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Burnley College Sim-Racing Student Invited to Share His Passion for Esports at Major Education Technology Conference

A Burnley College Student has been sharing his views on Esports and education at a conference attended by more than 30 thousand delegates.

Esports is one of the fastest growing sectors of the entertainment industry and Burnley College has been leading the way in introducing young people to this exciting and rewarding subject.

Now one of our T Level Students, Ethan Willis and an Esports Tutor, Andrew Chapman, have given their views on how to continue to integrate the opportunities it presents into the curriculum to some of the most influential figures in the industry.

Bett 2024 is “The biggest education technology exhibition in the world” and took place at ExCeL London.

It saw people from across the entire education landscape and more than 600 innovative EdTech and providers showcase cutting-edge products and services.

The head of education from British Esports and the boss of the student racing league from Williams were also present at the event.

Ethan, 17, who is studying Design and Development for Engineering and Manufacturing first got involved in Esports at the college when he was spotted by a tutor:


Andrew, the Esports tutor, first approached me to join the team after he saw me wearing an F1 hoodie in college.
After driving for the team for a while and doing well in competitions, we were invited to head down to Williams F1’s headquarters in Oxfordshire to take part in an event.

Ethan Willis

Burnley College Student and Esports Star

“I’ve continued to race in the Student Racing League and this year our team has qualified in the fastest split – so hopefully we’ll be heading back down to Williams for the live finals later this year.”

Burnley College is a pioneer in the world of Esports education after introducing its original groundbreaking course in 2021.

Esports is Burnley College’s fastest growing course ever, with 106 students starting the course in September 2023, an almost 500% increase on the first cohort of just 22 students in 2021.

They now have 10 teams competing nationally in five different Esports and have qualified for the national finals in Sim Racing for two years running.

More than half a million pounds has now been invested in high-tech equipment, kit for the teams and staffing at the college.

And its impact has gone worldwide, with the Government of Gibraltar inviting our teams and staff out to join them for a consultation and demonstration against their national team in March of 2024.

The Esports industry represent so much more than people playing computer games. A modern Esports team is equivalent to a premiership league football team, with everyone from players to psychologists, tacticians, nutritionists, event managers, social media experts, broadcasters (or “Shoutcasters” as they are known online) to do live commentary an analysis on Twitch, Youtube and more.

Last year the industry was estimated to be worth in excess of $1.5 billion and is project to grow to around $7 billion by 2030.

The courses equip students with the skills and knowledge to excel in the aspects of the diverse industry which suits them best.

Ethan says he’s fascinated the way the link between gaming and engineering grows closer all the time:

“I started racing at home with games like Gran Turismo 5. I got myself a basic steering wheel set up and my love of sim-racing grew and I moved on to more technical sims like F1 Asseto Corsa.

Ethan Willis


For anyone who thinks it’s just like playing a racing game in the arcades, the sim racing world has moved on so far – to the point now where F1 drivers literally practice using the same types of rigs and software we have here at Burnley College, constantly improving their lap times.

Ethan Willis

Burnley College Student and Esports Star

“The accuracy of the courses, of the physics simulations, the millimetre precision of the track layouts and the technology behind the peripherals keeps growing exponentially.

“It means you’re doing so much more than driving quickly to reach the finish line. It’s about critical thinking, working with a team to develop a strategy and understanding the engineering behind getting the most out of your car.”

What did Ethan and Andrew talk to the delegates about:

“It’s very interesting to hear the different perspectives. I personally am very passionate about building Esports training around achieving results – forming the best teams and getting the best training to succeed.

“Andrew, as a tutor on the other hand see it very much like a constructor in F1. It’s about creating a team and setting expectations, streamlining ways of working and ensuring everyone can complete their Esports course at the very highest level possible.”

Do you have a passion for gaming? Do you want the chance to work alongside companies like Williams F1? Are you interested in breaking new ground in the world of Esports, digital marketing and more?

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