• Skilling South Australia

Skills for the real world

INTERACTIVE LEARNING: Student Jasmine Campbell with Academy of Interactive Entertainment Head of School Adelaide Ann-Maree Davies. Picture: Mike Burton, The Advertiser.

Courtesy of The Advertiser.

Students at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment are taking their skills to the world before they even graduate and learning valuable lessons in the process.

AIE Head of School Adelaide Ann-Maree Davies says it was industry that came knocking at the academy’s door in the search of students with skills in digital and interactive games and visual effects, to apply their knowledge in the real world, from games companies to mainstream business and industry.

One of the first was SA Power Networks, which had been dabbling in virtual reality (VR) for engineering and training purposes. “They saw what our students could do, so we sent our students (to help out),” Davies says. “I’ve come from a background in health so I wanted to see where are the other opportunities for VR and AR (augmented reality). So SA Power took four students on a six-week placement – they actually ended up hiring them.”

The tentative project led to a formal new training pathway for the digital effects students, with State Government funding work placements for seven AIE students studying the Diploma in Digital and Interactive Games and 10 Diploma of Screen and Media students.

The funds pay for a support officer, one of AIE’s teachers with extensive industry experience, to work on the external placements and students get financial help paying course fees. The work placements will occur for two or three days a week for up to five months from July this year. Students volunteer for the scheme, which has proven popular. “They’ve come in with some basic skills and it means by the time they go out on their placements they’ve got a nice little bag of tricks and tools ready to use,” Davies says.

“What our students get from the placements is social skills – communication – to actually get out into industry and see how corporate settings work.”

Jasmine Campbell, 17, is enrolled in the Diploma of Screen and Media and hopes for a placement to apply her skills in making 3D game assets and models and animation.

Diploma in Digital and Interactive Games student William Grimes, 19, is focusing on programing and would love a work placement.

“Hopefully in a games studio, to see what it takes to get into the industry as a professional,” he says.

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