After all, it's no use teaching our students outdated technology - we need to know what the industry needs now, and what kind of skills graduates will need in the future.
At the meeting the main subject for discussion was Brexit - and what this will mean for the creative industries in the UK. So, what can the creative industries do to solve the problems posed by this looming upheaval?
The Challenge of Brexit
|Caroline Julian, CIF|
Our main guest speaker was Caroline Julian, Deputy Head of Policy and Public affairs at the Creative Industries Federation. The CIF identified Brexit as the biggest problem that the creative industries faces. Why? Because the creative industries are among the most global, drawing in talent from all over the world. Restricting access to that talent is the industry's biggest fear.
Jellyfish Animation spoke of the "massive skills shortage" facing animation companies here in the UK. In the UK only 50% of staff are actually from the UK, so access to foreign talent is one of the key drivers of the industry. One London VFX house said that "just 30% of the shop floor are actually from the UK" - the rest are from overseas. The message was simple: London is a creative hub - and it needs to stay that way.
What Industry Needs
Our industry guests all agreed that industry needs easy access to visas for overseas talent. These visas need to be fast, and cheap, because the creative industries have very fast turnarounds - as little as 24 hours! Weeks or months won't work - if the visa application takes longer, the "job is already done".
The Challenge for Universities
Industry also agreed that the standard of graduates in the UK needs to rise steeply, and quickly, to help bridge this skills gap. Degrees need to be “more creative, and less academic”. Students need to work on "more group projects", and “quicker group projects” - because students "get good at stuff by repeating the process". And universities and colleges "need to be harder on students". Students "need to try harder - because standards are rising all the time".
At Escape Studios we embrace new challenges and, we're leading the way students work and learn. They work in groups on industry designed briefs that replicate the real work place and, mirror a studio environment from day one.
The Good News
Every cloud has a silver lining, and the good news for our students is that the opportunities for UK graduates could improve, simply because UK-based companies will have to look closely at sourcing junior talent locally. The challenge for Universities and Colleges in the UK is that we need to make sure that we are giving our students the right skills to succeed in industry. Here at Escape Studios we embrace this challenge. After all, studio-ready talent is what we're all about.
Learn more about the challenges the Creative Industries in the UK faces. Read the recent article in the Guardian.
The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MArt starting in September 2017, follow this link. We train all our students with practical real-world skills, to give them the best possible chance of a career in industry. To see some of our animation success stories, follow this link.