Esports is a rapidly growing industry, and it’s not hard to see why. With the rise of online gaming and the increasing popularity of competitive gaming, more and more people are turning to Esports to enjoy their favourite games and compete against others.
Queen Mary’s College (QMC) is the largest provider of Esports post-16 education in the UK and a proud home of the national British Esports Association champions – the QM Samurai. With its extensive Esports program, QMC is at the forefront of Esports education and has earned recognition working with leading names in the industry, such as Guild, Gameplan, and Fnatic.
Leading the Charge – QMC’s James Fraser-Murison and the Creation of the First Esports BTEC
James Fraser-Murison, Director of Esports at Queen Mary’s College (QMC), has been at the forefront of the growing field of Esports education. In late 2019, he was asked to contribute his expertise and help write units for the very first Esports BTEC.
As the Director of Esports, James has been instrumental in developing and implementing QMC’s Esports program. He has helped the college earn recognition and partnerships with leading names in the industry, such as Guild, Gameplan, and Fnatic. With his involvement in creating the first Esports BTEC, James continues to push the boundaries and set the standards for Esports education.
We asked the legend himself to tell us more about what it was like writing the first-ever Esports BTEC. Here’s what he has to say!
“By the far most exciting thing I’ve ever done. To be part of a subject that is engaging, relevant to future careers, contemporary and fun! We wrote a course with a variety of Esports expertise from the industry, people with a passion for esports and those from traditional educational backgrounds such as business and sport. All with the idea of creating a world’s first, unique and essential qualification that prepares students for one of the biggest industries out there.”
Many people have questions about the future of the industry and the role of post-secondary education in it. To help provide some answers, we sat down with James from Queen Mary’s College – here’s what he had to say:
Q -How many students are there at QMC, and how many have gone on to play professionally?
A- We are a college of 2000 students, with at least 90% being involved in gaming and/or esports in some form or another. Our first cohort of esports students graduated in the summer, so watch this space for their achievements!
Q – Do you compete in Esports events, and what are your plans for 2023?
A- We have competitive teams that compete every Wednesday in Valorant, Rocket League, League of Legends, and Overwatch 2. We also host scrims in Fortnite, FIFA, Minecraft, and Apex at times. We hope to be able to defend our national title in July and increase the number of students who take up the BTEC and want to compete for the college.
Stay up to date with everything QMC:
Q – How many people are at QMC, and what are their roles?
A – We have seven esports teachers, two esports technicians and hundreds of students!
Q – What does it take to be a professional Esports player?
A – Practice! Having a goal and being prepared show dedication and professionalism from start to finish. Just like traditional sport, it’s about marginal gains and robustness. Drink lots of water and sleep properly too!
Q – What was your most significant highlight of the previous couple of years?
A – Easy! Launching the course and then watching us become national champions on stage in July! 😊
Q – In short, why do you think that Esports is an important educational subject?
A – It focuses on the business element of the industry and shows how many different careers can come from studying on the course and working hard.
Q – Do you find that some students have a natural talent for gaming the same way as any other subject?
A – Yes, absolutely! It often stems from a passion and initial interest in the game and sticking with it…and, of course, practice!
Q – Where do you see Esports in 5 years?
A – A more significant focus on online gaming and more orgs fighting for smaller online spaces and money grabs!
Q – Do you think Nutrition plays a role in esports, and why?
A – Oh yes! If you want to take the profession seriously, you must take yourself seriously, and that’s about eating (and eating) sensibly. Nutrition is critical to that.
Q – How do you think Beyond stacks up against other energy drink alternatives, and why?
A – It’s positioned as a healthier alternative with its natural ingredients, zero sugar content, and allows you to monitor your caffeine intake!
QMC’s new partnership with Beyond NRG.
Beyond will serve as the official drinks sponsor for QMC’s Esports program, providing hydration and nourishment for the college’s competitive players.
James Fraser-Murison – “It’s the first of its kind and allows our unique relationship to include work experience opportunities for our students to understand all of the various roles that can be a part of the Esports industry.”
This partnership is a testament to the growth and recognition of Esports as a legitimate form of competitive sport, as well as QMC’s commitment to providing its students with the best possible resources and support. With Beyond NRG on board, QMC’s Esports program will have access to top-quality drinks that promote using a healthier alternative to conventional energy drinks, ensuring that its players are in top form.
We believe a partnership between QMC and Beyond NRG is a positive step forward for Esports education and the future of competitive gaming.
Are you interested in enrolling for a BTEC in Esports?
You can apply through the QMC website and via taster days hosted by local schools in the summer. The course includes elements on the business side of the Esports industry, mental and physical well-being, running your own LAN event and how best to use and engage with social media for your own organisation.