About the Animation Skills Fund

Still from an Aardman film

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 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 £54,000 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 market

Paula Newport, Aardman Animations

Since 2016 the fund has raised more than £850,000, which has been invested in training and career development for the UK animation industry. More than £200,000 was raised in 2022-23 alone, from 15 animated productions.

Contributing studios include Magic Light Pictures, Blink Industries, Tiger Aspect Animation, Gutsy Animation UK, Wildseed Studios, Lupus Films, Blue Zoo, Jellyfish Pictures, Aardman Animation and more.​

Since 2020 1,900 people have signed up to ScreenSkills with animation as their key focus and/or career identifier. 2021 saw the launch of the first edition of Animation Trainee Finder. Twenty trainees were given places on the new entrant programme, specialising in 2D, 3D and stop motion and storyboard animation. Extended into 2022-23, trainees received more than 263 weeks of paid placements on productions across shows such as Corpse Talk, Specs, Lloyd of the Flies, Dodo and Super Happy Magic Forest​. The programme continues to run this year.

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.

What is the fund used for?

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. 

Read about the programmes supported by the Animation Skills Fund.

For more information about the Animation Skills Fund please email: Kieran Argo.

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