Short courses

Talent gap in animation, visual effects industry, short courses to the rescue

The Animation, Visual Effects, Games and Comics (AVGC) industry is currently booming in India with one of the highest growth rates in the world. This fact was recently highlighted in the 2022 budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who proposed a sector task force to help India meet both domestic growth and global demand.

The number of gamers in India has grown to over 400 million from 250 million in 2018-2019, according to the KPMG 2021 report. This incredible growth has created huge opportunities as new sources of value have been unlocked in the AVGC industry . But it also poses a major challenge in terms of the existing skills gap in this sector which could potentially stunt its growth over the next five years.

The solution to this looming skills shortage crisis is to provide students with short-term, targeted courses in world-class creative technologies. This will ensure that world-class training can be delivered quickly to new students and that the existing workforce can be qualified to meet new challenges facing the AVGC industry, such as the advent of virtual production or the development of the metaverse.

Short courses to bridge the skills gap

The next question is, what are these new job opportunities in AVGC and where are the skills gaps? The answer to this question is rather complex as there are over 20 distinct job descriptions per segment in the AVGC industry that require diverse skill sets. For example, some of the job descriptions in the gaming industry are: Level Designer, Narrative Designer, Technical Artist, Game Developer, Programmer, Game Tester, Sound Designer, Modelers, Animators, and Concept Artist.

While some of these jobs require skills that take a long time to learn and are best handled in traditional institutes with four-year undergraduate courses, most of the skill shortage issues lie in roles like artist technical or level designers who can easily be trained in new creative technologies in much shorter courses, usually lasting less than a year.

Currently, there are also up to 7.7 lakh students who drop out from regular undergraduate university courses in India every year. Many of these students do not get an employable education. Short-term courses in subjects such as animation, visual effects, game design, and virtual production can help hone these students toward employable careers in the booming AVGC industry.

There is an urgent need to ensure that India’s Gen Z are gainfully employed in pursuits they naturally love and enjoy. With a base of over 400 million gamers in India, it’s overwhelmingly clear that young people love gaming on mobiles, PCs and consoles. If even a small percentage of these young people can be trained to create what they love to consume, India’s AVGC industry can easily solve its skills gap problem.

With young people turning to new and different modes of communication and the increasing gamification of our everyday existence, it has become imperative that our traditions and stories are also told in a format and medium that appeals to the new generation. As seen in films like Bahubali, Magadheera and director S Rajamouli’s upcoming RRR, Indian tales told with high quality visual effects can be a big hit with Indian and international audiences.

If we can effectively train our youth in the creative technologies of tomorrow and address the current skills gap in the AVGC sector, India can become a force to be reckoned with in the international digital content creation space, overtaking countries like China and propelling another revolution, like the computer revolution of the 1990s that helped make today’s India a dominant force in the world.

– Written by CB Arun Kumar, Academic Director, EDGE by Pearl Academy, National Animation Award Winner and AVGC Industry Veteran

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