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.

The consortium has secured nearly £6.5 million 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 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 industry 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 1.7 million 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 is 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 £2.7 million of government investment over the next three years. Employers will provide a further £3.6 million in "cash and in kind".

The investments will support the development of a new online learning platform to deliver the latest training and skills, together with the development of new nationally-recognised qualifications. A regional network of "high performing" further education colleges will be established across England, supporting industry-led courses.

The courses will deliver over 1,300 qualifications, including 150 apprenticeship starts. There will be over 1,000 online training courses.

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