Go2Games on supporting the local youth culture

Go2Games, a shortlisted entrant for this year’s new Community Focus PCR Award has been making huge strides in supporting its local young people. In 2021 the company scooped Gaming Retailer of the year under the Retailer category. Known as a high quality retailer of computer games, consoles and accessories G2G are committed to providing the latest and greatest titles, as well as a wide-ranging archive of fully refurbished releases. We spoke with Executive Director at Go2Games, Josh Mansell to find out more about its involvement in Levels Learning.

Can you tell us more about the big community project launch that is a separate entity to Go2Games?
Levels Learning is a physical in-person and virtual learning environment that through partnerships with training providers, colleges, universities and the Department for Work and Pensions, runs accredited courses and programmes to change the prospects of local people for local jobs. The Elevation Programme provides learners with a qualification, work experience, employer reference, guaranteed interview and improving job success. This is the flagship programme and heading into the end of 2022 will be joined with an array of other courses, programmes and masterclasses.

Can you tell us how this brings together education, employability, community, gaming & other opportunities?
The Elevation Programme is a two-week course, for 16–24 year old’s. It is an enterprise workshop that runs over four days, learners learn about enterprise and entrepreneurship skills that are transferable to any career. With a Dragon’s Den style team project at the end around any industry, pitched to local entrepreneurs, providing learners with all the skills required to excel in any career. This all takes place at the inspiring university campus, but we can have pop-ups as well, followed with work experience with our strategic partners Go2Games getting hands on with the many roles available within the videogames ecommerce industry. This provides a full circular learning and employability experience that pushes sustainability within the job market and upskills local people for local jobs. The programme is designed to boost confidence, spark passion, improve relationships, ignite creativity, and build positive work habits.

Why is working with the local community so important to Go2Games and what does it mean to the company?
Go2Games has always had community at the heart of everything we do, and we have always been involved with talks at schools, school enrichment days and providing opportunities to anyone that needs it, as gaming is such an engaging subject matter. We gathered digital devices within Croydon during lockdowns, with our #keepcroydonconnected campaign, to provide local schools with devices that would allow continued communication and work to be completed by students.

We support and sponsor youth clubs and charities with financial donations and gaming equipment. Therefore, the launch of Levels Learning at the end of last year was the right move to make, off the back of 10 years of successful multi-award-winning community work with Go2Games. Being employers in the area, having apprentices come through and having Kickstarter’s working for us last year, we could see what areas of improvement were required for those looking for work, which is what inspired our educational package creation of the Elevation Programme.

I understand the company is attempting to create a circular employability economy that upskills local unemployed people, care leavers, young offenders, and people with learning difficulties for local jobs. Can you tell us more about this?
The Elevation Programme acts as an access course for anyone that comes through it and with our partnerships with businesses, training providers, colleges, and universities we can provide learners with the skills, experiences, mindset, and opportunities to be able to be ready to secure that job or career. Levels Learnings are working with youth hubs in Croydon and the surrounding area, the DWP, charities and schools which means we will be running numerous cohorts from September onwards for:

  • Learners not engaged in education, employment, or training (NEETs)
  • Learners at risk of being NEET
  • Young offenders
  • People with learning difficulties
  • KS3 & 4 at risk of exclusion or been excluded
  • Learners in supported housing
  • Young people that struggle accessing conventional education

No matter the learner’s previous journey to the point of starting the Elevation Programme, all can achieve, the programme’s aim is to inspire and motivate all young people so it is beneficial that this will all take place in the awe-inspiring LSBU Croydon campus in their high-tech classrooms with access to the latest technology.

The University’s auditorium will be used for the enterprise project pitches to the panel, creating a truly aspirational and memorable moment that will inspire confidence at future interviews and networking events. We believe that the Elevation Programme is for everyone and to make sure it is accessible to anyone who wants to take part each learner will receive a free daily lunch and assistance with travel costs if required.

Later this year we will be running The Elevation Programme with Crystal Palace Football Club as part of their exit programme, for Academy players that don’t make it to the first team, providing softs skills, transferable enterprise, and entrepreneurial skills for their next steps, whether used within or outside of football. A new concept for football clubs we are very excited about being a part of especially knowing how stressful and worrying this period can be for a young person who potentially has only known football, especially for mental health and wellbeing. We are already working with their charity, Palace for Life, where numerous learners have really taken the opportunity to stand out and step up.

How does Go2Games look to create a workplace of diversity, equality, and inclusion?
Go2Games has been running for 10 years and at its core has a culture based on “All Can Achieve,” which was the motto of the secondary school both Craig (Director) and I attended. This has taken us on a journey of interacting with our locality and national projects to utilise gaming as an engaging educational tool. We are disability confident and have regularly spoken at events encouraging other businesses to understand that making reasonable adjustments in the workplace to accommodate staff from all backgrounds, rather than simply focusing on financial growth, is not only important but extremely rewarding for all sides, when considering a strong and diverse work culture.

We have consistently interacted with schools and colleges to provide learning outcomes for students, apprentices and interns, utilising gaming as an engaging subject matter and as a foundation for learning important life skills that are not on the everyday curriculum. We feel blessed to develop long-term partnerships with local youth clubs and foundations, to assist in improving the lives and prospects of others so allowing us to share equally the benefits of our community.

What other projects is Go2Games working on?
Go2 as a concept has always been much more than the sum of its parts and has some interesting and innovative partnerships and projects being worked on for 2023. The gaming industry is not the easiest place to exist due to the sheer pace at which it continues to develop, we want to continue to be a part of it in a multifaceted way and we are extremely excited to present some of the larger scale projects coming in the next year. We would also like to take the opportunity to invite anyone that would like to be involved to get in contact.

The world is crying out for innovation that is not simply based on the mindset of exponential growth, so any opportunities to collaborate would be fantastic. We have survived this long, despite the volatility of the industry to have the credential, proven track record and together we have the potential to do so much more!

 What’s hot in the world of gaming now?
Go2Games of course…

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