The creative industries are forecast to be one of the fastest growing parts of the UK economy in the coming years, and the digital and interactive media industry will be a significant contributor to that growth. However, many digital agencies have vacancies which they are struggling to fill and nearly a third of employers in the sector report a skills gap in their current workforce.
We wanted to test out a new type of digital media education programme for young people, which aimed to give participants the skills they need to thrive in digital and interactive media roles.
We partnered with Hyper Island to develop a very different type of educational programme for 18-25 year olds in the UK, which aimed to give young people practical experience and the right skills to succeed in careers in digital media or communications – in other words, the skills employers are looking for.
The Interactive Media Design and Management pilot, based in Manchester, launched on 23 May 2011 and offered 23 students an alternative start towards a career in interactive media, communications and advertising.
At Hyper Island there are no teachers, no tests, no homework or textbooks; instead students immersed themselves in 19 weeks of project-based activity, responding to real briefs set by industry partners, followed by a 12-16 week internship.
What did we learn?
The Hyper Island students developed sought-after skills in problem-solving, teamwork, leadership and project management in an environment designed to mirror the workplace.
In March 2013 we published a report following the journey of 16 of the UK students who took part in the Hyper Island pilot. You can read more about the pilot and what we learned here: Hyper Island UK.
Hyper Island is an educational model developed in Sweden which aims to meet the growing needs of the interactive media industry by providing students with the skills, capabilities, personal attributes and professional networks to gain employment in the sector.
It is co-designed with industry partners and regularly reviewed with them to ensure that it is relevant and up-to-date with the opportunities which new technologies afford.