A pioneering, free to access, immersive technologies programme will help Gateshead residents to develop the most in-demand digital skills and fast-track them into technology careers in this growing sector.

Innovation hub HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology, operated by Preston-based IN4 Group, is partnering with Digital Catapult North East Tees Valley to launch the Immex City Immersive Technologies Skills Programme at PROTO, the first digital production facility of its kind in Europe, and the Northern Design Centre in Baltic Quays.

Based at MediaCity in Salford, HOST is home to the only Unity Centre of Excellence in the UK as it expands its operations to the North East of England.

HOST, in partnership with Target3D, is delivering the unique 6-week programme to support learners with gaining skills across a broad spectrum of immersive tools and technologies, including Unity and Unreal Game Engines.

The programme includes learning sessions, mentoring, hands-on workshops, networking and the opportunity to meet prospective employers, so they are inspired to pursue a career or start up a business in the immersive industries.

The full-time programme explores skills in immersive technologies, software management, games engine development, virtual production, soft skills, personal development, and workplace readiness.

In 2021, the UK video games market hit a record high of £7.16 billion and the sales of virtual reality hardware also saw significant growth, with headset sales rising by 42 per cent to £183 million as society is continuing to embrace new technologies.

Simon Benson, Head of Immersive Technologies at HOST, said:

“It’s fantastic to be working in collaboration with Digital Catapult to bring this unique programme to life, boosting jobs and skills in immersive technologies across the region. Alongside our fellow partners including tech giant Unity, the largest immersive development platform in the world, we plan to help even more people in the North forge careers in the digital tech industries.”

Alex Cook, Immex City Programme Lead, Digital Catapult NETV, said:

“The Immex City Immersive Skills pilot is a really exciting opportunity for local people to learn skills that will help them to find opportunities in our growing immersive sector. We’re delighted to be working with HOST to deliver this unique programme as they have a track record of delivering fantastic skills programmes. Through this UK Community Renewal Funded pilot, participants will learn game engine development, virtual production skills and be supported with career advice to help them find work in the sector.”

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