From home to HOST: Festival of Play for school students

Digital Schoolhouse, in association with Electronic Arts, is bringing the Festival of Play, a brand-new creative careers and computing conference for students aged 8-15 to innovation hub HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology. It will inspire students to turn their hobbies into highly skilled careers. 

Taking place for the first time at Salford-based innovation hub HOST on Wednesday 13 July, the Festival of Play will bring together students from schools across the North West. 

The festival will showcase the breadth and depth of roles available in the UK games industry. It will be packed with interactive workshops, inspiring talks and innovative games to spark young people’s interest in the sector.  

The unique school trip will educate and empower students to get closer to the technology and tools used to make video games and develop their interest in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) subjects.  

The conference will also engage with teachers by giving them the skills to teach computing in creative and playful ways that bring the subject to life in the classroom while supporting continued professional development.  

Alongside a range of activities, live music and entertainment, the students will also get a chance to hear from and meet people who work in the games industry – encouraging them to think about how the skills that make games today can match up with the careers they may grow into in the future.  

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4 Group, operator of HOST, said: “We are honoured to welcome the first Festival of Play to the North West at HOST in MediaCity. The video games market is growing at an epic scale and the opportunities for developing the most in-demand digital skills are immense. By working closely with key partners like Digital Schoolhouse, Electronic Arts and local schools, we can offer even more opportunities to inspire young people, spark their interest in STEAM subjects and ensure they have fair access to technology careers.” 

Shahneila Saeed, Programme Director of Digital Schoolhouse, said: “We’re so excited to bring the Festival of Play to life with the support of Electronic Arts at HOST Salford this summer. It’s been a long-term dream of mine to run an event like this that translates students’ fun and passion for play into practical opportunities for careers and skills development. It’s important to us that this festival provides local schools with direct access to the video games industry, and I can’t wait for us to get started.” 

“Partnering with Digital Schoolhouse on its first Festival of Play was a no-brainer for us,” comments Chris Bruzzo, Chief Experience Officer of Electronic Arts. “We’re always on the hunt for innovative ways to help bridge the gap between education and industry. One way for us to do this is through partnering with fantastic programmes such as Digital Schoolhouse to inspire future generations from all backgrounds about the incredible journey that studying STEAM subjects can take them on.” 

The free tickets have already been fully allocated for the festival at HOST with a waiting list for additional spaces. Further information about the Festival of Play can be found here: https://digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/events/festival-of-play 

Related stories