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University of Warwick receives £135,000 grant for esports mentoring programme

The University of Warwick has announced it will receive a £135,000 government grant to provide opportunities to young people through esports.

The funds will be used to provide experiences and opportunities to 16 to 24 year-old ‘NEETs’ — young people that are not engaged in education, employment or training.

The University of Warwick opened its Esports Centre in May 2021. Image credit: University of Warwick

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The funding will come as part of the UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF), a UK government programme to support people and communities in need. Warwick is one of five launch partners working with Warwickshire County Council to receive funding and deliver opportunities to NEETs. 

As part of Warwick’s programme, named ‘Esports Futures’, the university will take young people across a two-day experience involving an array of soft and transferable skills. It will also utilise the University of Warwick’s £275,000 Esports Centre, which opened in May 2021. 

The programme will see participants organise and compete in an esports tournament, as well as learn key media skills including broadcasting, graphic design, video editing, and social media.

Moreover, participants will have access to a career focus group, followed by a showcase in April to celebrate the participants’ achievements. Warwick plans to invite industry experts to offer guidance and expertise to the participants.

The programme and application for the grant were organised by the University of Warwick’s Esports Centre, part of its Creative Futures gateway, which appointed its inaugural Head of Esports late last year.

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Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said: “[I am] delighted that the University of Warwick’s Esports programme is continuing to help bring fresh skills, investment, and job opportunities to our local community.

“Through the generous support of [the] Community Renewal Fund and working closely our regional partners, Warwick is proud to further our commitment to esports by welcoming young people from across our region to our campus so that they can learn about and acquire practical knowledge of this exciting sector”. 

The UK Community Renewal Fund (CRF) is a government fund set to invest £220m across the UK. This fund comes ahead of the launch of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which will replace EU Structural and Investment Funds in 2022.

Esports Insider says: It is welcoming to see a government grant being allocated to an esports programme — and it makes sense considering esports’ role as a conduit for digital skills. The University of Warwick — three-time winners of the Esports University of the Year Award — is already making good use of its newfound esports department.

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