Leading creative software developer Foundry has shared news that its two-year collaboration with global non-profit organization ACCESS: VFX, a mentorship program focused on driving inclusion and diversity in the VFX, animation, and gaming industries, has culminated in matching over 2,293 young people with industry mentors.
The e-mentoring program, created in 2019, began with 100 mentees looking for routes into the industry. Today, that same initiative has partnered over 2,293 budding creatives aged 13-65 with dedicated mentors working in VFX, animation, and gaming – an increase of 155% in global sign-ups since 2021. The program has a global reach matching mentors and mentees in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and recently expanded to mainland Europe with the support of new sponsor, Netflix. Its growth in the number of engaged mentees and mentors from various backgrounds and cultures is working to help broaden diversity and inclusivity across the industry.
The program helps those entering or re-entering creative industries, allowing mentees to forge connections and support from industry professionals in a vast range of roles. The roles most desired by mentees are 3D animator (32%), 2D animator (18%), and compositor (16%).
ACCESS: VFX has added new updates to the 2023 program, including a Q&A feature allowing individuals to provide details, sign up as a mentor, or ask the VFX community a question. The latter provides quick answers from professionals without having to be part of the program.
“Prospela [industry mentoring network company] has been providing invaluable personalized guidance and support after my recent studies and during my mid-career change,” shared mentee alum Sofi who now works in VFX production. “With the help of experienced mentors from the VFX industry, I have been able to learn, grow in confidence, and achieve my professional goals.”
Dupe VFX editor and mentee Raiyana added, “Being connected to a mentor through ACCESS: VFX has helped me to be more confident with my choices and how to navigate problems whilst sharing each other’s experiences with work.”
“Our mentors’ remarkable work is crucial to help drive change,” said ACCESS: VFX founder Simon Devereux. “The VFX, animation, and gaming industries are difficult to break into for those just starting out, and even more so for those with underprivileged backgrounds. Thanks to Foundry’s continued support, we can keep providing the next generation with the necessary tools and skills for their creative careers, whether that’s nearby or the far corners of the world,” says Simon Devereux, Founder of ACCESS: VFX “Foundry’s collaboration is fundamental to the global growth of the e-mentorship scheme and our goal to diversify and expand the pool of talent across all disciplines.”
“At Foundry, we understand the significance of providing new talent with accessible tools and support to facilitate their job search, be it for students or lifelong learners,” commented Foundry senior director of marketing Jen Goldfinch. “As part of our dedication to increasing accessibility for aspiring creatives from diverse backgrounds to grow and thrive in the industry, we are delighted to announce our continued support for the Access VFX mentor program for the fourth consecutive year.”