The UK’s VFX industry is booming. We have an established VFX industry – now nearly two decades old – and we offer generous drama tax breaks to tempt international productions to our shores.
The UK should be well placed to take advantage of the increasing demand for VFX for TV, too. Thanks to the success of programmes like Game of Thrones, VFX is now not just for the movies.
But there’s a problem. The UK’s VFX industry is in the midst of a skills shortage; some might say, a skills crisis. It seems we just can’t get the staff these days!
Evidence of this nationwide skills shortage can be seen in the fact that jobs like 3D Supervisor, Compositing Artist, and Matte Painter are included in the government’s Visa Bureau Shortage Occupations List. This means that companies are having to recruit beyond the UK to fill vacant posts.
According to Skillset, the VFX industry needs skilled Compositors, FX, Supervisors, Sales/Pitch/Procurement specialists, and Trainers and Tutors.
But it’s not just that the job roles are difficult to fill. There are specific skills that those entering the industry or who are already employed in it, just don’t have.
According to the Skillset, UK crews lack on-set experience, lack of core skills in art & design, maths, and physics, multiskilling abilities, client handling skills, and sales/pitch/procurement skills.
To address the chronic shortages in skilled personnel in the VFX industry, leading UK-based companies have joined forces to establish the Next Generation Skills Academy. The Academy offers new nationally recognised qualifications, apprenticeships, short courses and continuing professional development.
All courses and programmes offered by the Next Gen Academy are designed to meet the needs of employers. Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company and Pinewood Studios are all involved in the initiative.
So, if you’re looking to move into or move on up in the world of VFX, the best advice is…
- Pick a role experiencing shortages
- Make sure your maths, physics, art and design skills are up to scratch
- Get some client handling skills and become a real ‘people person’
- Bag yourself as much on-set and production experience as you can
- Take any opportunity to pitch, sell and procure, and seek opportunities to shadow people who have bucket-loads of skills and experience
To find out more about the skills needed by the VFX Sector, visit: http://creativeskillset.org/who_we_help/creative_businesses/skills_investment_fund/vfx_and_the_sif
To find out more about the Next Gen Academy, visit: http://www.nextgenskillsacademy.com/
To read the full list of Visa Bureau’s Shortage Occupations, visit: