Ubisoft has announced a scholarship to help Black students in the UK get into the games industry. The Ubisoft Scholarship for Black UK Students will support two people studying at Newcastle University through 2021.
The scholarship has been inspired by the work of UK musician Stormzy - who Ubisoft worked with on Watch Dogs Legion - and his Merky Foundation, founded to help tackle racial equality. Two successful students who apply for the scholarship will each receive a yearly bursary of £11,250, which will help pay for their fees and living expenses at Newcastle University's School of Computing.
On top of the financial assistance, the two students will also receive ongoing mentorship from Ubisoft developers, which will end in a three-month paid internship at Ubisoft Reflections, the company's studio in Newcastle.
This isn't the first time that Ubisoft has helped out with educational programmes in the UK - it's previously worked alongside the teams behind Digital Schoolhouse and BAFTA's Young Game Designers scheme - but this is a particularly direct attempt to help diversify the game development industry in the country. According to a recent census by the Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (UKIE), only 10% of those working in games in the UK are from Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic backgrounds. In a Ubisoft press release, Professor John Fitzgerald, head of Newcastle University's School of Computing said that that "lack of diverse workforces" represented a "challenge" for those working in the science and technology sectors - one that this scholarship will hopefully help to overcome.
If you'd like to contribute to or learn more about the Black Lives Matter movement, here's a list of resources that might help.