Tuesday, 30 November, 2010 - Media Design School and Wellington-based game development studio Sidhe have announced the 2011 Sidhe Elite financial scholarship.

The Sidhe Elite Scholarship is aimed at young aspiring game developers who might not have previously considered tertiary education for financial reasons. The scholarship selection period is open now until January 28, 2011. Students applying for a one-year entry-level diploma in game art or programming with a view to a career in the gaming industry can apply for the Sidhe Elite Scholarship. Sidhe will cover 50% of the course fees for the entry-level diploma.

If the student successfully completes their one-year diploma and is accepted into the two-year Graduate Diploma of Game Development, Media Design School will then cover 50% of their course fees for the first year of that programme.

Sidhe Managing Director Mario Wynands says that Media Design School has been a long-term partner for the Sidhe Elite Scholarship because of its reputation for excellence amongst game developers.

"Gaming is a very specialised and highly-skilled field, and the sort of people who apply to do qualifications in game art or programming have to be smart, creative and able think outside the box. We've hired many graduates from Media Design School over the years who have gone on to become valuable members of staff at Sidhe.

"The right candidate for this scholarship, to me, would be a young person who really wants to break into the games industry but needs to gain the right skills to get a foot in the door."

Interactive Gaming senior tutor Steffan Hooper says that students doing any gaming qualification will definitely have to be focused and goal-orientated.

"Media Design School is the only school in New Zealand that offers NZQA-approved qualifications in game development. Anyone wanting to get into any of our courses will have to go through an entry interview, and there's a Maths test for people who want to be programmers.

"We work them hard while they're here, but at the end of the day, we believe that the skills, knowledge and work ethic that they gain at Media Design School is what makes our graduates so well-respected in the industry," says Hooper.

Media Design School general manager Frances Valintine says that the scholarship is spread out over two years to give the recipient an incentive to continue to do well.

"The Sidhe Elite Scholarship means that students will essentially get around $4500 off their course fees for the first two years. If they do an entry-level games course and then the Graduate Diploma in Game Development, that's a total of three years - so they are essentially getting a third of their course fees covered overall. I think if you look at it that way, it can certainly be the tipping point for someone with the talent, but not the financial means, to get into New Zealand's top game development school," says Valintine.

Students who would like to apply for the scholarship should visit Media Design School's website and contact the Admissions team before Friday, January 28, 2011. To apply, email: admissions@mediadesignschool.com.