This year's ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund has seen record-breaking sums thanks to the productions contributing. This has allowed the Animation Skills Council to deliver more training across the talent pipeline, from school outreach initiatives all the way through to high-end budgeting training for producers, helping thousands of individuals progress their careers for a stronger industry as a whole. Thank you to all of the contributing productions who enabled this to happen!
But this doesn't come without its challenges; the year has been one of the UK animation industry's busiest ever, whilst this has been great for ASF contributions, it means that the skills shortage is more prominent than ever. This then leads to studio staff being over-stretched with the risk that training and development suffers.
This means studios need to collaborate and invest in training more than ever, not just in money, but time. For an industry that thrives on expert-guided vocational training, we need commitment from studios to help nurture and mentor talent all the way up the career ladder, and that is something that can't be solved with money alone.
So we still have a huge amount of work ahead of us, to help reduce the skills crunch, but highlighting the breadth and range of initiatives delivered over the last year demonstrates how we are well on our way there.
These initiatives and activities include:
- Launching the Accessibility in Animation report with discussion events at Manchester Animation Festival and British Animation Awards
- Animation Trainee Finder began, recruiting 20 animation and storyboard trainees from across the UK, with placements on productions including Kensuke’s Kingdom, JoJo & Gran Gran, Lloyd of the Flies, and Supertato
- Young Animator of the Year saw around 400 13–18-year-olds participate in competitions, portfolio reviews and the 3Dami Summer Studio, with winning films screened at Manchester Animation Festival
- Junior Animator Apprenticeship was also launched, placing 9 apprentices with production companies including Blue Zoo and Jellyfish Pictures
- Writing for Children’s Animation workshop led by Myles McLeod was again successful in building confidence in 15 early career writers and matching them with producers, with a few of this year and last year’s cohort being brought into writers’ rooms
- Building Blocks for your Animated Career, was developed by career development consultant Kate Lander, comprising an online resource and a workshop series that engaged 80+ new entrants
- Online training courses supported included: Becoming an animation production manager, Toon Boom Harmony for animators and riggers, CelAction for animators and riggers, Animated Women UK’s Achieve Programme, and the Budgeting High-End Animated Series clinic for producers, with 170 participants across these programmes
- In all 7,400+ participants benefitted from the work of the Animation Skills Fund with 419 undertaking training, 815 attending online events and 5,795 watched recorded training sessions, and 400+ participating in YAY UK.