Our new joint initiative is pioneering in the visual effects world and offers an alternative to traditional higher education
Five third-year BA (Hons) Visual Effects Design and Production students from Arts University Bournemouth have joined us on a paid, extended placement while still meeting the requirements of the course, having initially worked for us on a temporary basis over the summer.
The arrangement is an innovative approach to employer engagement, enabling students to work in a real, professional production environment under the mentorship of industry professionals, while still being supported and assessed by the course team. This is the only scheme of its kind in the visual effects sector.
The students are paid to work at Outpost four days a week learning specialist, practical skills as employees, and attend Arts University Bournemouth one day a week for lectures and theoretical work. Course Leader, Paul Hilton, regularly visits the students at Outpost VFX, and they are managed and mentored by us.
The five students – Ollie Turner, Henry Medhurst, Zak Abdel-Illah, Justin Francis-McLeish and Lewis Hodd – are currently completing the final year of the course, whilst also participating in this unique arrangement.
The BA (Hons) Visual Effects Design and Production course focuses on preparing students for employment, working closely with industry specialists to provide students with the necessary skills for employability. Course Leader, Paul Hilton, said: “This course places strong emphasis on currency of knowledge and the employability of our students.
“Our industry staff ensure that our students are trained to the highest standard in the fundamentals of VFX – from the first year of the course. The aim is to make entry level positions accessible to them by the end of the first year.”
After visiting AUB as a guest lecturer for the course, our MD, Danny Duke, recognised the talent the students had to offer. He created the opportunity for the students to gain hands-on industry experience, initially providing a summer placement for five students. The arrangement provides tangible benefits for both parties.
“Outpost is in Bournemouth partly because of AUB. The talent is on our doorstep,” said Duke. “The students are earning and learning, on an accelerated path – they will graduate with experience ahead of other graduates.”
Outpost VFX Marketing Manager, Steve Holmes, said: “we think AUB trains students well, we can offer partnership and support in this unique arrangement and the benefits are untold.”
Final year Arts University Bournemouth student, Ollie Turner, has been working in Outpost’s 3D department. He explained: “You come to work here, and you’re actually working on TV, adverts and films, it’s a great learning experience.
“At Uni, we hear what it is like in industry, now we are actually experiencing it first-hand.
“We are given a wide range of things to work on. One of the nice things about it being smaller than some of the bigger London companies is that they are keen on getting us involved in everything.”
Justin Francis-McLeish, also in his third year of the course and working at Outpost VFX, was thrilled at the experience the opportunity had given him. “I’m honoured to have this opportunity. I recently got given a whole TV show episode to work on – I wouldn't be getting that kind of experience at a different company.
“Uni has prepared me for industry from the get go, in year one. When it came to working at Outpost, I was ready to go.
“I’ll be graduating with a year of industry experience already under my belt.”