CMC Animation Exchange – Final Panel and Feedback Session – Training Initiatives
Miles Bullough Freelance Consultant
Kate O Connor Executive Director and Deputy CEO, Creative Skillset
Tim Searle Baby Cow Animation
Oli Hyatt Blue Zoo & Animation UK
One of the recurring themes of the afternoon was the issue of the new talent and skills-base training required to meet the need of increased animation production in the UK.
In a combined information session and call to action chaired by Miles Bullough, Kate O’Connor from Creative Skillset outlined the new initiative and funds from the Government and Creative Skillset to address the issues brought to their attention by the work of Animation UK and PACT, and explained why it’s important to get involved now.
Kate O’Connor introduced the proposed levy designed to support skills and training. Again using the film industry as a model, the new training levy is proposed to ensure an increased highly skilled workforce in the UK. With many productions holding back start dates to take advantage of the new tax breaks, there is an expected rush on required talent and new entrants to the talent pool are needed urgently.
A skills challenge fund will go live in May, looking at the different ways of targeting money at in-company training, as well as central training. The desire is to develop training programmes and plans that help get the funding back into companies. The government match-funding scheme provides £16m over 2 years to be split across 5 sectors, offering a possible £1.6m/year for the animation industry.
Miles urged the industry to take on a renewed understanding of what qualifies as training in order to access training funds. Often seen as impossible due to lack of time and money, Miles explained that there is an element of misunderstanding around the training concept. For example, companies bringing people in early on projects to familiarise them with company practice could qualify as training. The Treasury fund is only available for 2 years and we must act now. This is a match-fund scheme and as an industry it’s vital we show where we’re investing
The levy associated with the tax-break is not statutory, it is voluntary. There is a real need for the industry to drive how this is managed. It’s an opportunity to bring an organised approach to something companies have been doing for a long time – bringing in young people to train up to industry standard – and to access training funds at the same time.
A marketing plan is underway and details of the courses will follow in coming weeks. Initial training initiatives identified in order to plug emergency gaps are:
· Production teams – co-ordinators, line producers