Tuesday, 9 April 2013

What's wrong with VFX training in the UK? - Creative Skillset has the answers

A huge part of our mission at Bucks is to make our course industry-relevant. We want our students to have cutting-edge skills so that they have the best possible prospects of finding exciting, challenging and well-paid work in the animation, games and visual effects industry.

With that in mind, I came to the Creative Skillset Tutor Day at BFI yesterday at the South Bank, to find out what we can do better here at Bucks to improve our course. The focus of Creative Skillset is the VFX Course Handbook (you can download a copy here), a detailed document painstaking put together by Creative Skillset in close consultation with the VFX industry to identify exactly what should go into an industry-relevant course.

Core Skills Handbook - worth a look
We've been paying close attention to the Skillset Handbook as we re-tool our Animation & VFX course, to make it more closely focused on the needs of industry. The Handbook is designed to be modular, so that relevant sections can be dropped right into a University course.

There were plenty of tutors present, also lots of folks from industry including Anna Swift, head of recruitment at Framestore, with whom we have been working closely to make sure that our creature animation module closely matches the needs of Framestore - and of course other VFX houses. Anna has been hugely helpful and I get the impression generally that industry is delighted to co-operate with Universities - if only we can reach out them and forge relationships.

The lectures focused chiefly on relevant skills - the most commonly used software (Maya for 3D work and Nuke for 2D compositing), and on what the universities can do to supply industry with graduates who are job-ready.

Skillset offers assistance, advice - and goodies, such as funds to send students off to conferences like  FMX (sadly no more cash is left this year), and a roster of VFX ready assets which you can access here. The Skillset website is a good place to start if you're looking to make sure your skills are up to date - their whole remit is to make sure that students are learning the right skills to get hired.

Overall, their tutor day was a great idea, an opportunity to meet the Skillset folks as well as other tutors and also a reminder that the needs of industry change constantly.  We at the universities need to be swift on our feet to ensure that we are offering students the very latest training and tools.


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