“The bridge program is in my mind one of the most progressive training programmes available in our industry. It allows studios to develop talent as they need it as well as giving the participants a fast tracked development program in their chosen field. In a few short months of the program I can say the progression of the candidates between graduate and experienced industry professional has been incredible and I would now easily consider the bridge experience as a distinct advantage when recruiting new team members.” Stephen Fagan, CEO, Treehouse Republic.
THE BRIDGE is an intensive 8 week programme that aims to take graduates and make them “Industry Ready” by offering them the experience of the culture of business and the expectation of the delivery of outputs. The Bridge participants will then “fit” quicker into a studio environment and begin to produce commercial work faster.
Participants on the Bridge programme are placed in studios for the 8 weeks where they receive on-the-job training. They also receive additional specialist training as needed. Participants must be either recent graduates from Animation, Games and VFX related courses or older graduates who are not working at the moment and who are trying to break into the industry.
The studios involved in the Bridge programme in previous years include Brown Bag Films, Havok, Riot Games, Jam Media, Piranhabar, Windmill Lane VFX, Treehouse Republic, Zink Films, Pink Kong Studios, Giant Animation, Egg Post Production, StoryToys, GLUE VFX, Fungus Games, Igloo Animation and Visual.
The Bridge has been a very successful programme to date with over 80% of Bridge participants going on to secure full time or contract work in the animation, vfx, games and related industries while others have continued on to further studies at third level.
Key Benefits of ‘The Bridge’ Programme to Participants
- Participants will either be placed in participating studios or will be provided with studio space in a professional environment in the GEC for 8 weeks.
- Participants will get to work on live projects supervised and mentored by studio professionals (example from the 2013 Bridge programme – short film by Brown Bag Films called ‘Anya’.
- Participants will have the opportunity to participate in specialised training sessions with industry professionals through Animation Skillnet and Screen Training Ireland for no additional cost.
- Participants can remain on social welfare over the course of the 8 weeks (40 days) but they must get approval from their social welfare office in advance. In addition, participants will receive a nominal bursary amount to cover out-of-pocket expenses over the 8 weeks.
“Being in the studio working with professionals and being treated as another professional with deadlines and standards to meet makes you grow. The learning curve is incredible. Getting daily feedback and having to deliver on a daily basis is the best training you can get. I can say I really learnt how the pipeline in a company works and I know that I’ll fit in quickly in any studio. I got a taste of how daily life in a studio is and I feel like I have proper studio experience under my belt.” Naiara Mixtelena, former Bridge participant who now works as an animator with Jam Media.
Key Benefits of ‘The Bridge’ Programme to Studios
- Studios can be involved in the participant selection process.
- Studios will get an opportunity to identify and trial possible new recruits in a risk-free way.
- Participants can work to help advance the projects of the studios over the 8 weeks.
- The studio and other studio staff members can also benefit from the training provided at no extra cost.
“Piranha Bar are delighted to have been involved this year with the Bridge programme. We had asked ourselves the question of whether we could take four very junior artists with little or no experience and train them to operate in a specific part of the visual effects pipeline successfully within a matter of weeks. With great enthusiasm from the participants and guidance from the studio, we were able to answer that question with a resounding yes. What we like about the programme is that by placing candidates seeking experience with studios exploring low budget or non financed projects, both parties benefit equally. Putting artists together with studios in this novel way generates great opportunities for both and we hope to see the programme continue to contribute to the industry in subsequent years.” Gavin Kelly, Creative Director, Piranha Bar.
“Two years into the programme and we can clearly see the benefits for both the companies seeking talent and those seeking the experience necessary to build the foundations of a successful career. This is a pivotal time for Ireland’s animation industry where the opportunities are huge. We cannot let a shortage of skills hinder us when we have so many with the talent and potential to drive us forward.” David O’Meara, former CEO, Havok and board member of Dublin BIC.
The Bridge programme is funded and supported by Animation Skillnet, Dublin Business Innovation Centre, the Guinness Enterprise Centre, the Irish Film Board and Screen Training Ireland.