Five Minecraft Learning Centres are to be created in Wales in the hope that they will help schools and colleges to use the block-building game during science, history and coding lessons.

The Welsh Government has launched the project to help students prepare for the workplace, as well as build key communication and critical thinking skills, using a game they are already comfortable with.

Educators who attend the Learning Centres will be taught how to use the “open-learning” environment of Minecraft: Education Edition to encourage creativity, self-expression and problem solving.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said: “I’m proud to say we’re one of the first countries in the world to take this progressive approach to providing school staff and learners with access to Microsoft software.

Through projects like ‘Enriching the Curriculum for Wales’, we want all learners to benefit from the collaboration, communication, problem-solving and critical thinking opportunities that Minecraft: Education Edition offers.”

To launch the project, the Welsh Government Hwb team met with the Minecraft: Education Edition product team to host a “train-the-trainer” summit, where those hosting MLC workshops learned how to make the most of Minecraft in education.

Speaking at the Hwb summit, Allison Matthews, Principal PM and Executive Producer at Minecraft: Education Edition, said: “We are very excited to see the learning outcomes that educators will be able to drive in the upcoming year as they find ways to incorporate Minecraft: Education Edition across the curriculum.”

The announcement comes months after the Welsh Government invested £1.2 million to give 467,000 young people access to Office 365 and Minecraft: Education Edition via the country’s Hwb digital learning platform.

The news comes in the same week that the NHS opened its first gaming addiction clinic for referrals from GPs.