Restart – training scheme for those wishing to get into the games industry

Video game development is a fast growing and vibrant industry which reaches audiences across the world. Within Northern Ireland there is an exciting and emerging video game development community which is creating games that are being played globally. This growing industry offers opportunities, both locally and internationally, for those that wish to break in and start a career.

Restart is a 4-month training programme for 30 individuals who wish to start a career in the video games industry and is open to participants from anywhere within Northern Ireland and from any background. You do not need any particular qualifications or prior video game development experience or training to apply, we want people who are passionate about video games and who are interested to learn more about the skills required to have a career in the industry. Restart is aimed at people 19-30 years who are not in full time education or full-time employment.

During the programme participants will be trained in how to use the Unity Game Engine with the opportunity to become a Certified Associate Game Developer. Participants will also work as a team to create and develop a short game within 8 weeks.

The goal of the programme is to give participants an introduction into game development and an understanding of the skills and knowledge needed to have a career in the industry. There will also be talks from industry professionals covering different roles within video game development, as well as workshops on interview/portfolio preparation. As part of Restart there will be an opportunity to engage with local education and industry partners to identify education and career pathways.

The programme is free to take part in and participants will be paid a part-time salary to attend (NMW/NLW). Participants will need to be available to take part in training, workshops and projects on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 7th Dec 2020 – 31st March 2021, excluding public holidays.

Due to Covid the programme will be delivered remotely. Participants without access to equipment will be provided with the appropriate equipment.

We are an equal opportunities employer and we welcome applications from all suitably qualified persons regardless of their sex; religious or similar philosophical belief; political opinion; race; age; sexual orientation; or, whether they are married or are in a civil partnership; or, whether they are disabled; or whether they have undergone, are undergoing or intend to undergo gender reassignment.

However, as women are currently under-represented in this sector, we would particularly welcome applications from women.

Deadline for applications: 12 noon on Friday 6th November

For more information and details of how to apply please visit the skills section of our website.


RETìníZE selected to join Digital Catapult’s Augmentor acceleration programme

RETìníZE is one of ten innovative start-ups that has been selected from the UK’s immersive community to join the fourth edition of Digital Catapult’s Augmentor programme, securing the opportunity to work with leading industry and investor mentors to further develop their commercially focused immersive applications and get ready for fundraising.

RETìníZE is an award-winning immersive content studio based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that specializes in the creation of cutting edge immersive VR content as well as interactive and geolocative AR applications. Whilst continuing to grow the immersive production side of the business, RETìníZE’s R&D team is currently developing an innovative, fast-turnaround animation software product that utilises immersive technologies.

The diverse group of small businesses target a wide range of sectors from luxury fashion retail, to entertainment and heavy industry, all of which can be positively impacted by the use of immersive technology in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost half of the companies in this year’s cohort are female founded or female led businesses, and the combined strength of the teams clearly demonstrates the breadth of UK immersive talent which has wide ranging, tangible business benefits for multiple industries. 27 companies have taken part in the Augmentor programme over the previous three years and, the majority of which have not previously raised investment, have raised a combined total of more than £6.7 million.

For more information about the teams, click HERE.

Jessica DriscollHead of Technology – Immersive at Digital Catapult, said: “At a time when access to entertainment venues is restricted, online shopping has soared, and remote collaboration for work is more important than ever before as many of us remain working from home for the foreseeable future, this year’s Augmentor cohort are providing innovative, commercially viable solutions to issues that are important to us all. What’s more, because Augmentor has always been about bringing investors and industry along for the journey, the teams see tangible results, from business support all the way to investment. We’ll be watching the next three months very closely and look forward to seeing the results.”

Throughout the pandemic, Digital Catapult has supported the start-up community by bringing investors and commercial partners to help accelerate investment in immersive technologies, and as the UK economy begins to recover, by partnering with some of the world’s leading investment funds on Augmentor, including HTC Vive, Remagine Ventures, MMC Ventures, Ascension Ventures and more.

Chris KilroyInvestment Director at Mercia Asset Management PLCt is an investor partner on Augmentor, commented: “Augmentor provides a great platform for early-stage companies across the immersive technology ecosystem to access and build relationships with a broad range of industry experts, partners and investors. As a direct result of our partnership with Augmentor, Mercia has been able to find and lead an investment round into a great business from the programme’s most recent cohort. We’re looking forward to supporting the Digital Catapult team as they continue to grow and develop Augmentor moving forward.”

Nelly Lavielle from Bethnal Green Ventures, an investment mentor on Augmentor said: “It was an absolute pleasure to mentor the Head Set team (previously known as Also Known As) during the Augmentor programme. What founders Aela and Kate are building has so much potential. We were so impressed with Head Set that we actually ended up investing in the team, who are now part of our portfolio of incredible startups using technology to solve big social and environmental problems.”

Starting this week, the companies begin a 12-week programme to prepare their business for the next stage of its growth journey, to develop and adapt their business model, understand better how to better attract financing to help the business to scale, and to meet and learn from leading industry mentors and investors who could hold the key to unlocking their potential and future growth opportunities.

Find out more about Digital Catapult’s Augmentor programme here.

Multiscreen Freelancers Fund

Multiscreen Freelancers is a pilot fund that encourages Northern Ireland interactive companies (video games, immersive) to engage with freelancers from other screen sectors (film/TV, animation, VFX, documentary etc.) and arts sectors (live events, theatre etc.) that have skills which could be used to add value to interactive projects. The aim of the fund is to encourage greater collaboration between interactive companies and other screen/arts industries, as well as supporting freelancers in refining transferable skills which can be used on interactive projects.

Due to the impact of Covid-19 on the traditional screen sectors such as film/TV, as well as the arts, there is group of talented freelancers currently with less work, or not working at all, with skills which can add value to interactive projects and support the development of the Northern Ireland interactive sector.

For example:

  • A live sound engineer mixing sound for VR
  • A film fiction writer supporting narrative design for an RPG game
  • A production coordinator providing planning and scheduling support
  • A gaffer providing advice on how to light a scene in a video game cut scene

Multiscreen Freelancers will run from November 1st to March 31st and Northern Ireland Screen will support the cost of a freelancer position up to £2,000 per month. Freelancers can be engaged for any length of time; however, the latest companies can apply for the support is Dec 15th with positions starting at the latest 1st Jan. All positions should finish by March 31st.

For more information and to apply visit Northern Ireland Screen’s website.