Alton College level up their games education

Written by Adam Watts
Enterprise Coordinator - Business Development at Enterprise M3


Alton isn't steeped in game development history, there are no records in the history books that can be traced back to the modest Hampshire town. This could be set to change, thanks to HSDC Alton inspiring the next generation of talent through their new Gaming and Creative Digital Studios.

Future superstars of the industry are taking level 3 courses in Games Design & Development, Film & TV Production, and Level 2 in Creative Media Production. Students will also be able to take a Level 3 Esports course from September 2022 onwards. The world is their oyster, with Guildford (the Hollywood of games) only a short journey along the A31.


Foundations for success

Preparing their students to work for exciting local game development studios is the ultimate goal for the college. 


“The beauty of this course is that there is such a focus on next steps, we want them to leave college and potentially go immediately into employment.”

Andy Moss: HSDC Alton UAL Creative Media Production & Technology teacher

Andy covers research, numeracy, web design and maintenance, evaluation, marketing, project management and much more on his course; all of which are desirable for local employers.

Before now, students would have had to travel further afield to get such specialist support. The college has used a £1.25m investment from Enterprise M3 to create 10 classrooms and collaborative spaces, featuring 64 high-end gaming PCs and a further 48 PCs tuned for media production.


Skills for life

Having access to advanced equipment is brilliant, however the real value in what HSDC Alton is offering comes from the fact that transferrable skills are at the heart of their teaching.


“Coming into the games design course, I thought it was just going to be hands-on programming, but it’s also about art and music and storyboarding. It definitely opens more doors, it’s the combination of all the skills.”

James Kemshaw: HSDC Alton Digital Games Design & Development and Computing A Level student

James has a particular interest in virtual reality, perhaps he’ll end up working with the team at Farnborough based nDreams, the largest VR studio in Europe.


High Aspirations

The beauty of the games industry is that there are jobs available that suit the skillset and interests of most individuals. There are plenty of misconceptions which overlook that; whether it’s assumptions around a need to be creative, or that all people in the industry simply play games all day. Students at HSDC Alton have ambitions that extend well beyond those realms.


“My aspiration is to be a project manager for a games team, making sure team members have correct deadlines and facilities, everyone’s well-being is good and that the team can work efficiently. Having this first-hand experience and being able to work my way up will be vital for what I want to do.”

Zach Cooksey: HSDC Alton Digital Games Design & Development student

With over 100 game developers in the Enterprise M3 region, Zach is studying in the perfect place to achieve his goals.


A bright future

Beyond the classroom, HSDC Alton has created an Esports society, giving students a chance to hone their skills even further. That paid off over the summer, with their South Downs Storm Esports team winning the All-star Showdown 2021, the first of many more victories to come.

The college has clearly built a culture of adaptability and success within Esports, giving their students every chance to make it in the industry. They aren’t resting there though, with plans to add T Levels to their creative digital offering. This will bring work experience opportunities to the fore, giving students exciting chances to interact with employers and kickstart their careers.

Whether you’re a young person looking for a place to begin your journey, or an employer on the lookout for the very best talent then look no further than the creative digital department at HSDC Alton.

Find out more about their facilities and courses here:

Enterprise M3 co-fund the work of the Careers & Enterprise Company, assisting HSDC Alton, along with 103 other colleges/ schools to improve the career prospects of young people. We are keen to connect more companies in the games sector with our institutions. Find out more about how you can get involved as an employer here: