Recruitment starts for first-ever Junior Animator Apprenticeships

A new collaboration between leading UK Animation companies, The University of the West of England (UWE), and NextGen Skills Academy (NextGen), with essential support from ScreenSkills, the  industry-led skills body for the screen industries, will see the first ever Junior Animator apprentices start training with a wide range of employers in February 2022. The apprentices will learn how to create animated assets and content, by producing the motions, gestures, expressions and performance of two or three dimensional characters and inanimate objects.

A key part of ScreenSkills’ role is to ensure there is a continual flow of new 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 excellent direct entry route into the screen industries instead of a degree.

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 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.”

ScreenSkills formed a group of leading animation companies from around the country to offer the apprenticeships. This includes Blue Zoo, Framestore, Jellyfish, DNEG, Fettle Animation, Kong Studio, V-Prep, Sainsbury’s and Dependable Productions. The employers are ready to recruit their first Junior Animator apprentices at a level equivalent to the first year of undergraduate study. The apprentices will learn on the job for 80% of their working time, with the remaining 20% spent studying with UWE.

Tom Box, Managing Director, Blue Zoo, the BAFTA award winning London animation production company behind Numberblocks and Superworm, 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 area that our industry is actively seeking to achieve. 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, Associate Head of Department, Creative and Cultural Industries at the University of the West of England, 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."

The launch of this apprenticeship comes after the recent announcement that the Government’s Plan for Jobs Scheme will be extended until January 2022, giving companies taking on new apprentices a bonus of £3,000 per position.

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 for one visit: Apply now to be a Junior Animator Apprentice

Applications close at midnight on Sunday 31st October 2021

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