Julie Piedrabuena, Head of People & Culture at our Corporate Ambassador ustwo games discusses the studio’s approach to internships…

Attracting talent to the games industry from diverse backgrounds remains a challenge, despite the great work that is being made by organisations like Women in Games, Into Games, BAME in Games and more.

So last year, after consulting with staff and some expert third parties, we decided to introduce an internship programme, specifically designed to attract individuals from under-represented groups.

We created two nine-month placements in design and programming that, importantly, came with full pay and benefits, removing what we believe to be a significant barrier for aspiring game developers from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

This not only immediately opens doors for individuals who might not be able to afford unpaid internships, but also demonstrates a commitment to building a workforce that reflects the communities our games are made for – something that resonates particularly strongly within our own teams.

So, as we open up applications for our 2024 internships cohort, what have we learned as a studio from Year One so far, and what value do programmes like this bring to the industry as a whole?

Firstly, paid internships inject fresh perspectives and ideas. Diverse teams are demonstrably more creative and innovative, bringing a wider range of experiences and viewpoints to the table. This, in turn, will lead to the creation of richer, more engaging games that resonate with a broader audience.

Secondly, paid internships create a pathway for social mobility within the games industry. By offering valuable experience and mentorship, these programmes empower individuals who may not always be presented with such opportunities to gain a foothold and, hopefully, build a successful career.

This all contributes to a more inclusive environment where talent dictates success.

We hope the experience both our interns and our teams have gained during the first year of our programme, alongside similar initiatives by other studios, paves the way for a more equitable future for the games industry.

However, there’s still work to be done. Expanding the number of paid internship opportunities and actively seeking out applications from diverse communities are crucial steps. Partnering with educational institutions and mentorship programmes such as Into Games are just two ways we can widen the talent pool.

We are also preparing to start making education and career advice content available via our own channel as part of the ‘ustwo games Voices’ series, sharing the experiences of our teams and those of the 2023 interns to help inspire the next generation of as-yet-undiscovered talent.

Ultimately, by investing in paid internship programmes, the games industry can not only help to secure its future with a pipeline of talented and passionate individuals, but also create a richer tapestry of experiences for players from all walks of life.

If you would like to share details of our 2024 paid internships programme within your own network, you can find all the details on our careers page here – https://ustwogames.co.uk/internships/.

As the industry continues to evolve, fostering diversity and inclusivity will be key to creating games that truly resonate with a global audience.