Young Animator of the Year UK (YAY UK), an online club and awards programme for those aged 13 to 18, has been launched by ACCESS:VFX.

ACCESS:VFX is the industry-led coalition of VFX, animation and games studios, together with the support of ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from UK animation productions.

YAY UK will provide aspiring animators with encouragement, professional tutorials and tips. The club represents a grassroots effort to boost diversity in the animation, games and VFX industry.

Young animators participating in the club will develop their skills by completing a series of hands-on creative animation challenges set by UK animation studios, designed for different skill levels and styles. Once challenges have been uploaded to the YAY UK platform, they’ll be viewed by animation industry professionals who will add constructive comments to the films. For complete online safety and parental peace of mind, usernames will be used to protect young peoples’ identities and all posts will be moderated by a DBS checked adult.

For those uploading work, the YAY UK competition will open in June. Awards will be given in the Best Stop-Motion Animator, 2D Animator and 3D Animator categories and will be split across two age groups – 11 to 14 and 15 to 18. The  winners will get exclusive tours of the UK’s best animation studios including Aardman and Blue Zoo. Their films will also be premiered at the Manchester Animation Festival in November 2021 – showcasing their work to an audience of  industry professionals.

Tom Box, co-organiser of YAY UK, board member of ACCESS:VFX, Chair of ScreenSkills Animation Skills Council and managing director of Blue Zoo Animation Studio, said: “Young people have missed out on a lot of opportunities over the past year. In light of this, we hope the YAY UK club and awards will give teenagers of all backgrounds some much-needed inspiration this summer and enable them to kick-start a rewarding, creative career in animation. I see YAY UK as a total win-win for our industry. We desperately need to build a diverse talent pipeline and this initiative is a great place to start.”

 

Jon Creamer