Aspiring animation students gain hands-on industry experience with Blue Zoo Animation Studio

NextGen Skills Academy (NextGen) is thrilled to announce the successful completion of a remarkable week-long remote work experience by a group of its talented animation students. Partnering with the multi-award-winning Blue Zoo Animation Studio, this unique opportunity allowed nine students from seven colleges across the NextGen network, to collaborate with Blue Zoo artists and create an impressive short 3D animation.

Under the expert guidance and mentorship of Blue Zoo artists, the nine students were challenged to make a 20 second ident in Blender in just five days. Powered by the innovative NextGen Remote Industry Studio Experience (RISE) platform, designed specifically by Tom Box, Co-Founder of Blue Zoo, for remote collaboration and learning. The young animators were able to fully immerse themselves in a professional working environment, with dailies sessions each day with Blue Zoo artists giving them a taste of modern studio life, WFH style.

From first seeing the brief and initial concept, to receiving professional feedback and reviews, all the way through to delivering their finished work, the students followed the professional production pipeline. Working as a remote studio, they experienced first-hand the challenges and triumphs of professional animation production, while gaining valuable insights into industry.

In just five days they produced this amazing short 3D ident for NextGen!

As well as empowering the students learning, the work experience also supported the continuing professional development of the Blue Zoo artists involved, offering the mid-animators the chance to step up and practice leading dailies sessions.

Tom Box, Co-Founder of Blue Zoo, said of the project:

“Post-COVID work styles have evolved due to remote and hybrid workforces, as a result invaluable student work experience has been disrupted. So Blue Zoo are working with NextGen Skills Academy to design and develop the RISE programme as a way of giving students a taste of 21st century remote-studio life and the related professional skills they need to integrate themselves into teams for maximum career success.
"It was truly amazing to witness the creativity and dedication of these young students throughout the work experience, including how they took on and actioned feedback, and how they worked so professionally with our Blue Zoo artists. To see their confidence grow throughout the week was inspirational, and they should all be really proud of what they have achieved.”  

Julian Cabrera, Co-Founder of NextGen Skills Academy said:

"We are delighted to partner with Blue Zoo, an organisation that has consistently shown its dedication to nurturing emerging and diverse talent, and investing in the future of the animation industry. This collaboration has allowed our students to gain invaluable experience in a professional setting, learn from industry experts, and further refine their animation skills. We are immensely proud of their dedication and achievements, and the work they have produced is truly outstanding!
“This remote work experience will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the students' professional journeys. The skills they acquired, the knowledge they gained, and the connections they made will serve as a solid foundation for their future careers in the animation industry. Thank you to Tom Box and everyone from Blue Zoo who has been involved in providing this unforgettable experience for our students.”

This collaboration between NextGen and Blue Zoo Animation Studio demonstrates their unwavering commitment to fostering talent and innovation within the animation industry. This partnership has provided aspiring animators with a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience, learn from industry professionals, and take their skills to new heights.

Congratulations and thank you to the following talented students for all of their hard work:

Florence Majida Marshall from Barnsley College

Faisal Hassan, Tharishna Yogarasa, and Saleena Yusuf Mohamed from Gateway Sixth Form College

Lorcan Spanyol Woods from Westminster Kingsway College

Isaac Gower from Middlesbrough College

Secander Sadat from Uxbridge College

Joshua Jefferson from North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT)

Shariq Ali Rehman from The Sheffield College

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