Although Parliament is in full session I was pleased last week to hold meetings in Horsham which a wide area including new support services being provided to families going through difficult times; new ways of working in the NHS which are delivering better patient outcomes; two school visits and a visit to one of Horsham’s less well known but largest employers.
It was a particular pleasure to be present at the opening of Greenway’s brand new Year 4 Classroom block. It’s a great improvement about which the Year 4s are clearly very excited! It also frees up space which means the whole school will benefit.
The business is “Creative Assembly” with over 400 employees in the heart of Horsham it is a classic example of how our economy has evolved. Based in the town for 30 years the video games developer plays a leading role in what is now a $108 billion global industry, with 2 billion players worldwide. With the average age of players now 35 these games are firmly part of the mainstream leisure industry. For those in the know Creative Assembly’s “Total War” franchise is the market leader for games of strategy, played by millions worldwide.
Creative Assembly is exactly the kind of business in which the UK can maintain a competitive edge in a highly competitive world. To maintain its artistic and technological expertise the company is keenly aware of its sector’s need to access to the best talent available in the world. It is also doing its utmost to encourage home-grown talent: students from Millais and other local schools have been introduced via the business to the practical skills the sector uses and during my visit I was pleased to meet students from The Weald School, working alongside Creative Assembly’s BAFTA winning audio team. For many this is a golden opportunity to have an insight into a hugely absorbing and successful industry. For the country it is an example of how focussed expertise in a high value sector can create an entire industry which is hugely valuable, environmentally sustainable and makes a very positive contribution to our exports while putting barely a truck on the road!
Picture caption: At Creative Assembly in Horsham with students from the Weald who were being recorded providing the backing track to computer games.