The national award highlights lecturers, course leaders and academics (currently teaching at a Further Education level) who have demonstrated a positive impact with their students over the past 12 months. These are the academics that go beyond just the lectures, are often excellent student mentors, organise industry events and speakers, and can show wide-ranging beneficial results of their work.
The three finalists battling it out for the ‘Grads in Games’ award were teachers at some of the very best colleges in the UK for Games Development: Jordan Hogan – Access Creative College; Paul McGovern – South West College, and last but not least, victor, Rob Griffiths at Coleg Llandrillo. This is an industry award, presented by Aardvark Swift – a leading global recruiter for video games and related industries (‘Grads in Games’ is a graduate initiative and is one of the company’s promotional arms).
Rob’s personal award follows hot on the heels of Coleg Llandrillo gaining the ‘The Grads in Games Educational Institution’ last autumn. This award is open to all UK colleges and highlights those institutions at a Further Education level who have demonstrated a positive impact with their students over the previous year. These are the colleges that are doing the most to help students, giving them the best opportunities to graduate into Higher Education or a games industry role.
Rob sat his A-levels at Ysgol y Creuddyn in Penrhyn Bay before going on to study for a three-year degree in Games Development. After leaving university, Rob got his first job with Sony, working on the mega-game - and industry blockbuster - Minecraft. Within two weeks of starting work with Sony, Rob was offered a position at TT Games. Within a few months, he went from a quality assurance position to a games designer on multi-award winning games like Lego Batman and Lego Star Wars to name but a few!
Rob, a BAFTA-winning games designer, whose creations have sold in their millions, has been lecturing at Coleg Llandrillo’s Rhos-on-Sea campus since 2017. He now leads the department and utilises his own industry connections to ensure his students benefit and reach their full potential.
Announcing the winner, a spokesperson for the company commented: “I feel that he has gone above and beyond - especially during the current Covid circumstances – in ensuring that all his students are reaching their full potential, whilst taking the time to monitor and protect their well-being.
“Rob is an excellent example of how academics can collaborate effectively with industry, and it is his students who really feel the benefit. This award is fully deserved and we want to offer him all of our congratulations.”
Rob, who lives in Old Colwyn but is originally from Rhos-on-Sea, was part of the design team that scooped the BAFTA award, ‘Best Children’s Game 2016’, for Lego Dimensions. During his time at TT Games, Rob was also involved in creating Lego Star Wars – The Force Awakens; The Lego Ninjago Movie Game; Lego Dimensions - Years 1 & 2; Lego Batman and Lego Marvel’s Avengers!
Rob said: “My aims are to inspire the students and to promote the gaming industry within Wales. During the relatively short time I have been at the college, I have been really impressed with the students and their innovative ideas for games development.”
Coleg Llandrillo’s Games Development department has had an unbelievable few years, after securing partnerships with some of the world’s most successful electronics and gaming brands.
It recently announced that it has been registered as both Xbox and Nintendo developers, which is a possible first for any college or university in the UK! Further to this, it is now part of Sony Interactive
Entertainment’s global academic programme - PlayStation®First. Run by Sony Interactive Entertainment
Europe (SIEE), it provides access to professional development hardware and software tools for both staff and students. This means that students get to use the same hardware that games studios around the world are using, thus enabling them to create ground-breaking, innovative games on PlayStation…in their own classrooms!
Coleg Llandrillo has shown that it is continually developing its practice to teach the most up-to-date content possible and keep up with the changes in the games industry. It has become a Tranzfuser hub and has also recently opened a £120,000 VR (virtual reality) suite specifically for students to develop their own VR projects. It has even set up a guided Esports team within the college.
For more information on the college’s courses in Games Development, or Computing courses in general starting in September, please call the college’s Learner Services team on 01492 542 338.