7 September 2017

This month Gateway Sixth Form College in Hamilton, will offer the first ever Games, Animation and VFX diploma written by Aim Awards and major studios Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft and the Oscar winning Framestore, through the industry link maker Next Gen Skills Academy. After a successful application process, Gateway will be the only post 16 college in the whole of the Midlands delivering the groundbreaking new course, which is good news for the college as Next Gen Skills Academy are only recruiting a cohort of a dozen colleges across the country.

Adam Miller, the Games and VFX teacher at Gateway, explains, “This is an unprecedented opportunity for young people in the area who are serious and ambitious about a career in these industries. Students usually have to wait until university to create networks but through Next Gen, all students will have access to webinars and will even be receiving feedback from an assigned mentor direct from the studios themselves, developing a relationship before they start university.”

Will Cook, Animation Director for Bluezoo’s Go Jetters for CBeebies insisted, “If it’s going to be a career, something you will be doing for the rest of your life and you’re doing it in your own time already then surely it’s the right thing for you to do.”

According to Next Gen, in recent years UK based studios have seen a shortage in newly qualified graduates able to fulfil the needs of their businesses, this course aims to educate students in all areas that the employers have demand in; programming and mathematics, fine art drawing skills, 3D modelling, animation and visual effects. Many of the sponsoring studios have been developing apprenticeships for both college and university level candidates. Adam Miller adds, “Being informed via Next Gen of when apprenticeships are available gives passionate, skilled students a very real notion that they can gain an invaluable experience leading to a dream job in this competitive industry – it’s theirs if they work hard enough.”

At this year’s Next Gen graduate showcase in London over 30 employers visited, showing the huge support the course has. Some Gateway staff and students who will be starting in September 2017 met some of the graduates and employers, including Amy Smith, Head of Recruitment for VFX at Framestore (Guardians of the Galaxy, Gravity, Deadpool 2 and Beauty and the Beast), Luke Savage, Senior Academic Development Manager for Sony Interactive Entertainment, Denise McShane, Talent and Diversity Manager for ILM (Star Wars: Rogue One, Transformers, Jurassic World) and Marcia Deakin, Games Partnership Manager for NextGen Skills Academy, who was part of the application panel. Deakin explained Gateway College’s appeal, “With the team I have met already and the facilities Gateway has, this could be a stand out course for the NextGen cohort of colleges.”

The Aim Award Diploma will run as a fulltime course starting as a Diploma in the 1st year and students will progress onto the Extended Diploma in the 2nd year. The course will be the equivalent to 3 A levels and associated UCAS points. The College is accepting applications for 2018 enrolment and are holding an Open Day on Saturday 11th November from 10am – 1pm. For more information about the Next Gen course at Gateway College, or telephone 0116 274 4500.


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