Sweden’s “Digital Harvard” launches industry-backed learning in UK from Manchester - MIDAS

Sweden’s “Digital Harvard” launches industry-backed learning in UK from Manchester

Budding digital media students are today being offered the chance to take part in a cutting-edge new educational programme in Manchester, backed by businesses such as Channel 4, Saatchi & Saatchi and Sony Games.

Applications open today for a British version of a tried and tested Swedish training model for people in the interactive media, communications and advertising industries. The ‘Interactive Media Design and Management’ programme, which will be run in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is the first of its kind to be introduced by Hyper Island outside of Sweden and has already received the backing of leading brands such as MTV, McCann, Channel 4, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony Games, Code Computerlove and Wieden + Kennedy.

Hyper Island’s model offers a distinctive action-learning approach, with participants delivering solutions to real problems brought to them by businesses. This new programme has been designed in collaboration with leaders in the media and advertising industry from around the world, many of whom will help deliver it.

“It’s all about industry-ready people”, says Hyper Island’s David McCall, Director of the new programme, which opened for applications today. “Media and communication technologies have converged, and the industry needs talent that is unbound by disciplines, instinctively collaborative and able to thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Our first UK programme has been designed with industry, with exactly this kind of talent in mind.”

McCall adds, “At Hyper Island there are no teachers and no tests. No homework gets set, and no textbooks are needed. Instead, participants will be immersed in project-based activity, in an environment that mirrors the workplace. They will work side-by-side with leading professionals, responding to real briefs set by real clients. At the end of the programme each of the participants will get a rare opportunity to be part of life in one of the world’s most exciting media brands, through a specially designed internship. They will leave us properly prepared for a career in the industry.”

Hyper Island’s decision to deliver the programme in the Northwest is no accident. Manchester is home to Europe’s second largest media hub and a major centre for television, film, animation and games development, and 320,000 people are employed in 31,000 creative businesses across the region. “Manchester is an international city”, adds McCall. “It is two hours from London by train, and has an airport with links to 200 destinations around the world. The economy in the region is thriving. If you join Hyper Island here you will have options to stay after you graduate.”

Angie Robinson, Chief Executive at MIDAS said: “Hyper Island’s decision to run this ground breaking training programme in Manchester is fantastic news for both the region’s digital media sector and our local talent pool. Greater Manchester already has a strong reputation as a hot-bed for creative output and the arrival of Hyper Island will only serve to boost this. We are thrilled to support their arrival in Manchester and look forward to seeing the progression of the scheme.”

The programme is being delivered in partnership with the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), which is funding the one year pilot to examine whether the model can deliver similarly impressive results for UK students.

Jon Kingsbury of NESTA says: “The digital media sector offers exciting growth potential for the UK if we can develop people with the right skills. NESTA is excited to be partnering with Hyper Island to understand how an industry-led approach to education might be a more effective way of giving talented young people a pathway into the digital media sector.”

There are 25 places available on the pilot for exceptionally talented young people, aged between 18 and 25 years old, who want an alternative start to their career in interactive media, communications and advertising.

Interactive Media Design and Management is the pilot for a new UK qualification that (subject to validation) will be accredited by Teesside University, a partner in the Skillset Academy Network. In 2010 Teesside was voted university of the year.

The deadline for applications is 01 April 2011. For successful applicants to the programme, school will start on 23 May 2011.

For more information visit http://programs.hyperisland.se

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