"The video game industry is a key component to the successful future of the region and is a sector that the CWLEP is proud to support."
The Leamington Spa games hub will open its virtual doors in February 2021 to showcase the talent and creativity of video games studios in the region.
Interactive Futures 2021 will provide exclusive insight into the many career options available within the games industry – along with practical advice and guidance to students, young people and children on how to navigate their own pathways.
The event will speak to parents too, highlighting the fact that a career in games is a valid, valuable and well-rewarded one – and one that exists right on their doorsteps in Leamington Spa and the wider Coventry and Warwickshire region.
The week will kick off with an industry-focused day on Tuesday, February 16, showcasing the talent in the region, taking a look at why so many of the Best Places To Work winners are located in Leamington Spa, as well as providing practical advice to the myriad indie studios in the area.
Then, from Wednesday, February 16 to Saturday, February 20, a series of dedicated conference sessions will be hosted for primary school children, secondary school children and young people and Further Education and Higher Education students.
Interactive sessions will be featured, courtesy of Digital Schoolhouse, while one-to-one Portfolio Reviews and Advice Clinics will run throughout the four days.
Taking place during the half-term holiday, the Interactive Futures conference programme has been extended for 2021.
Delegates can dip in and out of the event to view the content relevant for them. In addition, sessions designed for parents will take place on the Saturday.
The event will culminate in the Big Games Night In – which will encourage the public to spend the evening of Saturday, February 20 playing locally-created games, with prizes to be won.
The video games sector anchored in Leamington Spa region is the second largest in the UK outside of London and Slough & Heathrow and is home to some of the most respected studios in the world, including Codemasters, Mediatonic, Ubisoft, Playground Games, SEGA Hardlight, Sumo Digital and more, plus a huge number of indie studios.
Interactive Futures is hosted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Warwickshire County Council and Warwick District Council.
Sarah Windrum, board director and chair of the Digital and Creative Business Group at the CWLEP, said: “Interactive Futures continues to be a great success and we hope that the new virtual format will provide a platform for the festival to reach an even wider audience.
“The video game industry is a key component to the successful future of the region and is a sector that the CWLEP is proud to support.
“We know that we have some of the very best video games talent and we’re honoured that we continue to attract more to the region.
“As well as highlighting this talent, this year’s Interactive Futures will speak directly to the next generation, encouraging the development and aspirations of children and young people when it comes to a career in games.”
Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council and portfolio holder for economic development, said: “I am so pleased to see that the Interactive Futures conference will go ahead despite the restrictions that the pandemic has imposed on us. For me, that absolutely embodies what I have seen in Warwickshire throughout the last nine months; people embracing technology to work around a problem, finding the solution and carrying on with what we need to do to make Warwickshire the best it can be.
“It is vital that we carry on and build on what has been achieved in creating the gaming cluster of businesses in Leamington Spa. It is a source of employment for young people and has really put the region on the map internationally. I would like to thank all involved in organising this year's conference for working so hard, and with such innovation, to make sure that we do not lose that momentum.”
Councillor Richard Hales, Warwick District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Business & Finance, added: “We are so proud to once again be hosting this event from Royal Leamington Spa, albeit remotely.
“The new format is a great opportunity not only to build on the momentum we’ve gained over the past two years, but to reach an even larger audience.
“I would strongly encourage young people and their parents to take part, so they can find out more about the amazing opportunities available in our growing Leamington Games Sector and how they can be a part of it.”
Tickets to attend Interactive Futures are free of charge. To find out more, visit www.interactive-futures.com.
If you are interested in getting involved with the Interactive Futures programme, please contact Lisa Carter on 07970 164201 / email@example.com
If you would like more information on becoming an Interactive Futures Partner, contact Darrell Carter on 07967 947076 / Darrell.firstname.lastname@example.org
Caption: Interactive Futures will give children and young adults the chance to discover the career opportunities in video games