Video Transcript: Esports are serious business at Barnsley College
What SHI will do, that they have done, they'll create an environment that is sector-leading that will allow real positive impact in those young people - those individuals - wanting to achieve and be whatever it is they want to be.
The way that we work as a college is all about trying to do the next thing before others do it. So esports, it's a big thing, it's not about playing games; it's about learning the skills that enable our students to develop their whole self, around management, around communication, around problem-solving in a digital environment.
What excites me is the speed of this; it's moving up the gravitational pull that it's having on young people. It has real, real impact on their life, their life chances, their opportunities, through the multiple experiences and relationships that we create as a college.
Having such a good facility means that students are allowed to diversify in what they're wanting to specialize in due to the nature of the course. But the facility means that the students now can not only do well performance wise, but education, it upskills them. It's resulted into better grades, better employment opportunities, and going on to university in high progression.
We really pick and choose who we want to work with. We're able to do that because of the quality of our college experience. And what interested us with SHI was around their passion for difference, their passion for innovation, and their passion for the next generation. So they've invested heavily in time and resources and support for the next thing in esports and around digital.
We've been delivering esports projects in the state since 2016 and now it's great to see how we've taken our expertise across the pond and delivered projects and partnered with leading esports facilities like Barnsley College. We've aligned ourselves with esports industry experts who agree that SHI is supporting Esports the right way in giving students opportunity and helping to line up the appropriate resources to ensure that their program is successful.
The investment that we're making now in the UK and particularly around Esports and our capabilities, such as Nexus, allows us to provide the end-user compute piece that is part of the e-gaming solution, but then we've also got the skills with regards to the networking security, the infrastructure piece that sits around that.
Somebody once said to me we're going to prepare the students for the jobs that are not even there yet, and I used to think to myself "what is that?", "what does that look like?", "what does that mean?". This is the first time I can really see that and it's through the support of SHI; it's through their foresight, through their horizon-scanning that we can allow our learners to be sat on a career journey to help them achieve that in their destination.
The partnership that we're working with SHI is really a testament to the way that we work. It's about opportunities for our students and it's about developing the right product that our students can take with them for the rest of their life.
What SHI will do, they'll create an environment that is world leading, that is sector leading, that will allow real positive impact in those young people, those individuals, wanting to achieve and be whatever it is they want to be.
Gaming stations, including F1 and HADO
Better grades, varied employment opportunities, and a higher rate of university progression
Students across its esports provision
Barnsley College now boasts a cutting-edge esports facility—courtesy of SHI UK.
Situated in the north of England, Barnsley College has been committed to transforming the lives of its students through accessible, industry-standard facilities and a diverse syllabus that reflects future work opportunities.
As the first college in the UK to offer esports on the curriculum, they have undertaken an £8 million investment in their digital learning space. To deliver an innovative combination of solutions, Barnsley enlisted SHI’s expertise in esports for education.
The goals were clear: Establish a sector-leading facility with future-proofed technology to enable students’ participation in the esports curriculum.
To create this facility, SHI provided a suite of high-spec PCs, monitors, desks, and gaming chairs - as well as vinyl and staging work - to ensure the space was integrated perfectly into the existing Barnsley College building.
James Langton, Business Development Account Manager at SHI during the build, touted the expansive scope of these projects, saying, “The record SHI has in esports within the American market is really, really strong. We have now brought this expertise and knowledge over to the UK, enabling us to be ahead of the game where esports is an emerging yet rapidly growing market.”
Now equipped with an industry-leading esports facility, Barnsley College soon noticed the positive impact on its students. Using new, multifaceted solutions, Barnsley College students can now diversify their preferred focus areas. This has resulted in better grades, varied employment opportunities, and a higher rate of university progression.
Trends like these were particularly noted by Mark Ryan, Head of Department for Sport and Esports: “It's massive that we get support from SHI to enable us to develop the people who will fill job vacancies and job roles in the future. It has a real impact on their life chances, their opportunities, and their relationships.” For this reason, among others, Barnsley College has received “Outstanding” status in its 2023 report from the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted).
“It's massive that we get support from SHI to enable us to develop the people who will fill job vacancies and job roles in the future.”
- Mark Ryan, Head of Department for Sport and Esports