First of its kind Further Education forum helps colleges understand esports

The British Esports Association, the not-for-profit organisation set up to promote and support grassroots esports, has held its very first conference event in partnership with AoC Sport, the membership organisation for further education and sixth form colleges in England and Wales.

The organisations held the free Esports in Further Education Forum at Sixways Stadium in Worcester on 23 May.

An expert panel consisting of members of the British Esports Association, colleges taking part in our British Esports Championships and industry experts spoke about the benefits of esports. More than 40 college leaders were in attendance.

AoC Sport’s Managing Director Marcus Kingwell kicked off proceedings with a welcome and introduction, before Darren Newnham, British Esports Association advisory board member and Nexus CEO gave an overview on esports.

British Esports content director Dominic Sacco then spoke about the British Esports Championships for schools and colleges.

After a lunch and networking break, a college esports panel including lecturers, teachers and students spoke about the benefits of esports, taking part in the Championships and shared best practice with the audience including tips on setting up esports clubs, getting the right equipment and forming teams.

The panel consisted of:

  • Moderator – Dominic Sacco, British Esports Association
  • Emily Brazzill – Captain of the Farnborough Foxes second team, Farnborough Sixth Form
  • Michael Kelly – Captain of the Farnborough Falcons Overwatch team, Farnborough Sixth Form
  • Robert Cummins – Head of Year 12, Altrincham Grammar School for Boys
  • Kyle Cherry – Games Technology Lecturer, Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies

British Esports CEO Chester King brought the event to a close with a look at what’s next from British Esports and the Championships over the next three years.

Delegates also learnt about career pathways, how esports can increase attendance levels, promote teamwork, leadership and communication skills and help students make new friends, as well as why it’s recognised as a game in the UK and not a sport, and how it sits in harmony with traditional sports.

Kaussar Bashir of South & City College Birmingham said: “It was an amazing event to kick-start and welcome esports into the FE sector. It was very informative, engaging and offered a complete network of support for someone like ourselves who are at the start of our esports journey.”

Kyle Cherry, Games Technology Lecturer at Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, commented: “The event was really positive, we really enjoyed getting to share the successes we’ve had with other schools and colleges in the room. Hopefully there will be more events like this coming in the future and we’ll be a part of those as well.”

British Esports Association CEO Chester King said: “We were delighted to partner with AoC Sport for our very first conference for those in the further education space.

“Esports offers students a great new extracurricular activity that teachers and parents are accepting more and more as they learn about its many benefits. We look forward to hosting more events in the future.”

AoC Sport MD Marcus Kingwell added: “It was great to hear such positive feedback from colleges about their experience with the British Esports Championships.

“There was a real recognition of the multiple benefits that esports can bring to students including improved attendance, commitment, mental focus and team working.

“It was also clear that esports works best as part of a balanced lifestyle which includes sport or physical activity. I have high hopes for the next round of the British Esports Championships which start in September.”

**The British Esports Association will be running a workshop on why sports and esports should be working closer together at the AoC Sport and ECFA National Conference on 5 June. Book your place here***

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