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NextGen Games Animation and VFX Skills level 3 (Hillsborough) at Sheffield College

Course description

The Sheffield college 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. All employers in every sector are looking for learners who can communicate, work well in a team and have good computation thinking.

You will develop technical skills in animation, 3D modelling and the creation of visual effects. You'll learn about production pipelines, process management and the importance of commercial feasibility. Practical experience of using Agile and Scrum as project management techniques are also an important element of the qualification; you will hone your skills as a leader and team player.

On top of these advanced technical and project management skills, you will research an emerging technology or trend and present your findings. You'll work to industry briefs, applying your new skills just as you would use them in the workplace. You'll also develop study skills that will be invaluable if you go on to higher education.


You will work in one of our specialist PC studios, each emulating a commercial industry work environment, with a strong focus on practical workshops and project based learning. You will develop your skills and complete industry-based assignment briefs in which you will produce a body of work to contribute to a portfolio of games, animation and VFX work. Over the two years you will work as part of a team on project briefs designed to develop team working, communication and critical thinking skills. Maths and coding are embedded into Games Development, Animation and VFX contexts. This is vocational education supported by industry and delivered by elite colleges, selected by an industry panel with an excellent track record of academic achievement and working collaboratively in partnership with industry.

The course is assessed through a series of assignments including portfolio work, development blogs, written reports and programming assessments. You will need to have good time management skills and be able to work to targets and deadlines.

Course content

What are the key things you'll learn?

As well as the delivery of relevant and up to date course content, written by industry to replicate today’s real-world work environment, you will have unprecedented access to industry mentors and industry-designed live briefs; set and assessed by a group of leading companies from the sectors being studied.

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

• Fundamental Animation Skills for the Game, Animation and VFX Industries

• VFX Fundamentals 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

5 GCSEs at 4 -9 /A*-C including a minimum grade 4 in English Language and Mathematics.

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.



This course is classroom taught and you will have opportunities to develop your creative skills through instructor led workshops. Over the two years, you will work in teams on project briefs and game jams designed to develop team working, communication and critical thinking skills. Programming is a fundamental aspect of the course, and maths plays a significant role in developing games, animation and VFX outcomes.

Financial information


At The Sheffield College we will always do our best to support you through your studies, to make them as stress free as possible. We have a specialist support team who can give you all the advice you need on all things financial, including what might be available to you, so that you don’t go short and you can concentrate all your efforts into your studies.

Free meals

If you meet the eligibility criteria we’ll be able to support you with free meals. You’ll get an amount of money that you can use within the college shops and diners per day. This will be added to your student ID card which you will just swipe to purchase items.

Travel passes

Students (including Apprentices) of The Sheffield College who live in South Yorkshire are eligible for a 16–18 Student Pass which entitles pass holders to cheaper travel on buses and trams in South Yorkshire. Pass holders are also entitled to half fare on Northern train services in South Yorkshire.

Learner Support Fund

If you are enrolled with us, you may receive support towards the cost of:

  • Travel

  • Books and materials

  • Uniform and equipment

  • Essential course trips

  • NUS extra

  • DBS checks needed for your course (previously known as CRB)
  • UCAS registration fee and travel to interviews when applying for university

Future opportunities

Where can it lead?

This course is nationally recognised within industry and commerce. Successful candidates can expect to find employment opportunities in software development, computer animation and visual effects industries. Examples of potential career progression opportunities are 2D games artist, concept artist, graphic designer, technical artist, games designer, games animator, environment artist, level designer, games producer, user interface designer and sound designer. This qualification could also form part of the basis for application to a Higher Education course (degree, foundation degree, HNC/HND) in a video-games related discipline.

Further information

Open Days

Why not come and see for yourself. Visit us on one of our open evenings and meet the people who will be teaching you, have a chat about what the course involves and look round our fantastic facilities where you’ll be learning.

Our City, Hillsborough, Peaks and Olive Grove campuses will be open on the following days:

Thursday 25th October 2018 4pm -7pm

Wednesday 21st November 2018 4pm-7pm

Tuesday 29th January 2019 4pm-7pm

Monday 4th March 2019 4pm-7pm

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 01 October 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Course code: HFNGD1


  • More information
    • Welcome to Hillsborough Campus

      Our Hillsborough campus in the north of the city is our creative hub with Art and Design, Photography, Fashion, and Music all based at the campus alongside more traditional courses such as A-Levels and our strong Sports base.

      The facilities at Hillsborough really have to be seen to be believed (why don’t you check out the tour!) from shiny Mac suites, which there are numerous, to sprung dance studios, a theatre and a TV studio.

      Hillsborough’s not just for those who are confident on the stage or in front of the camera, it also has a stage production workshop for set design and prop making, a wire tension grid which provides a strong, safe and virtually invisible platform for lighting changes to be made.

      Hillsborough also has a gym, a 3G sports pitch and a sports hall which is available for use for all, not just those studying Sport.

      If you need childcare, no problem! The Hillsborough campus has an Ofsted Outstanding rated nursery onsite.


      Hillsborough Campus, Livesey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S6 2ET

      By Car

      From the M1 take Junction 33 onto the Sheffield Parkway.

      Take a right onto Derek Dooley Way/A61 and follow the A61 for approximately 2 miles.

      When you reach a KFC restaurant on your left and Owlerton Stadium on your right, turn right onto Livesey Street. Hillsborough Campus is located approximately 300 metres down Livesey Street, on the right hand side.


      Unfortunately the only on-site parking available at Hillsborough is for Blue Badge holders (more access information can be found here), however there is pay and display on-street parking and car parks available nearby.

      By Train

      Once you arrive at the station your best bet is to hop on a tram – the train station even has its own tram stop. See the Tram section below for more details.

      By Tram

      Pick up a blue line tram heading towards Malin Bridge and get off at Hillsborough or Hillsborough Park – both of which are around 5 minutes away.

      You can use the Supertram website to plan your journey and get up to date information about fares.

      By Bus

      There are a number of different buses that stop near Hillsborough Campus – too many to list here in fact!

      Check out the Travel South Yorkshire website for further details.

      By Bike

      Hillsborough has secure bike storage on site. Please speak to Student Services to register and gain access to the storage facilities.


      For accessibility information please see the Disabled Go website here.