Sunderland College has announced a unique new partnership with the British Esports Association (BEA), which will develop future talent and support Sunderland in becoming a global hub for esports.

The college and the national association will combine their expertise to offer young people and adults the opportunity to gain the skills, knowledge and qualifications to prepare for a career in the rapidly growing esports industry and be at the forefront of new developments.

The esports courses will be delivered at a new National Esports Performance Campus (NEPC) in Sunderland from this September.

The multi-million-pound arena, opposite the Stadium of Light at Riverside Sunderland, will become a centre of excellence, providing state-of-the-art facilities, training and investment that will support Sunderland, the North East and the UK to become globally-recognised and capable of attracting and developing the world’s best esports talent.

Students will have access to dedicated esports classrooms, performance rooms, streaming booths and an arena space.

The new campus will also play host to regular esports events, community tournaments and summer camps and will also be used as a training base for the GB esports team.

Toni Rhodes, Principal of Sunderland College, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the British Esports Association to ensure our students gain the best experience to prepare them for a career in this dynamic, growth sector.

“I’m looking forward to developing our relationship with BEA in the long-term and creating more opportunities for Sunderland and our students.

“Together we will be at the forefront of new developments and lead the way in creating pathways for young people to progress to an exciting career in esports and other digital industries.”

The British Esports Association is a not-for-profit national body, established in 2016, to promote esports in the UK.

CEO Chester King said: “The British Esports Association has long held education as one of the key pillars of a successful esports ecosystem.

“From our esports BTEC to our Student Champs our relationship within further education has been incredibly rewarding.

“We recognise the value that this partnership not only brings to Sunderland and the wider community across the North East, but to the UK esports community.

“Sunderland students will get to rub shoulders with esports teams and professionals, along with industry leaders, which I am certain will provide them with a wonderful day to day experience.

“We look forward to welcoming the college and their students to the campus in September.”

Esports is a rapidly growing industry and for the first time this year, the upcoming Commonwealth Games will feature a pilot esports competition.

The Commonwealth Esports Championships will take place at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham in August 2022.

A global esports conference supported by the British Esports Association will also take place prior to the Commonwealth Games.

Sunderland College is recruiting now for September 2022 entry and offering a 1-year Level 2 Esports Diploma and a 2-year Level 3 Esports Extended Diploma.