Open door day at a games company The games industry in the Netherlands frequently debates how to better align the requirements of game-education and students to those of game companies. There’s enough game-education in the Netherlands and studies draw hundreds of new students every year. Unfortunately, there are not enough jobs for all of those students within the game-sector in the Netherlands. So, companies have a lot of options in choosing the best candidate for their open positions. Moreover, that’s not just the case for jobs, but also for internships. Internships At Grendel Games we receive requests from students looking for an internship throughout the year. Those requests can be divided into roughly two groups: requests from students in vocational and higher education looking for an internship of 10 to 20 weeks, and requests from students in secondary education, looking for a shadowing apprenticeship that lasts for a couple of days. We offer a number of internships per semester. We think it’s important to contribute to the quality of education, and we want to offer students who really want to break through in the industry the opportunity to make their chance of success as big as possible. We primarily select these students on how well they will fit into our team, and on the quality of their portfolio material. Relevance for game companies We often see portfolios that really are sub-standard for students looking for an internship. A possible cause for this might be a lack of skills, but it might also be caused by improper guidance in the compilation of the portfolio (and during the creation of the work that’s in it). Sometimes students don’t yet understand exactly what companies would like to see in a portfolio. This lack of relevance causes students to be rejected by companies in the earliest stage of an application, even before a meeting has taken place. The situation for students in secondary education is even more arduous. They often don’t possess any relevant experience yet, and they don’t have a portfolio. And because game development is such a hands-on practice it’s not very useful to allow these students a shadowing-only apprenticeship if they can’t do some work for themselves. Watching over someone’s shoulder doesn’t really yield any results in our line of work; the real learning is in the doing. Here expectations don’t seem to match as well and that’s something we’d like to change. We want to offer students the possibility to better prepare for finding an internship and we want to invite students in secondary education to still have a look around in our company, in a way that works for both parties. So, in 2016 we started organizing a twice-yearly open door day. Open door days Our open door days are meant as an informal event where everybody who has always wanted to have a look inside of a game company, is invited. Visitors are lured with drinks and a small bite to eat, and the mandatory promise that there will be a wealth of games to try out. A virtual reality setup is also available to try out and last time there was even a demonstration of our new motion capture studio. During the open door days we also want to give attention to some more serious subjects. Firstly to student portfolios: students (and, by the way, non-students as well) can register beforehand to have a consultation with one of our colleagues to show off their portfolio and receive some feedback on it. That opportunity is available for both artists as well as programmers and game designers. We talk about the goals of the portfolio with the student and give feedback about how we view the material. Together we discuss possible ways to improve the quality of the material and to align the portfolio with the desired internship or job. This way, an official interview doesn’t have to be the first time a student shows of his or her portfolio to professionals in the sector. Shadowing apprenticeships For students in secondary education the open door days are a nice opportunity to look around inside a game company. All of our colleagues are present to have a chat with about what it is that they do all day. Each department also has several prepared activities that you can join without any prior knowledge, so you can get some idea of what our work entails. This centralized way of offering shadowing- and feedback opportunities allows us to make time for much more people. We can talk to more visitors, we can give better feedback on portfolios and we can discuss things like career opportunities with students. We also talk to parents about the chances of getting a job in our industry and with up-and-coming students about the difference between playing games and building them. From our point of view these open door days are very successful and we feel they allow us to close the gap between the expectations of game-education and of our industry a little bit. Would you also like to visit one of our open door days? Subscribe to our newsletter below so we can inform you of our open door days well in advance.