It has been announced that the UK’s leading visual effects (VFX), animation and games employers have joined forces to create a new Next Gen Skills Academy including; Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company, Pinewood Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Ubisoft Reflections.
The consortium has secured nearly £6.5 million of investment, via the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, to develop the next generation of talented animators, games designers and visual effects artists. Led by leading motion capture company Centroid and leading provider of vocational courses and training Amersham and Wycombe College, the Next Gen Skills Academy will aim to develop and offer new entry level qualifications, higher level apprenticeships, short courses and online learning opportunities; all designed to meet employers’ skills needs. A range of stakeholders, including the BFI, Creative England, Creative Skillset, TIGA and Ukie, also support the initiative.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable, commented: “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. However, if we’re to maintain our cutting-edge position, we need to make sure we have the talent and skills the industry needs.”
The project aims to benefit from over £2.7 million government investment over the next three years. Employers should also provide a further £3.6 million investment in cash and kind. The investment aims to support the development of a new online learning platform to deliver the latest training and skills for these fast moving industries, together with the development of new nationally recognised qualifications. A regional network of high-performing further education colleges aims to be established across England, delivering industry-led courses and over 1,300 qualifications. This would include 150 apprenticeships and over 1,000 online training courses.
Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey, added: “The UK’s creative industries are renowned across the globe, driving growth and investment into this country. By investing in skills with the Next Gen Skills Academy we can continue to grow this industry, a powerhouse within the UK economy.”
Michael Davis, CEO of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, has also said: “When employers work in partnership, they can accomplish great things. This academy is an example of how, by getting together and discussing their skill needs, businesses have managed to create something bigger and better than they could have achieved on their own. We remain committed to helping businesses take ownership of their skill needs, and I wish the academy the very best.”
This announcement follows the launch of the Creative Industries Strategy (Create UK), an industry-led strategy launched in July 2014, which aims to get businesses and the government working together to maintain the UK’s position as a world leader. Employment within the UK creative industries sector has increased five times faster than the national average, according to latest figures published by the Department for Culture. Furthermore, the creative industries economic report earlier in the year revealed that the creative industries contribute more than £8 million per hour to the UK economy. They also generate more than £70 billion a year and are outperforming all other sectors. Total creative economy employment across the UK has increased from 2.4 million in 2011, to 2.6 million jobs in 2013; this is an 8.8 percent increase.
There were 1.71 million jobs in the creative industries in 2013, an increase of 10.1 per cent since 2011. In addition, in 2013 there were 1.80 million jobs for people in creative occupations; a 7.3 percent increase since 2011. These increases compare with a 2.4 percent increase in the total number of jobs in the wider UK economy over the same period.
How might the creative industries be enhanced further to benefit the UK economy?