The UK’s leading visual effects (VFX), animation and games employers – including Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company, Pinewood Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Ubisoft Reflections – have joined forces to create a new Next Gen Skills Academy, it was announced last week.
The consortium has secured nearly £6.5m of investment via the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), to develop the next generation of talented animators, games designers and visual effects artists.
Led by Centroid, one of the industry’s leading motion capture companies, and Amersham and Wycombe College, a leading provider of vocational courses and training, the Next Gen Skills Academy will develop and offer new entry level qualifications, higher level apprenticeships, short courses and online learning opportunities, all designed to meet employers’ skills needs. The initiative is also supported by a range of stakeholders including BFI, Creative England, Creative Skillset, TIGA and Ukie.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK’s creative industries are amongst the strongest in the world, worth £71.4 billion per year to the UK economy and supporting more than 1.7m jobs. Visual effects and games in particular are a great British success story. But if we’re to maintain our cutting-edge position, we need to make sure that we have the talent and skills the industry needs. That’s why the Creative Industries Strategy places skills development as a key priority for the future growth of this important sector.”
The project will benefit from over £2.7m Government investment over the next three years. Employers will provide a further £3.6m investment in cash and in kind.
Investment will support the development of a new online learning platform to deliver the latest training and skills for these fast moving industries, together with the development of new nationally-recognised qualifications. A regional network of high performing further education colleges will be established across England, delivering industry-led courses, delivering over 1300 qualifications, including 150 apprenticeship starts and over 1000 online training courses.
Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, added: “The UK’s creative industries are renowned across the globe, driving growth and investment into this country. By investing in skills with the Next Gen Skills Academy we can continue to grow this industry, a powerhouse within the UK economy.”
Michael Davis, CEO of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills said: “When employers work in partnership, they can accomplish great things. This Academy is an example of how, by getting together and discussing their skills needs, businesses have managed to create something bigger and better than they could have achieved on their own. We remain committed to helping business take ownership of their skills needs, and I wish the Academy the very best.”
Phil Stilgoe, CEO of Centroid added: “By being led by a consortium of employers, the Next Gen Skills Academy will equip learners with the relevant skills that our sectors are crying out for.”
Mark Sellis, Principal and CEO at Amersham and Wycombe College added:
“We are excited to be involved in such a unique opportunity to develop industry relevant qualifications that are both designed with and validated by industry.”
Rupert Loman: Founder and CEO of Gamer Network that owns EGX (formerly Eurogamer Expo) added: “It’s great to see the government investing in the next generation of British gaming. We already have a long heritage as a creative hotbed and this support will ensure that continues and delivers future economic success.”