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Double BAFTA nominee helps former student get back in the game

News overview

An ex-teacher and double BAFTA nominee has teamed up with a former student to help him develop a new game.

Sam Read-Graves, 33, from Hartest, worked at Suffolk New College in 2017.

Last year, the games designer was given a £100,000 grant from an organisation called the UK Games Fund.

As part of this, he had the funds to employ two graduates to help him develop a new project.

And the Suffolk resident didn’t think twice about employing a former student (of Suffolk New College) after giving an opportunity to Julia Broadway when he gave her a full time role with his company ReadGraves Ltd.

Julia and Sam

Julia, 29, from Ipswich is the former student who is grateful for the opportunity after being let go from a former games design employer during an online meeting with colleagues.

Julia said: “I originally did A levels but they didn’t suit me. I then had a break before going back into education at the age of 20 when I started at Suffolk New College. At high school, college was never given as an option and coming to college helped get my life back on track.

“After college I went to Norwich University of the Arts and after gaining a 2:1, I had jobs in retail and at a cinema before gaining an internship with a large games company.

“Unfortunately, I was let go by them during a video call with colleagues and it really knocked my confidence. Then Sam asked me if I knew if anyone who needed a job in games design last year and I ended up getting the role myself.”

“I was so happy to be back in the game (so to speak). Working with Sam’s company is like working for a family. We are a team of six and we are currently developing a project called Task Time.”

Sam employs five other people – many who have developed their skills at college – as they develop Task Time.

Not only did Sam receive a grant (from the UK Games Fund) he has been signed by a London company called Wired to help him and his team develop the game.

Sam – who was nominated for two BAFTAs for games he created called Spleny and Gang Beasts – is hoping he might win a BAFTA this time with something that he describes as being a physics based party game that is ‘somewhere between Taskmaster and Mario Party’.

He said: “I really hope this might be a BAFTA winning game. We are due to launch it next year. I came back to Suffolk New College as I was lucky enough to see first hand the talent coming through when I taught there.

“Our goal with this game is to make enough money to be able to make more games. Hopefully this will be BIG.”

In terms of advice for other young people, Sam said: “Games design is very competitive so it has to mean everything to you and it has to be a passion. You’ve got to really want it if you want to be a success in the industry.”

And he also had a word of thanks to the UK Games Fund for their support. He said: “The UK Games Fund is a brilliant initiative – and if it wasn’t for their support I wouldn’t have started my company or been able to hire two young graduates – it really is amazing and I can’t thank them enough.”

Head of marketing at the college, Craig Shimmon said: “It’s great to hear former staff members and students going off into industry and making an impact. Good luck to Sam and Julia. If they win that BAFTA for their new game, I hope they give us a shout out”

Posted 14 June 2024