Like most 13 & 14 years olds, my son hasn’t really got a clue what he wants to do when he’s older, all he knows if that he doesn’t want to go to Uni, and I’m actually ok with that.
Brandon has a great mind; he’s amazing but not very academic. His reports always say he can verbally give the most in depth, thought out, extremely intellectual answers but when it comes to actually writing it down, he struggles with the bare minimum. He just can’t seem to fully express himself on paper. He already feels an apprenticeship is the right option for him, and I’m so proud of him for being mature enough to make such a decision.
At the moment he can’t decide between a manual career such as electrician or plumber (he says people will always need a qualified tradesman and he’s right), but he also loves and completely excels at computing, coding and design too. He just doesn’t feel like he would excel in a classroom with a teacher ‘lecturing’ them.
However, NextGen Skills Academy is a new organisation that is addressing this. They’re launching a new college course from this September called the Level 3 Extended Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills, which will give students aged 16+ a qualification that is comparable to three A Levels. What’s interesting about it is that people on the course get access to real employers, who might either set them briefs that people work on in real life, or act as mentors to them. Some will also be involved in assessing the work done on the course and students will be able to develop a portfolio of their work, which they can use when they go onto higher education or apply for apprenticeships. A higher apprenticeship offers a work-based learning programme, which combines on the job training with studying for high-level qualifications and is another great starting point for young people to get into the careers of their choice.
This kind of educational environment would be much more suited to Brandon and his style of learning. I know it would catch his attention and inspire him with the tasks he finds a little harder.
The other side that really excites me is that NextGen is supporting a selection of games and VFX companies in the creation of three higher apprenticeships, which have been approved for development; one role in games, and two roles in VFX. The games apprenticeship is Quality Assurance Technician, led by game developer Rebellion (with a further role of Community Coordinator, led by Ubisoft Reflections proposed for future development). The two VFX apprenticeships are Junior 2D Artist, led by Double Negative and Assistant Technical Director, led by Framestore. Just in case you don’t know these companies, Framestore worked on Gravity and Avengers: Age of Ultron and Double Negative has worked on everything from the Paddington movie to Captain Phillips. So pretty cool career prospects in pretty cool companies.
“NextGen’s aim is to be a leading developer of relevant, up to date qualifications and apprenticeships that will allow young people to develop exciting careers in the digital creative industries, while also providing employers with a dynamic talent pool of skilled individuals that will enable them to grow successful businesses,” said Gina Jackson, Managing Director at NextGen Skills Academy. “This is all about preparing students for the roles that employers are recruiting today.”
Not all teenagers are suited to the traditional college then Uni format, but have the capacity to achieve fantastic qualifications in the right environment. I’m so proud of Brandon for his ambition and drive, I know he’s going to be amazing whatever he decides to do.
For more information visit Next Gen Skills Academy