Northern Ireland

New course for school leavers with passion for games, animation and visual effects

The course aims to bolster games, animation and visual effects expertise in three FE colleges in NI
The course aims to bolster games, animation and visual effects expertise in three FE colleges in NI The course aims to bolster games, animation and visual effects expertise in three FE colleges in NI

A new course for school leavers with a passion for games, animation and visual effects is on offer from September.

NextGen Skills Academy and the Northern Ireland Screen joined forces to "enhance creative education" in the north.

The course aims to bolster games, animation and visual effects expertise in three Further Education colleges in Northern Ireland.

The two-year pilot programme will facilitate direct industry engagement from a range of international and local creative studios, improving students' employability prospects in the creative industries, one of the fastest growing sectors in Northern Ireland’s economy.

Notable partners include Industrial Light & Magic, renowned for their visual effects work in franchises such as Star Wars and Indiana Jones, as well as Creative Assembly, the force behind international gaming franchises like Total War.

Blue Zoo, the animation studio responsible for family favourites such as Numberblocks and The Adventures of Paddington, are also involved.

From this September, Belfast Met, Northern Regional College and Southern Regional College will offer the courses.

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Each college will deliver a Level 3 vocational course - equivalent to three A-levels - aimed at school leavers who have a passion for games, animation and visual effects (VFX).

Marcia Deakin, co-founder of NextGen, said: "The screen industries are vibrant across Northern Ireland and we look forward to working closely with local studios to create an employer steering group.

"Through this work and our industry engagement opportunities, students will gain valuable exposure to current best practices, boosting their confidence and employability skills, thus laying a strong foundation for their creative careers."

Richard Williams from NI Screen, said the partnership will "empower students in three FE colleges across Northern Ireland, fostering a generation of trailblazers, armed with the skills, knowledge, and inspiration to leave an indelible mark on the global stage of digital creativity, and further harnessing innovation and elevating Northern Ireland's creative potential".

Christine Brown from Northern Regional College said the collaboration highlighted how FE colleges are responding to changing employer needs.

For information, please visit each college’s website.