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First Challenge Fund Applications Welcomed

The first two applications to the £8m Creative Skillset Challenge Fund have been approved, as the body seeks to increase the number of people trained in the animation software, CelAction.
The news follows Chancellor George Osborne's announcement in March regarding additional Treasury funding and tax relief for film, animation, TV, VFX and games.
It was revealed the Treasury would allocate co-investment through Creative Skillset's Skills Investment Fund (SIF) of £16m over two years to match that of the industry, leading to a total of £32m.
As part of the SIF, Creative Skillset's Challenge Fund opened recently for employers across the industry to bid for co-investment of up to £8m until 2015.
Mackinnon & Saunders Digital Studio was awarded funding to run a two-week intensive training course to establish a team of CelAction animators within the north west of England. A successful application from Cutlass Productions will support CelAction training with modules in rigging, animation and advanced features for the south east of England.
Ian Mackinnon, Director at Mackinnon and Saunders Digital, said: "For our latest show, Wanda and the Alien, we researched several software options and CelAction is the most appropriate for our needs.
"With no appreciable CelAction skills base in the North West, however, we were delighted and hugely appreciative that the Creative Skillset Challenge Fund is able to help us train skilled animators to work with this new software."
David Curry from Cutlass Productions said: "This training action will ultimately not only improve the digital production capability in our local area but also make a real difference in our company's ability to secure broadcast commissions for our animation shows currently in development. Hence, it directly helps generate high-tech jobs in our region and increases the chance of another global smash hit such as Peppa Pig emerging from these shores."
Dinah Caine CBE, CEO of Creative Skillset, said: "We are delighted the panel has awarded funding to these applications. The Challenge Fund addresses the skills priorities identified by the industries while enabling employers to deliver and shape the training to suit their own requirements."
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