The key purpose of the Animation Skills Fund, formerly known as the animation levy, is to support the development of animation talent at all levels - bringing new entrants into the industry and advancing career development.
The fund was created in 2013 following the introduction of UK tax relief for the animation sector. It was agreed that any production utilising the tax credit would contribute to a fund managed by ScreenSkills.
Productions pay a voluntary contribution of 0.5% of their production budget spent in the UK into the fund. Contributions are capped at £44,500 per production (the cap increases each year in line with RPI). To maximise the opportunities you could benefit from, animation productions should contact ScreenSkills as soon as possible about contributing to the fund. Your commitment to the levy does not have to coincide with your application for the tax credit.
Now more than ever, it’s so important that we invest in UK skills development to ensure we can continue to deliver world-class animation and remain competitive in a global marketPaula Newport, Aardman Animations
Since 2013 the fund has raised more than £400,000, which has been invested in training and career development for the UK animation industry. Productions paying into the fund have included Early Man, Go Jetters, Miffy, Mr Bean: The Animated Series, Shaun the Sheep, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Toot the Tiny Tugboat, Tree Fu Tom, and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, plus broadcasters including the BBC support the fund on both in-house and commissioned productions.
In 2020 the Animation Skills Fund developed a pledge to recognise our commitment to supporting animation and the industry’s endorsement of the training and support programmes that we deliver. Companies committed to the pledge include Blue Zoo Productions, CANUK Productions, Cloth Cat Animation, Fettle Animation, Jellyfish Pictures, Lupus Films, Red and Blue Productions, Red Kite Animation, Three Stones Media and Wildseed Studios.
BBC Children’s supports, champions and values the British animation industry – we have wonderful talent and studios on our doorstep and we believe supporting the Animation Skills Fund proactively helps to maintain and sustain the high standards of British animation.Tony Reed, Genre Lead, BBC Children’s Animation & Puppetry
Decisions about how the funds are spent are made by the Animation Skills Council which is made up of industry leaders in the sector and includes representatives from the Animation UK skills group, who are key stakeholders.
The industry contributions are invested in skills development for animation professionals and new entrants across the whole of the UK. Training and support programmes are delivered both in-house and externally by industry-recognised training providers with a view to develop and sustain a word-class animation workforce.
The best thing about this approach is that it allows collaboration to happen between studios across the country, to achieve what studios alone cannot do. The more that studios contribute to the fund, the more activities can be delivered that will help to evolve the workforce, enabling studios to be able to assemble amazing teams of highly skilled people.
Click here to read about programmes supported by the Animation Skills Fund.