The Animation Audit

Posted on: Friday 05 July 2013 4:18pm by Niel Bushnell


Blogger: Niel Bushnell

“People need to stop moaning, get off their backsides, talk to Skillset and access the money!” Marion Edwards, HIT Entettainment

“This fund means I can look to employ two new staff members instead of one.” Jonathan Brown, Lightworx

Top Ten Session Takeouts

1.      Creative Skillset have new funding available for individuals and companies
2.      Companies can access substantial support for new starters.
3.      Creative Skillset want to address the known skills shortages within the industry.
4.      They’re looking for ambitious training initiatives to help fund.
5.      Creative Skillset has been in existence for 21 years, with 10 years legacy in animation.
6.      Now is the time to ensure the success of the new tax breaks. We need to support training.
7.      Funding from the Government has to be matched by money from industry.
8.      The new fund is project based and is 0.5% of production budget, capped at just over £39k.
9.      Creative Skillset are keen to engage with the industry and find out what they can do to help you.
10.  “It’s free money! Do it!”

Maybe it was the after effects of the party the night before, maybe it was the lure of the other sessions or maybe it was just apathy, but the Creative Skillset session was low on attendees. Given that the panel was there to explain the new opportunities available through Creative Skillset it’s doubly surprising. But at least those who did attend seemed keen to learn what was on offer. And the offerings were by no mean meagre.

Creative Skillset, in its own words, is the industry body which supports skills and training for people and businesses to ensure the UK creative industries maintain their world class position. Today was all about a new initiative, the Skills Investment Fund (SIF) that’s designed to enable animation businesses to access Government funding to enable them to invest in training and skills development.

Rebecca Davies from Creative Skillset explained the three parts that make up the fund:

1.      Commissioned short courses to address industry wide needs. Some of these courses are up to 100% funded and tackle holes in employer’s skills, as defined by industry experts in discussion with Creative Skillset. Some of these courses are residential, others engage directly with industry, using their production assets to hone the participant’s skills in a meaningful way.

2.      Subsidised Training. This is being launched at the Animation Showcase on the 16th of July. It’s an opportunity for employers to access the very best graduates from across the Creative Skillset accredited Universities via a database of 50-80 graduates from across the UK. Through this scheme you can access 50% match funding for up to ten trainees for up to eighteen months. And it goes up to industry standard levels of pay, so if you’re looking to crew up this could be quite a substantial pot of money.

3.      Challenge Fund. This will match-fund skills development needed by individuals or employers. This might be boot camps, work experience, internships, apprentiships, funding for management, leadership, health and safety. In fact the scheme is incredibly broad and could help make a big difference, especially to a smaller studio. As Oli Hyatt from Blue Zoo put it, “It’s free money to employ people! Do it!”

But it’s not entirely free. What is? The government is funding this project for two years but in order to make the money stretch further Creative Skillset is asking participating companies to pay a levy to access the funding. This works out at 0.5% of your production budget, but, as one attendee said to me, you’re going to get more out of it than you put in. This way Creative Skillset hope to keep the pot topped up and stretch it beyond the end of the Government’s commitment.

If there was one message from this session it’s that Creative Skillset are here to help the industry, all we have to do is get in touch.

Miles Bullough, Managing Director – Wildseed Studios

Rebecca Davies, Partnership Manager, Film and Animation – Creative Skillset
Marion Edwards, Executive Producer – Hit Entertainment
Tim Searle, Director/Producer – Baby Cow Animation

Helen Brunsdon, Animation Producer and Consultant –

Executive Producer
Marion Edwards, VP Production – Hit Entertainment

Event Reports

Niel Bushnell, Animation Producer/Director – Qurios

About the author

Niel Bushnell

Qurios, Animation Producer/Director

Niel has worked in animation for almost 20 years, starting in traditional 2D feature production before moving into the 3D world of computer games. In 2002 he established his own animation studio, Qurios, producing commercial, corporate and broadcast animation. He's just co-produced two animated episodes of Doctor Who, as well… Read more