Durham has become the first UK University to form a collaboration with social purpose driven esports org LDN UTD. Working with the leading esports organisation, the partnership will bring the benefits of esports to students as well as the wider Durham community.
New opportunities for students
Esports are already an integral part of our wider student experience offer, with over 1,300 students currently holding membership to the esports society. This partnership with LDN UTD – who use the medium of gaming and esports to address social issues and promote health and wellbeing – will further increase the opportunities for our students to develop their skills, learn about the industry, gain access to work experience opportunities and stay healthy while playing.
LDN UTD will work with all levels of player and staff talent, from grassroots through to the highest levels of professionals, to develop and educate gamers, ensuring they hone their skills as well as look after their bodies and minds.
By working together, we hope to be able to offer our students a more advanced programme of support around many elements of esports including:
- Seminars and talks relating to mental health, career development and esports content creation, with speakers from LDN UTD’s professional and support rosters.
- Digital skills workshops to bolster student skill sets relating to topics including: Mental Health, Coaching, Team Management, Events Management, Nutrition etc.
- Online tournaments and offline large scale events in the form of an “Esports Festival,” providing entertainment and social interaction for all ages.
- Esports Scholarships with support from LDN UTD for those attending Durham University, aimed at creating a pathway into the esports industry as the end result.
- Support for LDN UTD’s professional players making use of Durham University’s expertise in enhancing an athletes’ personal support matrix (nutrition, mental health, physical fitness)
- Creating a successful bond between Higher and Further Education, esports and the organisations therein, to enhance the employment opportunities within the sector for those interested, without the need for having an Esports aligned Degree.
Esport in the community
It’s not just our students who are set to benefit from the partnership. We are already planning to extend support to competitors, gamers and prospective gamers in the County Durham area who may be interested in learning more about esports. The group plans to develop outreach collaborations with schools and colleges in the local area to teach basic coding skills, working specifically with under-represented groups to encourage more growth in this area.
Developing new talent
Director of Experience Durham, Quentin Sloper said, “This partnership opens up some outstanding opportunities for our students and the wider County Durham community. Working with the team from LDN UTD and going head to head in competition with some of their professional gamers will provide a platform for our students to test their skills at the highest of levels whilst giving them exposure to the range of career opportunities, beyond competing, that are now rapidly opening up within the industry. We already have a long-standing, highly successful University esports society, so I’m also excited to see how this partnership can advance this group of players and ensure even more success for Team Durham in the future.”
Let the games begin
Current Esports Club President, Lordie Bevan, said: “Working with the team from LDN UTD will help us develop our playing and knowledge of the esports sector so much. This is not only important for our student members, but also for the wider Durham community. We at DUEG feel strongly about promoting a happy, healthy, and fulfilling community experience through the median of esports here at Durham. LDN UTD’s support provides a great opportunity to combat the issues of mental health and isolation that have affected our community during the Covid pandemic. We’re looking forward to our partnership and we can’t wait to get started!”
Bringing esport and education together
Founder/CEO of LDN UTD, Oliver Weingarten, said: “The reputation of Durham University speaks for itself, and as we look to broaden the mission of LDN UTD, we look forward to partnering to support the students and engage a wider community. Education is a key tenet of the LDN UTD values, alongside wellbeing, diversity and inclusivity in the esports space. We believe the industry specific support and guidance we can provide will ensure the success of Durham’s esports projects going forward.