New facility and training programme for upskilling Unity developers, set to boost investment and establish the North as a global leader in real-time development.
HOST, Salford’s Home of Skills & Technology at Media City, today announced its partnership with Unity (NYSE: U), the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, to establish the first Unity Centre of Excellence in the UK.
The Centre of Excellence at HOST will offer extensive in-person support to students, professionals and small businesses with a mission of becoming the ‘Beacon of the North’ for best-in-class technical skills and innovation across industries. According to XQ Institute’s report High School & the Future of Work, the biggest change between the workforce today and the workforce in 2030 will be the demand for advanced IT and programming skills. This Centre of Excellence will upskill learners to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, promote immersive technology usage across sectors, create highly skilled jobs and establish a central home for the thriving UK video games industry at MediaCityUK.
Creators, ranging from game developers to artists, architects, automotive designers, filmmakers, and more, use Unity to make their imaginations come to life, with an average of 5 billion downloads every month in 2020. While the UK video games market hit a record high of £7 billion last year as lockdown caused an unprecedented surge in the popularity of mobile games, consoles and virtual reality headsets.
In line with HOST’s commitment to removing the present barriers impacting diversity and inclusivity, the Centre of Excellence will launch a comprehensive training programme working with UK universities and industry to deliver professional Certified Unity training.
Additionally, the Unity Cadets will support 150 disadvantaged youngsters from Greater Manchester in Years 10 to 13, to educate and inspire career starts in the gaming and immersive sector.
“This is an incredible coup for us, we are immensely humbled and privileged for Unity to have chosen us. We can now massively accelerate startup growth, business innovation, incentivise the creation of thousands of jobs, and provide fair access to high-quality career starts with ground-breaking initiatives such as the Unity Cadets,” said Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, operators of HOST. “Unity is the leader in real-time 3D development so the Centre of Excellence at HOST will establish MediaCityUK as a global destination for the growth of the gaming and immersive technology industry. The Centre of Excellence is another major asset in our world-leading digital city region. Designers, developers, and artists collaborate through Unity and create a fantastic bridge between the creative and technical worlds. Greater Manchester is blessed with the most integrated and diverse digital ecosystem, a foundation upon which our partnership with Unity will drive a job-rich recovery.”
“Immersive technology such as AR and VR is developing and diversifying at breakneck speed, transforming all sectors, including gaming, entertainment, health, education, retail, manufacturing, and more,” said Ryan Peterson, Vice President, Solutions, Unity. “The most exciting and long-lasting impact will be our work to create sustainable job opportunities in the local sector and, in tandem, develop professionals with the skills to take on those opportunities.”
HOST, formerly known as The Landing, has also secured a partnership with Gameopolis, the largest video games community and network for developers and publishers across the North West. It is also working in partnership with the University of Salford and former Sony PlayStation ‘imagineer,’ Dr Maria Stukoff, who is supporting with the development of its esports and XR immersive community.
Stephen Wild, Managing Director of MediaCityUK, said: “This partnership is transformational for the scale and quality of immersive content which will be generated from MediaCityUK. We are already seeing dock10 trailblaze in their virtual broadcasting capabilities and coupled with advancements in video gaming, esports and immersive technologies, MediaCityUK will be firmly positioned as the UK home for immersive entertainment. It will also drive job creation and many opportunities for like-minded SMEs to cluster around.”