NextGen Games Animation & VFX Skills Level 3 (Hillsborough)

Start Date
Course Course
Media, Photography & Journalism
Hillsborough Campus

About this Course

This two year course will give you the entry-level skills you need to work in the Games, Animation and Visual Affects (VFX) industries. The Sheffield College (one of only 8 colleges in the UK working with NextGen) has collaborated with employers to identify the skills that are crucial in these fast moving digital industries. You will develop technical, artistic, maths and programming skills that are vital to the successful creation of any game, animation or visual effects sequence. Over two years, students will build specialist portfolios relevant to industry needs and as preparation for either working in these sectors or as a progression to higher education or higher apprenticeships.

Key Units

Year One

  • The Games, Animation & VFX Industries
  • Analytical Maths and Programming Skills
  • Art Fundamentals for the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • VFX Fundamentals for the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • Fundamental Animation Skills for the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • 3D Tools & Principles
  • Core Principles of Game Design
Year Two
  • Images & Sounds for Imagined Worlds
  • Story Playboarding
  • Production Management for the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • Business & Common Working Practice in the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • Emerging Technologies and Trends in the Game, Animation and VFX Industries
  • Creative & Technical 3D Modelling

Entry Requirements

Minimum of five GCSEs at grade C / grade 4 or above, including English Language.

You’ll also need strong IT skills, self-motivation and a passion for Computer Games, Animation and VFX.

This course is suitable for 16-18 and 19+ learners.


The course is assessed through a series of assignments including:

  • Portfolio work
  • Development blogs
  • Written reports
  • Programming assessments
You will need to have good time management skills and be able to work to targets and deadlines.

Where does this Lead

The course will support your career and help prepare you for a wide range of potential jobs in creative and digital media. You'll leave with both essential skills and a strong portfolio that demonstrates your potential, whether you decide to go straight into the workplace, study for a second year or take an Apprenticeship.

The next step could be on our Foundation Degree in Creative Digital Practice or alternative Higher Education course in Games, Animation or VFX.

Future Opportunities

The design of the course has been led by award-winning employers including Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Codemasters, Aardman, Pinewood, Blue Zoo, Centroid, Double Negative, Framestore, MPC and The Imaginarium. The NextGen Level 3 Diploma in Games, Animation and VFX Skills ensures young people are industry ready with the right skills and knowledge for the workplace. It equips students with a foundation in art, design, maths and computing skills, which are highly desirable to industry.

Career opportunities may include:
  • Animator
  • Modeller
  • Games artist
  • Game designer

Tell Me More

Who is this course for?

An ideal student for this course is one who is hardworking and motivated with a keen interest in the world of Games, Animation & VFX.
Prospective students should consider themselves to be creative, have some skill at drawing and willing to get involved in the coding and maths elements behind making games.

Teaching Quality and Expertise
The Sheffield College are one of only 8 colleges in the UK approved to deliver the NextGen Skills academy qualification.

Extra Costs

You will be required to pay a £25 studio fee at the beginning of the academic year to contribute to course materials.

The purchase of some specialist tools and equipment will also be required (e.g. sketchbooks and media storage). This should not exceed £150 p.a.

The course also includes trips and visits. Past educational trips have included:
  • Play Expo Manchester
  • EGX
  • EGX: Rezzed
  • The National Video Game Arcade
  • Warner Bros Studio Tour
Support for course-related expenses may be available through the Learner Support Fund.

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