ScreenSkills leads the launch of the first junior animator apprenticeships

ScreenSkills has brought animation companies and educators together to lead the creation and launch of the first-ever junior animator apprenticeships (Level 4), with recruitment now open for a February 2022 start.

The apprenticeships further build on ScreenSkills’ support for the animation industry following the launch, last month, of its animation Trainee Finder programme. Trainee Finder is for people with up to 12 months animation work experience whereas the apprenticeships are aimed at those with no relevant experience or specific qualifications in animation.

A key part of ScreenSkills’ role is to ensure there is a continuous flow of new, diverse talent joining the screen industries, even more so where there are skills shortages in growing sectors such as animation. ScreenSkills is also keen to promote the value of apprenticeships as an alternative direct entry route into the screen industries instead of a degree.

ScreenSkills has formed a group of leading companies from around the country to offer the animation apprenticeships. This so far includes Blue-Zoo, DNEG, Sainsbury’s, Framestore, Jellyfish Pictures, Kong Studios, and V Prep. The University of the West of England (UWE) and NextGen Skills Academy (NextGen) are organising the training and recruitment of the apprentices,

During the apprenticeship, as well as gaining the invaluable experience of working for the animation companies, apprentices will learn to create animated assets and content, by producing the motions, gestures, expressions and performance of two or three dimensional characters and inanimate objects. Full details about the junior animator apprenticeship standard can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeship’s website.

Tim Weiss, Director of Vocational Skills, ScreenSkills, said: “The UK animation industry is booming, and to ensure it keeps growing, employers continually need new talent – especially from a wider range of different backgrounds. This is why we led the launch of this apprenticeship as a fundamental part of our support for the screen industries.

“This new junior animator apprenticeship standard presents a great opportunity to learn while you earn, and it was important for us to bring industry and education together to set up the first cohort of apprentices.  With a great range of partners, we are confident this will become a great success - and we would also welcome more employers interested in coming on board.”

Tom Box, Animation Skills Council Chair and Co-founder and Managing Director of Blue Zoo Animation Studio, said: “With the huge success of the UK’s animation industry comes challenges and great opportunities, one of which is the need to support the constant flow of brilliant new talent joining us. Apprenticeships are a perfect way of broadening the backgrounds and the range of people seeking animation careers which is an important focus for our industry. To have such a prestigious group of employers and educators come together shows the level of commitment to this goal, and we are all looking forward to reviewing the applications as they arrive.”  

The leading employers chose UWE’s Bristol School of Animation teaching team as their preferred training provider, because they combine a strong reputation for high quality animation teaching with a wealth of real world industry experience. Under their guidance, apprentices will be fully prepared to take on the role of junior animator. 

Training will combine distance learning, so that apprentices can train flexibly where they work, with two intensive residential blocks at UWE in Bristol.  As well as delivering key learning, the residential blocks will ensure that each apprentice is fully connected to the teaching team and their fellow apprentices as well as the wider community of learners at UWE’s Bristol School of Animation. 

Abigail Davies, UWE’s Associate Head of Department, Creative and Cultural Industries, said: “We are very excited at the prospect of welcoming this new group of up-coming animation talent to UWE’s Bristol School of Animation.  We are looking forward to working with them to develop their skills so that they can flourish and succeed in the animation industry.” 

NextGen Skills Academy collates and sifts apprentice applications prior to bringing employers and applicants together for selection events. To find out more about junior animator apprenticeships and how to apply, please visit: https://www.nextgenskillsacademy.com/course/junior-animator-apprenticeship

If employers require any further information and/or would be interested in recruiting an apprentice as part of this scheme, they should contact apprenticeships@screenskills.com


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