Survey highlights skills gaps in Irish animation industry

Survey highlights skills gaps in Irish animation industry

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A new survey published today has found that Irish animation graduates are not “industry ready” when they leave college.

Studios were happy with graduates’ talent and ability but said there are some gaps in their software knowledge and soft skills. 60% of studios surveyed highlighted that a lack of knowledge in animation software programmes was an issue.

The ‘Skills Gaps in the Irish Animation Sector’ research report was commissioned in 2021 by Animation Ireland, the representative body for Irish animation studios, and funded by Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland (Screen Ireland), the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Animation Skillnet.

The report found that many colleges are training graduates in software programmes that are not used commonly in Irish animation studios. Given the fast growth of the industry in recent years and changes from traditional practices to digital outputs, colleges have focused on the fundamentals and principles of animation with the anticipation that students can adapt to new software. Additionally, Irish colleges currently do not offer dedicated 3D/CGI animation courses for students.

With recent advances in digital and remote opportunities, many Irish graduates are choosing to pursue opportunities with overseas studios. Only 10% of recent animation graduates are working for Irish animation studios. According to the report, one reason for this was that most content produced by Irish animation studios is aimed at children under 12 years and some graduates want to work on content aimed at broader and older audiences.

Commenting at the launch of the report, Animation Ireland Chief Executive, Ronan McCabe, said; ‘’The report found there is a great deal more communication needed between animation studios and third level institutions. We need to talk to each other more about skills requirements, and work more closely together in helping the students get industry ready. The report makes a number of key recommendations around this and we have already seen the launch of the National Talent Academy for Animation, funded by Screen Ireland, which will help to address some of the gaps.’’

Ronan went on to say; ‘’As the animation industry in Ireland continues to grow, we need to work harder and harder to attract the staff that we need. Animation is a fun, satisfying and rewarding career and we need to encourage more young people to join the sector. Animation Ireland’s job now is to look carefully at the report and its recommendations, consult with our studios and other stakeholders, and shape a path forward to the benefit of the sector for the future.’’

Gareth Lee, Skills Manager at Screen Ireland, commented “Screen Ireland welcomes the animation skills gap report published today. We were delighted to fund this report through our Stakeholders scheme and we are keen to work together with Animation Ireland, animation studios and third level institutions to act on the recommendations in the report, starting with the formation of an industry/education skills committee that will be convened later this year.’’

The ‘Skills Gaps in the Irish Animation Sector’ research report was produced by Yvonne Hennessy, an animation professional with over 20 years of experience and a lecturer at the Technological University of the Shannon. She is a regular contributor to academic journals and international conferences.

A full copy of the report and its findings can be found here.

Animation Ireland is the trade association for Ireland’s animation studios. The animation sector directly employs more than 2,000 people, a number that is rapidly growing year on year. Animation Ireland now has 35 member studios, up from 25 in 2018 and just 14 in 2015.

Fís Éireann/Screen Ireland is the development agency for the Irish film, television and animation industry. Screen Ireland’s mission is to support and promote Irish film, television and animation through fostering Irish artistic vision and our diverse creative and production talent, growing audiences, and attracting filmmakers and investment into the country.

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