GEM – The national game educators meeting was held as a closing seminar for the Chips for Game Skills project on Monday 18th May 2020. The meeting was focusing on how to build a bridge from game studies to working life. Online audience was attending up to 50 persons.
The event was hosted by Natasha Skult (CEO & Creative Director of MiTale / Chairperson of IGDA Finland / board member Suomen Pelinkehittäjät Ry / founder and Chairperson of The Hive – Turku Game Hub / lecturer in game design and game (digital) art production at the University of Turku).
Project results were presented by project manager Saija Heinonen from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, with list of accomplishments the project has achieved since November 2017, including especially the concept of a student game competition Bit1 and a map of competences required in the gaming industry. This was followed by Game Skills 2020 Research presentation focusing on the most wanted qualities of new recruits, based on the descriptions in the game industry job advertisements, from game educator Toni Pippola from Games Academy, Tampere University of Applied Sciences.
The educators’ points of views to building the future careers in the game industry, during and after game studies, were provided by Natasha Skult with “Building the Future of the Gaming Industry Through Education” and Nick Sweetman, Founder / Game Art Co with “Target Your Game Art and Get Hired”. The necessity of getting the students to create good quality portfolios during the studies was under discussion.
Junior challenges in job search was the topic for the experts from employing side, which were “How to get and secure your job in the games industry” by Arja Martikainen (Northstarjobs.io, Games Jobs Finland), “Job search challenges in the gaming industry and a competence shortage” by Klaus Kääriäinen (Game Developer & Coach), “Juniors are great if they know what they should do and why” by Olli Raudus (COO at Skunkworks) and “What does the game industry require?” by Juha Huhtakallio (Playstack).
The employer perspective was brought up in these talks, emphasizing how important it is for a junior, entry-level or trainee position candidate to
- understand the recruitment process
- get to know the companies
- identify own specific skills and indicate them to the employer in a clear manner.
It was mentioned that securing the first job in a game company, trainee programmes may become useful or looking at the smaller companies outside the capital region could be an option.
In the closing words by Suvi Latva (Neogames) and Natasha Skult summarized the presentations and opened the floor for further discussions. The audience presented a tricky question for the educators: how to approach the unmotivated students. Employers reminded that the schools providing game studies should provide support to students at least with portfolios, and ensure the students complete or publish projects during the studies.