Epic Global, the Irish agency behind Manchester United player Jesse Lingard’s recent move into esports, has partnered with disability charity Rehab Group and its education and training division, National Learning Network, to launch an educational programme called “Game On”.

The programme is designed to expand the skill sets of people with disabilities in esports and gaming.

The new programme will offer modules on ‘Introduction to esports and gaming’ as well as injecting esports themes into existing STEM programmes offered by Rehab Group and National Learning Network.

As part of the programme, Epic Global and Rehab Group have also partnered with tennis-based VR esports company VR Motion Learning, to support students with a disability to increase their physical movement through the power of virtual gameplay.

With the current employment rate of working-age people with disabilities at only 36%, according to a recent report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), “Game On” ultimately aims to open up job opportunities for students with disabilities enabling them to tap into the rapidly growing esports industry in Ireland.

The programme will be rolled out across Rehab Group’s 50 National Learning Network (NLN) centres for 500+ students.

On top of the core curriculum, students will also have the opportunity to play tennis-based esports with technology provided by VR Motion Learning. This will enable them to compete in the inter centre esports tournament, the ‘Tennis Open’ where a student with a disability in Dublin can play virtual tennis with a student in Kerry, for example, all facilitated through VR and AR.

“We’re delighted to work with Rehab Group and National Learning Network to launch one of Europe’s first esports and gaming skills development programmes designed for people with disabilities,” said Epic Global Director Sinead Hosey.

“With esports often perceived to be an exclusive pastime for a niche group of people, it’s important for us to be involved in bringing forward initiatives such as ‘Game On’ to a wider community, in order to change this perception and ensure inclusion and diversity is brought to the forefront of the industry.”

“By developing this programme, we want to harness the skills, learning and talent of the Irish disabled youth population today and showcase to them the exciting advances in gaming technology that help people with a disability develop new skills, increase physical movement and open up job opportunities in esports and gaming.”

“Throughout our colleges nationally we have a large community of budding gamers who will benefit from the ‘Game on’ initiative,” added Lucianne Bird, Director of Learning, Rehab Group.

“Not only will it help our students develop skills in the area of STEM and increase mobility, but with a growing esports industry, real job opportunities are also possible. While esports is still a fledgling industry in Ireland, it’s evolving at a rapid pace, and we feel excited that the development of gaming and esports skills through “Game On” could open up job opportunities in esports for our students. ”


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