New animation club and awards will develop talented young UK animators

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The Young Animator of the Year UK club and awards will help them develop valuable skills for future university and job applications, whilst building a diverse talent pipeline for the animation, games and VFX industries.

Young Animator of the Year UK (YAY UK), an online club and awards programme for those aged 13 to 18, was today announced by ACCESS:VFX, an industry-led coalition of worldleading 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.

Image previewAn introduction to the world of animation and VFX
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. This is a great introduction to the creative feedback process, and the collaborative nature of working in VFX. 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.

Young Animator of the Year awards
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 lucky 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 incredible 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.”

To join the Young Animator of the Year UK club for free – visit: To keep up to date with the latest YAY UK announcements, follow @YoungAnimatorUK on Twitter and Instagram.

ACCESS:VFX is a global, industry-led, non-profit coalition comprised of over 50 leading companies, industry bodies and educational establishments in the VFX, animation and games industries. It focuses on actively pursuing and encouraging inclusion, diversity, awareness and opportunity under its four pillars of Inspiration, Education, Mentoring and Recruitment.

ACCESS:VFX has united over 350 passionate people – many from competing companies – around the common goal of addressing the lack of diversity in the VFX industry. Together, they have run more than 50 events and reached 4,000 potential future employees of primary school age and above in more than 19 UK cities – working with organisations including We Are Stripes, Into Film and This Ability. ACCESS:VFX’s innovative Slack mentoring programme is the glue that establishes meaningful, ongoing connections between interested young people and supportive industry mentors. To find out more about ACCESS:VFX please visit

About ScreenSkills

ScreenSkills is the industry-led skills body for the screen industries – film, television (including children’s, unscripted and high-end), VFX, animation and games. We are supporting economic recovery and future innovation and growth across the whole of the UK by investing in the skilled and inclusive workforce who are critical to the global success of the screen sector. We are funded by industry contributions to our Skills Funds,with National Lottery funds awarded by the BFI as part of its Future Film Skills strategy to help people get into the industry and progress within it, and by Arts Council England.

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