Dom, Mark and I were delighted to play hosts to Ed Vaizey – the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries – yesterday.
As I am typing these words, I can already hear you ask: “What is all that about”? “Why would the Minister for Culture visit Escape Studios”? Well, there are a whole bunch of good reasons as it happens.
Those of you who have read the NESTA Next Gen report published in February, and read the extensive coverage of its announcement, will know that Ed Vaizey has been advocating the need for better skills to support the games and visual effects industry and championing ways in which we can deliver better education and training for this growing sector.
It therefore made sense for him to come and visit Escape Studios. After all, we train more VFX artists in the UK than any other institutions. In fact, many of the recommendations made in the NESTA report go right at the heart of what we do.
Our aim has always been to deliver highly vocational, hands-on and intensive courses that will allow young artists to secure their first jobs. There are some striking statistics in the NESTA report. In particular those related to how few graduates find work in the visual effects or video games after graduation. 85% of our classroom students find work in the VFX industry after studying with us – so we must be doing something right!
Another good reason for the Minister to come and spend some time with us was to discuss some of the findings of our Creative Futures report, which we published 4 weeks ago. Among other things, our study found that 83% of creative graduates would consider a £5,000 pay cut for greater career opportunities that would ultimately lead to faster career progression. This startling set of statistics supports both what we have been doing at Escape Studios but also the key issues highlighted in the NESTA report.
We have accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge on how to train and engage the interest of aspiring artists since we first opened almost 10 years ago. As we were talking to Ed Vaizey, we could all see how the lessons we have learned in that time could be used to help drive the initiates that he is championing and we are quite looking forward to play a part and help make them happen.
Before the NESTA report was published we were already working on a project that would see us address its 14th recommendation: “Give prospective university applicants access to meaningful information about employment prospects for different courses”. We will soon be publishing the results of this work and we will let you all know when it is available later this summer.
In the meantime, if you have any comments or views on this subject, drop us a line here. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
If you want to find out more about Ed Vaizey’s vision for the games and visual effects industry, why not watch this video?