It was cause for celebration at the Sumo Sheffield studio this week as the Sumo Digital Academy ‘Class of 2023’ came together for a special graduation event.

The cohort of nine talented game programmers, who joined the Academy in 2022, have been the first in the country to graduate on a programming apprenticeship recognised by the UK Government – and have all secured a full-time role in the games industry.

Sumo Digital managing director Gary Dunn and Sumo Group’s director of excellence and integration Darren Mills attended the graduation to give the cohort their bespoke medals for completing their apprenticeships.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our Class of 2023 graduates from the Sumo Digital Academy,” said Gary. “They’ve all worked so hard over the past 18 months and their efforts have been rewarded with full-time roles among our family of Sumo Digital studios.

“This goes to show the importance of why we created the Academy in the first place, to offer people the chance to break into the games industry. Best of luck to our cohort graduates, and I look forward to seeing their talents grow even further in their careers.”

The Sumo Digital Academy was founded in 2020 to serve as a talent development programme creating new pathways into the games industry – opening the door to graduates looking to make their first career move, those skilled in different industries and those seeking a career change.

The recent graduates, as well as the latest cohort were given the opportunity to develop and launch Zool: Redimensioned - a reimagining of the classic Amiga action platformer from 1992 – which this week has been nominated for two accolades at the upcoming TIGA Games Industry Awards.

"I'm very proud of our amazing apprentices,” said Dr Jacob Habgood, director of education partnerships. “It's not easy being the first to face the unknowns of a brand-new qualification, but this group's calm determination has always brought them through. It's been a pleasure working with such a focused and hard-working cohort."