Vaizey 040Just one year after announcing the launch of NextGen Skills Academy, Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, visited Uxbridge College to see NextGen’s brand new course in action.

NextGen Skills Academy is a government and industry-invested initiative offering young people new pathways into a variety of digital creative sectors, whilst at the same time addressing specific skills shortages that have been identified by employers in the games, animation and VFX industries. Ed Vaizey met the first students enrolled on the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX (visual effects) Skills, a two-year course that is comparable to three A levels and is being taught in four colleges across England now.

Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey said, “NextGen Skills Academy has done a fantastic job working with employers to deliver a course that will equip students with the knowledge, skills and confidence to forge a career in the creative industries. The Academy will play an important role in providing a pipeline of highly skilled talent into animation, video game and VFX businesses across the nation, helping to cement our position as a world leader in these fields."

For September 2016, NextGen Skills Academy is planning to have a further 16 colleges offering the Diploma. “All the colleges who are running the courses from September 2015 have full classes so it’s crucial that we recruit more colleges to bring this opportunity to an even broader range of students across the country,” said Gina Jackson, Managing Director of NextGen Skills Academy. “We exceeded our recruitment target by more than 50% this year, which is evidence that young people want this course, and we know employers want to develop more future talent so we’ll continue to bring more colleges on board. We’ll also be growing our portfolio of products this year by launching a range of taster sessions and short courses for 13-18 year olds who want to explore some simple game creation or VFX or animation work before signing up to the Level 3 course.”

Dr Darrell DeSouza, Vice Principal – Curriculum and Standards at Uxbridge College said, “We are delighted to have welcomed Ed Vaizey to officially launch the new NextGen course in Games, Animation and VFX Skills at Uxbridge College. To have met the stringent criteria and qualified as one of the launch colleges for the NextGen Level 3 Diploma is a tremendous result for our staff and students. We’re sure that with our educational track record, specialist staff expertise and superior industry-standard facilities, the student experience and eventual outcomes for this cutting-edge qualification will be excellent. We are confident that current and future students will go on to make valuable contributions to the games, animation and VFX industries, carving out highly professional career paths for themselves.”

The course has been developed with partner awarding organisation AIM Awards and leading employers from games, animation and VFX, including Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Framestore, Double Negative, Blue Zoo and MPC. It has been designed to replicate real-world working environments, and will give students unprecedented access to mentors and industry briefs from a group of leading companies in the sector.

In addition to Uxbridge College, other colleges offering the course this year are North East Surrey College of Technology (NESCOT), Sunderland College and Truro & Penwith College.

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