Man working as an animator with two computers in front of him.
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Tech skills for film, animation and gaming need investment, says report

4 Nov 2022

Industry experts said that up to 90pc of hires come from outside Ireland as the country’s third-level institutions do not address the skills needed.

Ireland should establish a specialist centre for the development of tech skills for sectors such as animation, film and gaming.

That’s according to a new report, which looked into possible locations for such a centre as well as how the Irish economy might benefit from embracing screen technologies.

The report was produced by TechIreland and commissioned by the Skillnet groups that serve the screen tech sectors – Animation Skillnet, Immersive Technologies Skillnet and Screen Skillnet.

The report argued that if Ireland wants to be a global leader in the screen tech space, an innovation lab could support the training and research needs of the animation, screen, gaming and immersive sectors.

It found that employers in this space have difficulty sourcing staff, and this skills gap will only get wider as screen technologies continue to advance and the arts and tech converge even more.

Ireland has several film studios such as Ardmore Studios and Troy Studios that are engaged in R&D and skills training. There are also others in development, including Hammerlake Studios and Ashbourne Studios. However, the country has no central resource for national skills development in this space.

As part of the report, 100 companies working in animation, film, gaming and immersive tech were surveyed. More than 40 industry experts both in Ireland and abroad were also interviewed to assess the level of support for a skills centre.

The majority of respondents were supportive of the proposal to establish a centre that focuses on R&D, tech and the arts.

According to industry experts, up to 90pc of the people they hire come from outside of Ireland. This is because countries such as Denmark, Spain and France have colleges that produce graduates with skills needed in areas such as animation and VFX.

Respondents said that Skillnet is doing a good job of addressing some of the native skills gaps, but that third-level institutions should produce people more prepared to enter the industry.

More than 80pc of respondents from Irish companies said they would be very likely to avail of online training that such a centre could provide. While an online resource would be of value to the sector, most of the industry experts interviewed said a physical skills centre would also be needed.

They added that training and talent development would be priorities in the short term, while longer-term priorities would focus on R&D.

In terms of location, a university, start-up space, film studio or standalone hub were included as options. Some respondents suggested a hub-and-spoke model for the centre, which would serve as a network for public and private organisations around the country.

The report did not identify a definitive funding channel, but experts said that the equipment the centre would require would cost up to €3m. Building costs would depend on the location.

Ireland-based tech multinationals such as Meta, Google, Activision, Riot Games and Microsoft were mentioned as possible partners and sponsors.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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