Foundry, the leading developer of creative software for the media and entertainment industries, today celebrates supporting over 900 mentees to VFX industry mentors as part of its two-year collaboration with the ACCESS:VFX mentorship programme for young people in the creative industries.
ACCESS:VFX is a global non-profit organisation focused on driving inclusion and diversity in the visual effects, animation and games industries.
Since it was set up in 2019, their e-mentoring programme partnered over 900 new talents in the creative industries aged 13 to 65 with supportive VFX industry mentors. The programme has a global reach matching mentors and mentees in The UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The programme had expanded ninefold from a mere 100 mentees in 2019, has engaged mentees from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, and continues to broaden inclusivity in the industry.
The programme supports getting these mentees in a vast range of roles across VFX, animation and games, with the top desired roles being 3D animator (32% of mentees), 2D animator (19% of mentees), compositor (16% of mentees), VFX artist (15% of mentees) and character animator (14% of mentees).
Louise M Kalyango, a VFX production assistant at One of Us, is one of the mentees who joined the programme under the mentorship of Emma Kolasinka, executive producer at Moonraker VFX. With a background in graphic design at Ealing Green College and a passion for VFX that led her to undertake a course in computer visual effects with Escape Studios, Louise dreamt of working in 3D design. She joined the mentorship programme when working as a student ambassador, and she was impressed with ACCESS:VFX’s sense of community and their work driving diversity and inclusion.
“My main challenges were around developing soft skills to get recruited: learning how to get the correct message across to potential employers through my CV and cover letters and developing the confidence to speak with recruiters. These are all things that my mentor Emma helped me overcome. Since I’m still quite new at my job, it’s still taking me a lot of time and focus, especially when learning remotely. I touch base with my mentor a few times a week when she kindly checks up on me to see how I’m coping and how she could help me overcome new challenges, ” says Louise M Kalyango.
Emma Kolasinska, Executive Producer at Moonraker VFX and ACCESS: VFX mentor, comments: “The biggest challenges my mentees seem to face on leaving education is that they don’t seem to have been taught where to look for work and the skills they need to apply and interview. Now they have the challenge of having most things being remote. It has been challenging for them to learn the ropes of a new role in a hybrid environment. I also believe that education about what jobs are available is hugely important for new joiners and feeling that everyone can be included. I am hugely proud of the mentorship platform in particular. The fact that over 70 VFX companies from all over the world have got behind it for positive change is a credit to the VFX community.”
ACCESS: VFX founder and chair Simon Devereux said: “The year-round work our ACCESS: VFX mentors undertake to break down barriers and provide opportunities for new and emerging talent is truly remarkable. Thanks to the Foundry’s continued support for our e-mentoring program, we’ll be able to continue to give the next generation of creatives the tools and skills they need to undertake a career in our industry. The work that we all produce, the value we contribute both financially and culturally, will be far more relevant, impactful and meaningful as a result.”
Jennifer Goldfinch, Director, global industry marketing at Foundry, also comments: “We offer more than just software to the creative industry – we provide multiple valuable initiatives that go above and beyond our product portfolio. After two years of supporting this programme, we wanted to reinforce our commitment to making the visual effects industry as accessible as possible to new joiners from a broader range of backgrounds. Through our education initiatives and accessible software packages, we also want to ensure that the new talent in our industry is well equipped to meet its ever-increasing market demands.”