newest Board directors Helen, Sean and Phil. I look forward to another busy year with the team and board.”

Find out more about Digital Schoolhouse’s new Red Tier membership and how you can support the initiative here.

Check out the new askaboutgames site here.

You can find the whole new Ukie board here.




For all press enquiries, please contact Sophie Densham or @ukiesophie

About UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie)

Ukie (UK Interactive Entertainment) is the only trade body for the UK's games and interactive entertainment industry. A not-for-profit, it represents businesses of all sizes from small start-ups to large multinational developers, publishers and service companies, working across online, mobile apps, consoles, PC, eSports, VR and AR.

Ukie aims to support, grow and promote member businesses and the wider UK games and interactive entertainment industry by optimising the economic, cultural, political and social environment needed for businesses to thrive.

Ukie works closely with the sector to influence government and decision makers, lobbying successfully for the 2014 Video Games Tax Relief, the UK Games Fund, and the Next Gen Skills campaign which resulted in a new Computer Science Curriculum. Ukie makes connections for businesses and help them access the opportunities a digital economy offers, via a successful International Trade programme, running UK Games Industry stands at the biggest international industry events.

It promotes the industry by working with the media to raise awareness of the sector’s positive cultural and economic contribution, as well as the societal benefits of games. Ukie runs, where families can learn about safe and sensible online practices, parental controls and age ratings.

Ukie’s skills work serves to increase inclusion and diversity, advocating a STEAM approach to education. Initiatives include the Digital Schoolhouse (DSH), Video Games Ambassadors (VGAs), a Student Membership scheme, and a professional development programme

Ukie commissioned the Blueprint for Growth report in 2015, an independent review of the UK games industry with recommendations for decision makers in Parliament for how the industry can grow.

In 2016 Ukie partnered with Film London to deliver Games London, a ground breaking new three-year programme to promote the UK as the games capital of the world, the focal point of which is the annual London Games Festival.

Twitter: @uk_ie
Facebook: Ukie
Linked in: Ukie
Pinterest: Ukie