Thanks to the amazing support of Electronic Arts (EA) Talent RISE was delighted to recently help fire up the imaginations of two aspiring female games designers.
These two amazing young women, Katie and Benny, were introduced to Talent RISE when they attended our RISE of a Tech #GirlForce event last November.
Our #GirlForce event was inspired by a year long effort by the UN to advocate for opportunities for girls to gain employability skills. Our event, run in partnership with Karismatic Minds and TSIP, supported this initiative by connecting young women from south London with inspiring female leaders from within the tech sector, including staff from across Talent International’s UK offices.
The young women who attended were all fantastic, but Talent’s staff were particularly moved by Katie and Benny’s passion for gaming and technology. They’d even brought some Python coding examples with them to share.
One of Talent’s staff subsequently reached out to EA to see if they could help to further inspire and inform Benny and Katie. Amazingly, EA offered both an incredible opportunity to visit their offices and talk to some of their staff.
Katie and Benny are studying for their GCSE’s, so the visit was scheduled for the February half-term, and the big day finally arrived last week.
We weren’t due to arrive at EA’s offices until 10am on February 21, but we’d offered Katie and Benny the chance to takeover Talent RISE’s Twitter account for the day. and they were both so excited they started tweeting on the train. Here’s how they introduced themselves:
Hi, I’m Benny, I’m 15 and I admire game design. Today, I’m visiting EA with my friend, Katie and we’re taking over this Twitter account today!
Hi I’m Katie, I’m also 15, I’m into programming and animation. Looking forward to meeting new people at EA today.
When we arrived at EA we were met by the wonderful Isabel Arjona, Development Manager for EA Artworks who’d helped arrange the day for us. Soon after Benny and Katie were treated to a fantastic tour of the building, including the Ghost and Criterion gaming studios. Both were really happy to see so much artwork from some of their favourite games.
After the tour Katie and Benny had a chance to talk to one of EA’s artists, Rachel Senior, who explained different ways to get into animation, and showed them first hand how professionals make characters come to life. Benny and Katie explained on Twitter:
I just learned about how the staff animate specific characters and movements…….. It was amazing to see how they use [Autodesk] Maya to help making animations smoother.
It was then time for lunch and everyone was pleased to find out it was burger day in the cafe! Once they were done eating Katie and Benny were joined by Joe Burridge and Lewis Brown, two of EA’s Senior Recruiters.
Their enthusiasm was infectious, and they gave Benny and Katie some great advice about the many different roles and career paths in gaming. What was really inspiring was that they’d both followed their own personal paths, one through university and one through a less traditional route, emphasising that the individual is often more important than formal education when it comes to finding talent.
Katie enjoys both programming and animation, and had been feeling a bit torn about which to pursue. So, she was also happy to hear that she could combine the two:
It was great to hear that there is a job, a technical artist, where I could do both programming and art.
Then, to finish off, Katie and Benny spent some time with Annie Barnett, who talked about her programming work and how she’d got started.
It was an incredible day, but all good things have to come to an end and it was soon time to head home. Both Benny and Katie had a fantastic day and left feeling inspired and encouraged to keep pursuing their dream careers in games design. They signed off Twitter reflecting on what they’d learned:
The biggest thing we learned today is that the most important thing to achieve the career you want to do is for you to be passionate and determined. Thank you EA for the adventurous, productive trip! We met so many friendly people and wish to stay in contact. Benny & Katie
You can read their whole Twitter thread here.
We really can’t thank EA and all their amazing staff enough for hosting us, and for helping to inspire the next generation in the process. Thanks for being awesome EA!
Talent RISE is actively seeking more employers who can support young people with employment barriers by providing opportunities for sustained employment or work experience, and by hosting inspiring events like this one. For more info and to get involved please contact firstname.lastname@example.org // 07585 984 810