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SQA News 8 February 2024

New esports qualification opens the door to a billion-pound Industry for Scottish learners

Our new qualification in esports is providing learners with a stepping stone into the billion-pound esports industry. The new National Progression Award (NPA) provides an overview of the esports industry, where teams compete against each other in organised competitive gaming events.

Over the duration of the one-year course, learners will focus on core topics including game performance and event management and develop knowledge and understanding of esports and prepare for further studies in the gaming sector.

After a successful pilot at Dunoon Grammar School in Argyll and Bute in 2022-23, the NPAs are now available to all schools, colleges, and training providers across Scotland, at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6. It is a starting point for learners who want a career in the esports industry, which is growing rapidly with increasing employment opportunities.

Paul Gallanagh, Principal Teacher of Business and Computing, delivers the esports qualification at Dunoon Grammar School. He explains: “Courses like this are very important to the school curriculum to ensure pathways into further learning, training, and potentially employment are available for all young people. Traditional subjects like maths and science are still really important, but we’ve been really pleased with how many pupils here have engaged positively with this new course.”

NPA courses are designed to assess a defined set of skills and knowledge that learners have developed in a specialist area. The NPA in Esports is a mixture of theory and practical work and includes a variety of transferable skills outside of the esports industry too, such as video editing, social media marketing, and teamwork.

Paul Gallanagh continues: “In terms of progression, we’re seeing more higher education establishments offer esports degree courses, and there are lots of employment opportunities. The beauty for a rural school like us, is that most people can continue to live in our town while working in this industry.”

Bobby Elliot, Qualifications Manager for Technology, Engineering and Construction at SQA outlines the progression routes available to learners after completing the course, “After completing the NPA, learners can choose to stay on the same pathway and complete a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Diploma (HND) in a similar area, such as Computer Games Development. These qualifications then allow learners to progress onto degrees in the gaming sector offered by Scottish universities.”

This qualification is the first of its kind offered by SQA. It’s designed to engage and motivate learners and deliver a wide range of current digital knowledge and skills. We offer a variety of computing and gaming qualifications, which are designed and developed with subject experts and industry to ensure they meet the skills needs of the sector. Going forward, we're keen to look at plans to offer learners further articulation routes into further study.”