The Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO) has partnered with Studio C, the World Bank / Korean Trust Fund, and the Ministry of Science, Energy, and Technology (MSET) to further develop Jamaica’s animation industry for investment and export opportunities through the Youth Employment in the Digital and Animation Industries (YEDAI) programme. The Creative Industries Education and Employment initiative, which is supported by the YEDAI programme, was launched on April 19, 2017. The programme will annually train 150 young people to acquire skills in animation and place them in animation projects geared for export to the international market.
As the Agency continues to market Jamaica as a player to provide world-class skills in animation services, JAMPRO has been working with local and international partners to prepare Jamaica for investment opportunities . JAMPRO saw the YEDAI and KingstOOn programmes as key to ensuring that Jamaica can take advantage of outsourcing opportunities in animation, as well as develop the local ecosystem to create indigenous content.
Animation is capable of creating jobs for animators, graphic designers, web designers, video and film editors, among others, and ultimately provides an avenue to develop raw local talent into highly skilled resources. To maximize on these employment opportunities, JAMPRO collaborated with the founder of Studio C and CA Foundation, Mr. Carlos Arguello. Studio C and CA Foundation has trained more than 3,000 young people in Latin America who were further employed on Hollywood super-productions such as Fast and Furious, The Bourne series, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Mr. Arguello recognised the potential for animation in Jamaica after attending the KingstOOn animation festival. He explained, “We were able to confirm that there are a lot of Jamaican youth with talent and desire to work in the Creative Industries. That´s when we started working with The World Bank and MSET to design a special training program for Jamaican youth. After completing the first module, we are even more convinced that the talent is here.”
He noted that the programme’s partners must focus on supporting the further development of the industry to capitalise on the potential for economic growth and personal empowerment. Arguello said, “We need to support and find avenues for Jamaican youth interested in Creative Industries to get connected to the Global Economy, and be able to create opportunities for all. In Studio C and Foundation CA, we are committed to provide the best opportunities for young people in the region. We are very excited to be participating in this program, and we are very hopeful that many positive things will come out of this endeavour!”
At the launch of the initiative, Diane Edwards, President of JAMPRO echoed Mr. Arguello’s sentiments and stated the Agency’s dedication to developing the country’s talent in animation. She stated, “Our remit as the export and investment promotions agency of Jamaica, is to focus on developing the business acumen of our creative practitioners and leverage the popularity of Jamaica’s lifestyle in such a way as to generate income for the Jamaican economy. JAMPRO aims to develop the animation sector for investment through the Studio C programme and we see this as a great initiative to train young people in Jamaica in 3D animation.”
Renee Robinson, Film Commissioner at JAMPRO said that the Film Commission believed Jamaica had great potential to benefit from the growing animation industry, which globally generated about USD 244 billion in 2015 (Global Animation Industry Report: Strategies Trends & Opportunities). With opportunities in the global industry becoming more accessible due to technology, there are more prospects arising for outsourcing services of project teams in multiple countries.
Ms. Robinson noted that Jamaican animation studios and professionals had a great opportunity to work on high profile international projects, and still contribute to the Jamaican economy. “It is crucial for us to put the building blocks in place that are needed to grow the animation industry in Jamaica.” She said, “Animation has the potential to contribute significantly to our economic growth goals, provided the framework and structure are established with a level of sustainability and foresight; this is why this partnership is so relevant and timely. Training will allow Jamaica to provide world – class outsourcing services on a global scale, while business facilitation will assist in developing a viable indigenous industry that can deliver returns on investment.”