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Technology and Video Games Sectors

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 12 February 2015

2. What discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Education and Department for Culture, Media and Sport and with the devolved Administrations on ensuring that their policies meet the skills needs of the technology and video games sectors. (907593)

As a joint Minister at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, I often have conversations with myself about this important issue, and on the odd occasion they get dull, I involve the Minister for Skills and Equalities and the Department for Education. I am pleased to tell the hon. Gentleman that we have introduced a new school computing curriculum, are establishing a new national college for digital skills and are co-funding with employers innovative degree apprenticeships.

I try not to speak to myself about this subject, but the Minister will be aware that I have raised on numerous occasions the importance of computer and video games to the Dundee, Scotland and UK economy. I am sure he agrees that there is a skills shortage—not enough graduates are going into the computer games industry. What is he doing with other Departments to address this situation?

The hon. Gentleman is a doughty champion for the video games industry, which is hugely successful in his constituency and throughout the country, and the video games tax relief will also help the industry grow. However, he is quite right to point to the need to focus on skills. The games industry was instrumental in persuading the Government to have computer coding taught in schools, and, because we have a sense of urgency about this, we have introduced new degree apprenticeships so that people at university can work closely with employers on the latest technology.