As the 2016/17 school-college pupils were finishing up their college course with us, we thought now would be a good time to catch up with them and find out what their ambitions for the future are.
The school-college programme is open to S4, S5 and S6 pupils across Ayrshire and offers a range of qualifications that enhance a pupils employability and progression pathways. A range of courses are on offer from Creative, STEM, Sport, Childcare and Hospitality.
Daniel, Holly and James
NPA Computer Games Development is a school-college programme aimed at those who enjoy gaming and would like to try making their own. The course covers a variety of skills from programming the game, to designing characters, levels and objects.
Speaking with some of the current pupils demonstrates just how diverse the class is and how different each pupils ambitions and future career goals are.
James Abbot, S6, from Queen Margaret Academy, Holly McGinn and Daniel Paul, both S6 from Belmont Academy, told us about the course and what they plan on doing now.
Why did you choose the computer games development programme?
James – I enjoy playing computer games and I wanted to study something computer-related. I couldn’t continue computing at school because there was another subject I wanted to select in the same timetable column. I am also hoping to study physics when I leave school. The course includes simulations – studying programming will help me with this aspect of the physics course.
Holly – I wanted to study something computer-related and I thought that computer games development would give me a good insight into the subject. I also thought the course looked fun.
Daniel – I did this course last year at Level 5 and I really enjoyed it. I wanted to keep developing my skills so I decided to complete this Level 6 course.
Did you have any experience in computer games development before the programme?
James – I play lots of computer games in my spare time. I also have my National 5 computing. I am interested in the concept behind games design.
Holly – I completed my 4th year work experience in South Ayrshire Council’s IT department and I am studying Higher Computing at the moment.
Daniel – I am currently studying Advanced Higher Computing at school. In my spare time I enjoy modding, which is modifying games, and then I publish them online.
Tell me about the programme. What have you been doing throughout the year?
James – The course teaches programming skills, which we used to design our own games. We learned about how the industry functions and the regulations for creating games.
Holly – We also had to think about who our target audience would be for our games and how to market it to them.
Daniel – It is quite a hands-on and practical class.
What have you liked best about the programme?
James – I liked the relaxed approach of college where we can decide what our priorities are when we are given tasks. I enjoyed learning about the hidden workings behind games.
Holly – People are very friendly here, there are lots of people in the class that will help you when you’re stuck. It is different from school, the pressure is different because there is no end of year exam; it is just project work.
Daniel – The college environment is good, I get to explore different things than in my computing class at school.
What’s been the most challenging aspect?
James – Programming is the hardest part of the course but it is something that you develop, debugging can also be tedious.
Holly – Sometimes your program doesn’t work and it can be something small that you can’t find for a while. This can be frustrating but the lecturer and others in the class can help.
Daniel – Programming is like learning a new language, but I feel it’s good to do it now when I am young.
Do you feel any different since starting the programme?
James – I don’t feel different. I have enjoyed meeting new people with the same interests as me. Gaming is somewhat of a niche and you might not meet a lot of people at school with this interest. College is more relaxed and you can explore new things.
Daniel – College has made me feel more independent and I feel that I can communicate better with others now. It has helped me a lot.
Holly – I feel more confident than when I started, at college you can be more open in what you like to talk about. It has helped me build independence and confidence in my programming skills.
What are your ambitions?
James – I would like to study for a PHD in physics and I have unconditional offers for my undergraduate degree, including the University of St Andrews.
Holly – I want to go into TV production. I am planning on going to college first and then University.
Daniel – I want to study computer games development at the University of Abertay. This course will definitely help me with that.
What advice would you give other pupils hoping to take this programme?
James – If you enjoy playing games, you will like this course. Although there is definitely plenty to find in it even if you are not a gamer.
Holly – It is something that you will enjoy, you will not regret choosing it.
Daniel – It is a great opportunity to get a feel for college life and study a course here.
Michael Robertson, Business and IT Lecturer, told us about what’s next for the rest of the class.
“This class have been fantastic, a really motivated and enthusiastic group. Everyone has a positive destination for next year whether it’s staying on to S6 or going to college or university. Some are continuing to study computer games development full-time.
This course is not just for someone who wants to be a computer game developer, it offers so many transferable and relevant skills for the workplace in today’s world. The digital industry is huge and the demand for skilled people in this sector is growing every year.”
To find out more about our school college programme: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/schools/schoolcollege-partnership/
For more information or someone to speak to regarding school college courses please contact DYW@ayrshire.ac.uk