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4 December 2020



A new world class creative/technology education faculty and esports arena is being proposed for the West of England Institute for Specialist Education (WISE) Further Education College site, Bristol.

NLA Europe Limited (NLAE) have been invited by South Gloucestershire & Stroud College (SGS) to bring forward proposals for a new creative technology and esports education centre of excellence for Bristol and the South West.

NLAE will be submitting detailed proposals for the enhancement of the existing WISE campus, which could include a new education faculty of creative technology and esports education and student accommodation. This new faculty will work closely with the existing on-site Bristol Institute of Performing Arts, Bristol Academy of Media and the Bristol School of Art, and the other SGS Campuses.

The new faculty would include a circa 1,400-1,500 seat world class esports arena with a global digital streaming capability.  This technology will be designed and delivered by NLAE’s partnership with the global cloud-based education and digital technology provider, Amazon Web Services & Education (AWS).

AWS will also be designing and participating in the delivery of the cloud-based education content to be provided by the new faculty.  The technology provided by AWS will also allow SGS to deliver programmes remotely to classes at their other campus locations.

Vital Energi, one of the UK’s largest independent renewable energy companies, will work with NLAE and SGS to deliver a zero-carbon energy solution for the new development.

NLAE recently announced their first multi-million-pound 4,000 seat esports arena and campus for the City of Dundee, in partnership with Abertay University and Dundee & Angus College, Amazon Web Services & Education and Dundee City Council.

The Bristol project would be the next major education technology/esports project in NLAE’s expanding UK portfolio, and has a target opening date of September 2023.

Bristol is already recognised as one of the UK’s leading cities for innovation and technology.  NLAE’s proposed state of the art creative technology faculty and esports event arena will be a game changer for the City and surrounding region. The WISE Campus is already planning to open a new £7m Specialist Technology and Science building funded by the West of England Combined Authority in March 2021. This was the catalyst for NLAE’s interest in the site and it will provide much needed additional capacity in the area as the demand rises for digital technology.

UKIE, the industry body for games and interactive entertainment in the UK, recently reported that esports currently contributes £111m to the British economy.  Global esports revenues were US$1.1bn in 2020, with a global audience of 495 million.  Global revenues are projected to reach US$1.5bn by 2023.  The new development in Bristol represents a significant growth opportunity for local and regional employment and economic growth in the digital industries of the future.

Kevin Hamblin, CEO of the SGS Group, comments, “This announcement is the next step towards a development that would put creative technology and esports at the heart of Region.  We have always prided ourselves on giving students education and training that meets the demands of the changing jobs market and as such, this investment with two leading organisations would put us at the forefront of one of the world’s fastest growing industries. This private sector investment in the skills education of the West of England is a testament to the faith in the future of the creative sector in the south west as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Chris Turner, CEO of NLAE comments, “By working with SGS to deliver world class, future proof digital education and esports training and events facilities, the proposed WISE faculty development will put Bristol and the South West firmly on the global esports map.  Having been born in South Gloucestershire and graduated from Bristol University, it is a privilege for me to be leading a project that will deliver economic and employment opportunities for socially disadvantaged school leavers and a major reskilling opportunity for Bristol’s existing workforce in the digital industries of the future.”



NLAE Press Contact: +44 7872 169 072

Link to file with logos and images here including internal esports arena image 

About Northern Lights Arena Europe

NLAE’s mission is to leverage creative technologies, education and entertainment as tools for urban development and regeneration. NLAE is reimagining the future of venues as technology enabled multi-purpose hubs to improve the lives of the local community and beyond. Our multi-purpose venues create an ecosystem, linking with Further Education and Higher Education pathways, creating long-term sustainable employment opportunities.

 About SGS College

Formed in 2012 by the merger of Filton and Stroud Colleges, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) was rated by Ofsted as ‘Good with outstanding features’ in 2014 and again in 2017.

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) is a general further education (GFE) college in the South West region, offering a broad range of full and part-time higher and further education provision to over 8 thousand learners. (4000 full-time 16-19 year olds, 2000 apprentices and nearly 6000 adult learners)

Apprenticeship provision at the College has seen a significant growth in numbers over recent years and facilitates intermediate, advanced and higher level learning opportunities across the majority of subject areas. The College works with major employers on apprenticeships include Coutts Bank, NHS, Dyson, Boeing and Raytheon as well as many local authorities.  The College provides one of the largest apprenticeship provisions in the south-west.

The College offers a range of Higher Education Courses delivered in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire alongside Pearson HND/C and Higher Apprenticeship programmes and over 600 learners study at levels 4, 5 and 6

The College’s provision spans all 15 subject sector areas (SSAs) and includes programmes for pre-16 year old learners, adults and learners with learning difficulties or disabilities and for those with education, health care plans.

The College works in partnership with numerous organisations including the Education and Skills Funding Agency, the newly formed West of England Combined Authority, GFirst and West of England Local Enterprise Partnerships, South Gloucestershire Council, Stroud District Council and many schools and colleges across the region. The College proactively engages with over 1000 businesses.

Over the past 15 years the College has invested over £50 million to enhance the College’s estate and has established a national and international reputation in the development of sport through our Bristol Academy of Sport based at the WISE Campus.

As a College we are proud to support the communities that we serve and we are sponsors of the SGS Academy Trust, which currently includes the Forest High School (a secondary school in the Forest of Dean), the Pegasus Academy (a new, all-through, free school for pupils with Autistic Spectrum Disorder) and the SGS Berkeley Green UTC (a new school specialising in Advanced Engineering and Digital learning).

The College’s four main campuses are located within the Stroud District of Gloucestershire and on the border of South Gloucestershire and north Bristol. In respect of most socio-economic indicators South Gloucestershire is a prosperous area, although pockets of severe deprivation exist in urban areas including within the City of Bristol. Progress 8 attainment and the proportion of GCSEs, grades 9 to 4, including English and mathematics, for school pupils is below the national average both for South Gloucestershire and Bristol. The College’s local communities are diverse, spread across rural Gloucestershire and South Gloucestershire, through to highly urbanised areas in Bristol.

The College purchased in 2015 the former delicenced nuclear laboratories in Berkeley Gloucestershire on a 999 year lease from the NDA in order to develop the Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park.  Supported by GFIRST LEP, the College has secured over £30million of capital investment onto this site to develop a centre for Engineering and Cyber Security including a University Technical College (opened 2017).

The College operates a group structure, the SGS Group.  The Chief Executive of the Group is Kevin Hamblin who is accountable for the College and also the SGS Academy Trust.  Sara-Jane Watkins is the College Principal and leads on all education and delivery across the College.





An exciting new development centred on a revolutionary new multi-purpose digital arena could be on the cards for a prominent site next to Slessor Gardens at Dundee’s billion-pound waterfront. An announcement by Northern Lights Arena Europe Limited (NLAE) of an 18-month exclusivity agreement with Dundee City Council allows the company to progress initial design concepts, strategic advice and expertise.

The Arena could provide educational, economic, entertainment and employment opportunities for Dundee. It will announce to Scotland and the other nations of the UK, our intention to drive the City of Dundee as a destination for visitors to enjoy not just for our unique position, hospitality and enviable locations but also our next generation approach for such venues.

The future arena would host circa 4,000 seats, an esports academy for further and higher education and, alongside conventional leisure, indoor sporting events, retail and live/workspace. It is to be located near the prestigious V&A Dundee adjacent to the Tay Road Bridge and will be a significant new addition to the landscape of the city.  NLAE is already working with Abertay University, Europe’s top ranked institution for video games education, to maximise the educational benefits of this project. As part of the project, Abertay intends to develop a new range of degree courses related to the global esports job market, with students gaining access to bespoke facilities within the arena complex. Abertay’s local college partner, Dundee & Angus College, would also be part of the project, ensuring opportunities for involvement are provided for young people across the region.

Cutting edge facilities and technical infrastructure for the arena and academic campus will be designed with Nottingham Trent University’s Creative Technology faculty, Confetti. Technology partners including Amazon Web Services, and low-carbon energy provider Vital Energi will guarantee that Dundee has a state-of-the-art facility for the 21st century. 

Chris Turner, NLAE CEO said: “We are delighted to be able to announce Dundee as the first of several multi-million-pound projects that the NLAE team is working on. We have been impressed with the forward-looking approach of Dundee City Council and their ambition to have a world class public space at the heart of Dundee. NLAE is working with global technology partners, including Amazon Web Services, to provide unparalleled facilities and experiences. NLAE is working with Vital Energi to develop and deliver a low carbon energy solution for all NLAE projects and other local customers in Dundee City Centre. ”

Mark Flynn convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee said: “Agreeing an exclusivity arrangement with NLAE is the best way forward to allow what is an exciting and potentially winning development the time and space needed to undertake feasibility studies and advance outline proposals. As a thriving and recognised cradle for games development I can think of no better place for such a complex to be.”


Professor Gregor White, Dean of Abertay University’s School of Design and Informatics said: “We are delighted to be involved in bringing forward this exciting partnership-led development for Dundee, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to the future development of Scotland’s digital economy. Abertay has an international reputation for excellence in the video games sector and is ideally placed to lead the educational delivery aspects of this project, with a view to opening up a new graduate talent pipeline to the esports industry, which is worth more than $1billion globally each year.”


Simon Hewitt, Principal of Dundee & Angus College said: “This is an amazing opportunity for the city and the wider region to build on the fantastic educational partnerships and experiences we already provide within the creative sector.  Dundee & Angus College are proud to be a partner in this exciting and innovative project that will create more opportunities to develop new and existing skills to support the growth of Scotland’s digital economy.”

NLAE Press Contact:


Link to file with logos and images here

About Northern Lights Arena Europe

NLAE’s mission is to leverage creative technologies, education and entertainment as tools for urban development and regeneration. NLAE is reimagining the future of venues as technology enabled multi-purpose hubs to improve the lives of the local community and beyond. Our multi-purpose venues create an ecosystem, linking with Further Education and Higher Education pathways, creating long-term sustainable employment opportunities.


About Abertay University

Abertay University is ranked number one in Europe for undergraduate video games education and in the global top 10 at postgraduate level (Princeton Review). The University created the world’s first video games degree in 1997 and former students have gone on to create internationally renowned games such as Grand Theft Auto. Abertay leads the £11.5m Innovation for Games and Media Enterprise (InGAME) R&D Project, which is located close to the proposed new arena on Dundee Waterfront and seeks to grow the value of the city’s video games development cluster.


About Vital Energi

With over 30 years’ experience in the district energy sector, Vital Energi provide energy generation, distribution, supply and consumption management to help both the public and private sector decarbonise their estates and developments.  Providing multi-technology solutions for new and existing developments to achieve carbon reduction and energy cost targets both now and in the future. Combining both renewable / low carbon generation solutions with optimised consumption measures allows new and existing buildings to contribute towards carbon reduction targets.