Skillset appoints new Computer Games and Animation Skills Manager

3 March 2009

Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the Creative Media Industries, today announced the appointment of Saint John Walker as their new Computer Games and Animation Skills Manager.

Executive Director Kate O’Connor said:

“We are very pleased to welcome Saint to the Skillset team.

“As Computer Games and Animation Skills Manager he will play a crucial role in driving forward Skillset’s work programme of boosting the skills and talent pool for the UK’s gaming and animation industries. This includes supporting our work around convergence and exploiting the skills opportunities for these crucial sectors presented by Digital Britain.” she said.

Saint brings to Skillset over 10 years of experience in animation and computer gaming. He joins Skillset from the Film and Digital Media Exchange (FDMX), where he was a founding member of‘Games Eden’ - the East of England’s games business networking organisation.

“My work in education has always been about trying to increase the quality and relevance of skills in the computer games and animation sectors,” Mr Walker said.

“To me, the current economic climate means not only preserving and consolidating what we’ve got, but also being ambitious and forward thinking about future possibilities and business opportunities.”

“Skillset’s research tells us what skills we’re missing and what needs to be done, and I hope to apply imagination and hard graft to ensuring that skills gaps are lessened, if not eradicated,” he said.

The UK is the fourth-largest video-games market in the world. In 2007 the retail software market grew by 26% to reach a record value of£1.7 billion. More than 22, 000 people are employed by the Games Industry in the UK. The UK remains the preferred location for the European Headquarters of global games publishers such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Eidos, Codemasters and Microsoft.

The UK animation workforce is world renowned– with several successes to its credit including children’s TV hits such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Wallace and Gromit and Bob the Builder and recently London-based Framestore created a full-length animated feature film for Universal studios "The Tale of Despereaux" The UK animation workforce numbers over 4,700 and leading distributors and publishers Pixar Animation Studios, Dreamworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation all have significant operations in the UK.

Ian Livingstone, Creative Director at Eidos and Chair of Skillset’s Computer Games Skills Council, welcomed the appointment saying that it came at an important time for UK gaming:

“Gaming is one of the jewels in Britain’s global business crown and UK games studios are major contributors to the UK economy. But the industry must be able to tap into the right skills and talent to maintain its position as one of the world leaders.”

“There is no quick fix to the skills challenge. But the work of Skillset and the Computer Games Skills Council is helping the industry move in the right direction,” he said.

Marion Edwards, VP of Current Programming at Hit Entertainment and Chair of Skillset’s Animation Skills Council, said:

“The UK animation industry is undergoing a period of dramatic change. It must be able to develop a workforce that is versatile and able to adapt to new platforms, styles and the needs of a new, more diverse range of clients.”

“I am therefore looking forward to working in partnership with Saint and his Skillset colleagues to ensuring UK animation can access the highly skilled and talented workforce it needs”.

Ends

For all media enquiries

Contact

Gary Townsend– Executive Director

e: garyt@skillset.org

t: 0207 713 9808

Notes for Editors

Skillset is the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Creative Media which comprises TV, film, radio, interactive media, animation, computer games, facilities, photo imaging and publishing. SSCs are licensed by the UK Government and by Ministers in the devolved administrations to tackle the skills and productivity challenge by sector. They are independent, UK-wide organisations, are employer-led, and actively involve trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders in the industry.


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