Former Games Production students takes career to the next level
Alistair Bonham, 23, is a Level 3 Games Production student at Coventry College. After a few years away from college, working and gaining real-world experience has given him the motivation, and perspective, to take his career up a level.
It’s been a struggle for me to figure out exactly what I want to do with my career.
I left school in 2016 and knew I wanted to do something creative. I loved films and games, so went to study creative media at Coventry College.
I enjoyed the course, and continued my studies in film and photography in Birmingham, but it wasn’t quite for me. At that point, I was anxious to start earning money and found it tricky to find work in the field I wanted to join, so I went to work with my Dad for a couple of years at an aluminium foundry.
It was good for a while, and proved to be useful in terms of getting used to the world of work. I then went to work at a heating installation company after a friend put me onto it. It was a decent job, but not something I was passionate about.
While I was working there, I met someone who was who was very creative and suggested that I try 3D modelling. They encouraged me to start doing my own creations in my own time. It became a massive hobby for me in spring 2022 – I could spend hours and hours working on designs.
Work slowed up that summer, and eventually I had to find something new. Given time to think, I decided that I could either try another random job and hope for the best, or go back to college and try and get into something that inspired me.
I kept thinking, if I’m doing something for the rest of my life, it might as well be something I’m passionate about. After all, it’s better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than half way up one you don’t.
Given the industry and infrastructure in the region, the games sector seemed like a real possibility moving forward – and I’m so glad to be giving it a go.
As well as giving me the qualifications to get onto the career ladder, my course has given me a taste of how the industry works, which has been really useful. And I spend most of my time doing things that really interest me.
I even had the chance to take part in World Skills, which was a different kind of challenge to coursework and other projects as there was a lot more time pressure. It helped me realise the kind of standards I need to reach to get ahead in the industry.
The course itself has been great. I think it has a great structure and covers a huge amount, but the support is still there if you need it.
As someone who is dyslexic, sometimes I need more time or support with getting my ideas down on paper, and tutors have always found a way to help me achieve that.
I’m progressing to the HNC Level 4 Games Production course in September having picked up a distinction* in my Level 3 course. After that I’ll be trying to get my first job in the games industry.
I’m really happy with the route I am now, and I’m really looking forward to next year, and the opportunities it will bring at the end of it.Attending as an older student, I think I have had a better idea of what I wanted to get out of college the second time around, and a clearer picture in terms of where I want to get to – not just a specific course, company, or job, but an industry and a lifestyle that will keep me happy for years to come.
I’d encourage anyone else who has a passion or an interest in something to just pursue it as much as you can – whether it means studying or simply doing it as a hobby, putting the time in will help you get where you want to be eventually, even if you don’t know where exactly it is yet.