Ten years ago the team at Framestore identified a need to collaborate more closely with higher education institutions in order to support, influence and assist new entrants to the creative sector to be better industry focussed. Our efforts have taken on many forms over the years from providing guest lecturers, career guidance and coaching, attending events and job fairs, to being on course advisory boards, offering internships and providing hardware. In 2011 we embarked on a more concentrated collaboration than ever before by becoming a partner with the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) on a project called ‘Building the Bridge’; this has included many graduates working on our Oscar winning production, ‘Gravity’.
A search of the Creative Skillset website reveals over 400 courses across the UK that relate to the study of visual effects. But despite the large numbers of courses and graduates that are being produced, the industry still finds itself unable to find a sufficient number of appropriately skilled and qualified entry-level talent. It is our experience that it can be challenging for higher education to adapt to the rapidly evolving creative and technological sector in which we operate. Ensuring we have people equipped for jobs of the future, not the past, is the main challenge.
Our partnership with the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) was designed to address these issues. We set up a Framestore office on AUB’s campus in order to give us a location through which to focus our collaborative efforts. This also provided a bridge between education and industry that would allow us to provide better, more consistent and more developed training to new entrants to fast-track their careers with us. Since its inception, over 35 graduates have successfully transitioned through our Bournemouth facility. We have found that the hands on, industry relevant experience gained allows them to make a much smoother transition from education into the workplace. The collaboration has proved so successful that the AUB applied for funding through the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in order to expand and build upon what we had already achieved. In the future this project is predicted to impact on over 2100 students through industry designed courses, industry mentoring, internships and graduate employment; we hope that the lessons learnt can be spread to others across the creative industry.
While our work to collaborate with education has definitely provided us with significant gains in terms of the quality and quantity of skilled new-entrants joining our business, there is however still more that can be done. We actively supported the development of the Next Gen. report and its emphasis on putting computer science on the national curriculum and we are a key employer in an industry led bid to develop its recommendations into a Next Gen. Skills Academy.
We are also supporting the Forging Futures report - a joint report being created by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and Universities UK - in its efforts to examine existing partnerships and collaborations, the conditions that make those collaborations possible and the barriers that they face to success. By participating in the report we hope to help demonstrate existing best practice, such as our work with the AUB, and also to assist with promoting recommendations to improve collaboration in the future. On top of this we hope to gain inspiration from others’ experiences to ensure that we continue to have the right talent to maintain the growth that is happening across the creative sector and to solidify the UK’s reputation for world-beating imagery.