Creative contractors gain skills academy

Tuesday 30 September 2014

The government is set to open a Next Gen Skills Academy to provide training for people working in the visual effects, animation and games industries.

For umbrella company contractors, self employed professionals and others thinking of becoming a contractor in the creative industries, they may be able to take advantage of short courses and e-learning suites that come as part of the Academy.

This scheme will receive more than £6 million in funding, with £2.7 million coming from the government and a further £3.6 million being added by employers in the sector. Investment from the government came through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The academy will put together and offer entry-level qualifications, high level apprenticeships, short courses and e-learning suites that will be constructed around the needs of employers. This will help to ensure that the talent pool for the games, visual effects and animation sectors is equipped with the right skills.

It is led by the motion capture company Centroid and vocational course and training provider Amersham and Wycombe College.

There are a number of stakeholders that support the course, including BFI, Creative England, TIGA, Creative Skillset and Ukie.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: "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 1.7m jobs. Visual effects and games in particular are a great British success story. But if we’re to maintain our cutting-edge position, we need to make sure that we have the talent and skills the industry needs. That why the Creative Industries Strategy places skills development as a key priority for the future growth of this important sector."

Investment received will support the development of an online learning platform that is set to deliver the most up to date training and skills that is needed for these rapidly advancing industries. What's more, it was also fund the creation of industry qualifications that will become nationally recognised.

A network of further education colleges will be set up across England, which will deliver these industry-led courses. They will provide more than 1,300 qualifications, which include 150 apprenticeships and more than 1,000 online training courses.

Minister for culture and the digital economy Ed Vaizey noted how the creative industry in the UK is well renowned all over the world and is a good means for attracting growth and investment within the UK.

He said: "By investing in skills with the Next Gen Skills Academy we can continue to grow this industry, a powerhouse within the UK economy."

Chief executive officer for UKCES Michael Davis applauded the employers for coming together to provide the Skills Academy. He says that it is bigger and better than something these employers could have put together on their own and is in line with UKCES' intention to ensure businesses can take ownership over the skills they need.

The announcement of the Next Gen Skills Academy also follows the launch of the Creative Industries Strategy, otherwise known as Create UK, which was launched in 2014 and is led by industry.

By Victoria McDonnell

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