British Columbia is already home to the world’s largest animation and visual effects cluster, accounting for more than 70,000 full time equivalent jobs and more than $3 billion in annual income, and it is expected to continue growing, according the BC Chamber of Commerce.
Opportunities to learn the skills needed to enter the video game development, visual effects and animation industry will be expanded and enhanced by a new collaboration between Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) and the Centre for Entertainment Arts (CEA).
The collaboration will see KPU offer four diploma programs and a foundation certificate from dedicated computer labs at the university’s Richmond campus.
“Bringing the entertainment arts programs to Kwantlen Polytechnic University opens up a world of opportunity for students, for industry and for Richmond,” says Diane Purvey, KPU provost and vice president academic.
“At KPU, students will benefit from the vibrancy and diversity of our polytechnic offering, potentially inspiring amazing collaborative experiences between their digital creativity and programs such as fashion design and creative writing. In addition, as these are credit-bearing courses, students taking entertainment arts programs will have the opportunity to progress from their certificate or diploma studies into full degrees.”
Using CEA’s services, KPU will initially offer a diploma in advanced 3D animation and 3D modelling, a diploma in advanced VFX (virtual production), and a diploma in advanced game development.
A certificate in foundation in entertainment arts will be available for students needing to build a portfolio to apply for one of the diploma programs. In September 2023, KPU intends to add a diploma in advanced 2D digital animation production.
“The Centre for Entertainment Arts’ goal is to work with strong academic partners, such as Kwantlen Polytechnic University, to provide the best learning environment for students,” says Stuart McIlmoyle, chief operations officer, CEA.
“Our partnership includes KPU faculty delivering custom-designed curriculum, providing the latest industry software, and ensuring that students graduate with job-ready skill sets that are desired by top studios in the entertainment arts industry.”
The entertainment arts programs moving to KPU are currently at Langara College.
The move to KPU Richmond will enhance the campus’ position as a creative centre in the Lower Mainland. The entertainment arts computer labs will occupy refurbished space previously home to the Wilson School of Design before it moved to a new building on the campus in 2018.
Approximately 300 students are eligible to transfer to KPU in May. The university aims to steadily increase the number of seats it can offer, increasing the number of people skilled to enter Metro Vancouver’s growing video game development, virtual effects and animation industries.
Students transferring to KPU will start their studies in May 2022. The university is in the process of filling the remaining spaces in May and will welcome new applicants into the program in September 2022.