Hyper Island training academy launches Manchester offshoot

Hyper Island
Hyper Island Karlskrona, Sweden, where the school was originally set up in 1995

Applications are currently being accepted for the Hyper Island Interactive Media Design and Management programme, a Manchester-based pilot of the Swedish industry-led educational model that aims to help young people enter a career in interactive media.

Although Hyper Island already runs training courses in the UK for people currently working in the digital media industry, this will be the UK debut of its Swedish education model.

The UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts is partnering with Hyper Island to deliver and help fund the programme. Nesta will use the pilot’s findings to create a policy paper case study on the wider subject of industry-led education.

David McCall, director of Hyper Island, says it is hoped the course will provide ’a robust set of evidence and methodology on how industry can design and deliver education’.

Jon Kingsbury, director of the creative economy programme at Nesta, says, ’Unemployment is at a record high for 18to 24-year-olds. The creative industry thrives on the basis of diversity – not just ethnically, but in thinking and background, so finding alternative routes is terrifically important.’

He adds, ’From our research into the skills gaps in technical creative industries, a recurring insight is that industry-led educational courses have a much better rate of converting students into the industry than degree courses.’

The scheme has been designed by 60 industry partners including Amaze, BBC, Channel 4, Code Computerlove, Dare, Love, MTV, Saatchi & Saatchi and Sony Games. These organisations will help set real digital media briefs for students to answer.

Tony Foggett, chief executive of Code Computerlove, says, ’Integration with the industry means students have a much greater understanding of consultancy life than typically from university.’

Successful applicants will complete a 20-week learning programme followed by a 12-week internship, most likely with one of the industry partners.

The course is the pilot for a new UK higher education qualification that, subject to validation on 31 March, will be accredited by Teesside University. This could be used as a degree component or pathway to other courses, according to McCall.

Areas covered include leadership and group dynamics; digital development; business strategy; communications including branding, visual identity and packaging; visual design including digital and motion graphics; and project management.

Chris Conlan, managing director of Manchester-based consultancy Love, became involved in Hyper Island having previously completed its training course, Accidental Leaders. He says, ’Talented designers are in short supply, as are people with great ideas who aren’t necessarily visual designers. With the BBC coming to Manchester very soon there will be even more pressure on the labour market, with a huge employer looking for the same type of skills.’

He adds, ’Hyper Island sought to find out what we feel the skills shortages are and how we can produce much more work-ready graduates.’

McCall says, ’The methodology of Hyper Island isn’t about spoon-feeding – students have to find information for themselves. They’ve got to be proactive and curious.’

He adds, ’It isn’t a school – it’s part of a digital eco-system that the UK’s building. It’ll be a hot-bed of talent – the ideas and energy that come from that will be quite amazing.’

Hyper Island Manchester

  • The UK programme has 25 places available to people aged 18-25
  • Applicants must submit a portfolio, and demonstrate relevant experience and a passion for interactive media
  • Places for British citizens cost £1999. It is hoped there will also be about five free scholarships available
  • Applications must be received before 1 April, for the programme commencing 23 May
  • David McCall, director of Hyper Island, advises applicants, ’It’s all about the passion and answering the creative task. They have to start thinking creatively’

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