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About Worcestershire County Council

Worcestershire County Council is a local authority in England, providing local residents with a range of services, including education, social care, and transport. The council has a strong focus on digital connectivity and innovation, and is committed to user-centred design. In the past, they have developed new and innovative solutions ranging from online services to booking school and college transport to digital multi-agency safeguarding hubs and online land and property searches.

The council prides itself on its strong links with stakeholders like the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and the Careers and Enterprise Company who play a vital role in the delivery of careers education across Worcestershire.

Icon with a hand holding a lightbulb with an inset icon of Worcestershire Careers Hub logo

How the concept of an online game emerged 

The careers team at the council wanted to provide schools and colleges within the Worcestershire area with an innovative way to educate their pupils on the wide range of career opportunities which are available to them. By providing pupils with information on career pathways, employability skills, employer profiles and job profiles across key growth sectors, the team hoped to inspire young people to realise their future aspirations.

Following a period of user and market research, they formulated an idea to develop a digital version of a board game called 'Simply Careers' which could be played by all students to inspire and encourage them to learn about opportunities in the area they live in.

An icon of five arrows on the floor with an inset icon of a direction road sign with careers

Following the M5 to open up opportunities 

The concept of an interactive game started to take shape, but then came the challenge of how it would work in practice. The idea was that the player (student) would navigate their way around ‘the board’ by following the M5 motorway to different themed zones, which are named after the six districts located within the county.

Within each district zone, players must complete various ‘spaces’ to progress onto other zones on the board, collecting rewards as they go. Spaces include quizzes, videos and sector information with opportunities to score points for correct answers during their journey. Throughout, players are constantly learning about the area they live in, exploring potential new career aspirations and how they might achieve them.

An icon of a girl using a laptop with an inset icon of game pieces and a country map

Making Simply Careers a reality 

Once the initial concepts and user needs for the game had been documented, PDMS supported Worcestershire County Council in realising the project.  Through the visual and technical design of a game prototype, we tested out their ideas and got early feedback. 

As the content needed to be editable by council users, and the game required a degree of ‘game-like’ look and feel, the solution was specified as an Umbraco CMS website with an Angular front-end. Given that many of the planned game spaces contain copy, images, video and forms, Umbraco CMS was used to manage the content for the game spaces, as it is an ideal platform for efficiently managing large volumes of web content. 

Angular provides front-end functionality including scoring, zone progress, interactive tools, prompts and avatar selection as it offers a high-performing method of delivering apps and content, without the need to do full page loads each time data is required. 

Clear definition of the complete game requirements was carried out in consultation with the council, and options were thoroughly discussed and reviewed with both the council and the team at PDMS to formulate the final set of requirements.  Ongoing feedback from the users and the students was essential to help understand how they interacted with the game, and to identify and resolve any issues they encountered as they progress through the different levels.

An icon of designers working on plans with the Umbraco and Angular logos

Launching the prototype 

Following refinement of the initial design and function of the prototype, the Council are now entering a further phase of live trials to acquire additional feedback on the game’s value and usability. In the future, it is hoped that authentication will provide the ability for players to login to see previous points and to progress to higher levels as their school age increases. 

A laptop displaying the Simply Careers game on the screen

Client Testimonial

Matt Tope, Inspiring Worcestershire Programme Manager, Strategic Careers Hub Lead – Worcestershire LEP

My team and I found it an absolute pleasure to work with PDMS for the duration of the Simply Careers digital platform build. Suzanne, Jim and the wider PDMS team made sure that our initial concept was actually turned into reality. As this platform was the first of its kind, we had nothing to compare it too, but PDMS ensured that by working together and listening to our constant feedback that we could always find the right solutions without ever compromising the quality of the build. The ability for us to develop a mechanism which allows us to control the content of the platform and build on this over time just added even more value to this project. Young people across Worcestershire and the rest of the country will benefit from this platform for years to come and will help ensure they can fully understand the careers opportunities available to them whilst using technology to support their learning. I would have no hesitation in using PDMS again or recommending them in the future.” 


An icon of colourful avatars from the Simply Careers game