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Employers - Why you should hire  Animation or VFX Apprentices

Fill your skills gaps, increase the diversity of your workforce, and offer a route into the industry other than university. You can offer a talented young person an opportunity to learn on the job within your studio, while saving on recruitment and training fees as that’s all handled by NextGen and our training providers.

What Apprentice positions are there?

NextGen can help you hire:

All of these Animation and VFX Apprenticeships have been designed and approved by industry Trailblazers to develop core technical skills and enable progression within the creative industries. The links above take you to the full Apprenticeship Standards so you can find out more about each role.

When are you recruiting?

NextGen is currently taking applications for all of the above Creative Industry apprentices, with an aim for them to start with employers in March-April 2023. Apprenticeships can also be used to upskill existing staff, they continue to work for you but spend one day a week 'off-the-job' learning with our training providers to gain their qualification.

How does the training programme work?

All potential apprentices that NextGen shortlists will demonstrate emerging artistic and technical skills needed for their role, you won’t be teaching someone from scratch! Following onboarding, and an assessment of their prior learning, with our training provider they will join your studio to work four-days a week. The other day will be spent learning remotely/in-person with our training provider.

Our training provider will work with successful candidates before they start their role with you, helping to embed the basic skills that apprentices need to start being productive in the workplace. Current industry practitioners (aka Master Technicians) deliver key parts of the training, providing industry context for college studies and sharing up-to-date skills. The Master Technicians are supported by teaching staff too, ensuring a high-quality learning experience for the apprentices.

Hiring an apprentice means you get to pass down your skills and knowledge to the next generation of talent, empowering them with work experience that no other qualification can offer. There is a time commitment from you (as there is with taking any new recruit), but you will find taking on an apprentice a rewarding and worthwhile way to recruit new talent.

'Off-the-job' training for VFX Apprentices takes place in London so employers must be willing for their apprentice to attend. All 'off-the-job' Junior Animator training takes place remotely, so employers and apprentices can be based anywhere in the UK.

How does the recruitment process work?

When applications close a first sift is done by NextGen and the applicants are graded from 1 to 5 for potential. The applicants can indicate which position they feel suited to, but employers can shortlist them for what they judge to be the best fit. Companies then return their shortlists to NextGen, if an applicant is shortlisted by more than one company, they will be invited to an Assessment day. Applicants who are shortlisted by a single company can be contacted directly by them, but not until everyone’s shortlist has been received by NextGen.

Assessment days are collaborative and are organised by NextGen and hosted in a central London venue. Companies come together to participate in these group assessment days and meet the applicants, where we explore problem solving and team working skills. The applicants are interviewed as groups by panels from each company at each assessment day. Some employers are happy to shortlist at that point, and some like to have a follow up one-to-one interview. No applicant can be made an offer until NextGen has received every company’s final selection. Offers are made via email on an agreed date. We do this so that applicants don’t just say “yes” to the first offer they receive. Hiring the talent is competitive, but we want it to be fair for each company and applicant.

Once an offer of recruitment is made employers pay a fee to NextGen Skills Academy.

How much does hiring an apprentice cost?

Apprentices become paid members of staff within your company, with the same contract obligations, holiday and employment rights as your existing employees. In previous years, the basic starting salary for the first year of an apprenticeship is between £14-16k per annum. This year, working in conjunction with the Mayor of London Skills Academy initiative we are asking London based employers to offer the London Living Wage, currently set at £11.95 per hour, to apprentices. This has beneficial impacts: it reflects the high cost of living in the capital, in a competitive skills market it will make apprenticeships more attractive, and will remove hurdles for some underrepresented groups.

There is a one-off payment of £1,000 per apprentice hired to NextGen to cover the cost of recruitment, shortlisting and organisation of the assessment days.

How does funding for training work? Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund with UK Screen Alliance

Funding for training apprentices is not just available to Apprentice Levy paying companies. Companies who don’t pay the levy, or have a small amount in their levy pot, can also access funding. Government pays up to 90% of training costs for SMEs, but UK Screen Alliance can arrange for 100% of training costs to be funded.

Large employers across the UK have found it difficult to spend all of the credits in their Levy accounts. In order to save money being returned to HM Treasury and to benefit the wider industry, UK Screen Alliance have set up the Apprenticeship Levy Transfer Fund, or ALT Fund. Large employers have pledged a minimum of £150,000 to the ALT Fund to enable smaller employers to train apprentices. To find out if your company can access funds and about the process involved email Neil Hatton: neil@ukscreenalliance.co.uk

Key Dates to keep in mind

29th January - Applications close
30th January to 10th February - First sift of applications and grading for potential
Mid-February - Employers receive sifted and graded applications, they then return their shortlist for the assessment day
Early March - Assessment days held
Apprentice start dates - March/April

What do you need to do now to employ an Apprentice?

Get in touch with NextGen
On the web application page the list of companies that we expect will recruit apprentices includes Framestore, DNEG, The Mill, Jellyfish Pictures and ILM. We’ll update the list as soon as other companies tell us they are interested. If you’d like to join the group of companies recruiting through NextGen please contact Phil Attfield: phil.attfield@nextgenskillsacademy.com

Check if you have any questions
As well as adding companies to our published list of recruiting employers we’ll connect you to our training provider's account management team. They’ll help you with queries around levy funding, applicants’ prior learning assessments and registering vacancies with the national apprenticeship service.

Write a job description
It’s very important that you have an up to date job description for the role your apprentice will have in your company. A detailed job description will help WKC and NextGen advise you on the suitability of the apprenticeship for a job role.

At the end of every apprenticeship there is an End Point Assessment (EPA) that an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) provides. Apprentices should be enrolled by training providers with an EPAO at the start of their apprenticeship. Increasingly, EPAOs are becoming wary of apprentices being enrolled on unsuitable courses. That hasn’t happened with our apprenticeships so far, but because it has happened elsewhere EPAOs will want to see a job description for each apprentice that is enrolled with them.