achieve programme

5 Things We’ve Accomplished Since Attending The Helen North Achieve Programme

5 Things We’ve Accomplished Since Attending The Helen North Achieve Programme

The Helen North Achieve Programme is back for its fourth year. Applications are now open, so we sat down with five alumni to find out what they’ve accomplished since attending the course.

1) “As a mother returning to work the course helped me look at my options in a really positive way. I stopped worrying about rushing to be exactly the same artist I was before I had my son and made me realise I can take any route I chose and whatever time I need to achieve the goals I have set for myself.”
Anita Corcoran, Animator

2) “I’ve progressed in my job and feel more confidence when navigating the VFX industry.
“I’ve also gained an amazing support network of women in VFX and Animation and learned to stop falling victim to ‘Imposter Syndrome’.
“The wonder women stance has also been a handy tool for a quick confidence boost anytime and anywhere!”
Emma Ihecherenoma, VFX Production Coordinator at Industrial Light & Magic

3) “The course was a great way to meet new people and reflect on my work in animation to date. I got time-out to think, a chance to set some new goals and a big boost to my personal confidence and presentation skills.
“Since the course, I’ve made a lot of changes in the way I run my animation studio, which are really beginning to bear fruit. We’ve pulled in lots of new service studio work, our finances are much improved and our educational animation continues to gather momentum, awards and recognition.
“I have also found a new role for myself as a mentor, helping out other women in my field on the Creative England Industry Equals Women in Screen Programme and been making more time for ME! I am managing my time much better and can fit so much more into my week!”
Kath Shackleton, Producer at Fettle Animation

4) “Participating in the Helen North Achieve Programme allowed me to reflect and focus on those aspects of my career that I wanted to nurture, change and build upon. It gave me the confidence to seek out new challenges, become a mentor and drive harder than ever for the projects and people that I believe in. Importantly, it made me reconsider what success actually means to me… I’ve learnt that small, forgettable everyday achievements are just as important markers of success as the memorable, career game-changers.”
Natalie Llewelyn, Head of Development ar Jellyfish Pictures

5) “Since completing the programme, I have registered as a STEM Ambassador and gave a talk to A-level students last month. I found that quite intimidating but the presentation skills sessions gave me the confidence that I would come across as more knowledgable and assured than I felt. The talk seemed to go well and I had some very positive feedback from the students.”
Lucy Wilkes, Lead Software Developer at Dneg

Find out more about the Helen North Achieve Programme and apply here.

Posted by Lucy Cooper in Achieve Programme, Homepage, Profiles, 0 comments

Member Profile | Bimpe Alliu | Art Assistant at ILM

We caught up with Bimpe Alliu, Art Assistant at Industrial Light & Magic and one of the 2017 Achieve Programme alumni to ask her about her career path so far and thoughts on the challenges facing women in our industry.

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

What inspired you to get into VFX?

I’ve always loved feature animation and films (some good and some very questionable), but as comic lover, seeing the growth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe really got me thinking about how I wanted to be part of that development process. It genuinely made me excited to take steps to working as an artist professionally – which was something I hadn’t thought was previously possible, but at least I now know!

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

How did you make it a reality?

After some very kind words from friends, and a bit of faith, trust and pixie dust I decided that I was just going to go for it. At the time I was working in social media for Sony Music UK and started researching university courses as I knew I was lacking both the technical knowledge and skill set. I saved for just over a year before I applied to and was accepted to do MSc Animation and VFX at the University of Dundee, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (Great course, great uni, great city), and not to be cheesy, but it really was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing women the industry?

Establishing a work life / home life balance. Especially when you’re at the beginning of your career and trying to develop like I am, it can be very easy to fall into the habit of all work all the time. This can leave very little time for anything else which can have a massive knock on effect on everything else in your life.

But also establish a balance within yourself – gaining and retaining confidence and trying to stay as true to yourself as possible.

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

Were there ever times where you felt like being a woman may have impacted your career, or have you ever felt professionally excluded because of it?

Sadly this does still happen and it is something we need to keep working to overcome, but I am definitely grateful as I’ve never felt that my career has been affected as a result. There hasn’t really been anything that I’ve willing allowed to stunt my own progression.

Did you have mentors or support networks throughout your career that really helped push you forward?  Feel free to give a shout out.

I’m still at the beginning of my career in VFX so I’m sure there will be PLENTY of names to come, but as of now I’m definitely grateful for DJCAD and Phillip Vaughan for accepting a VFX newbie onto the course, as well as my ridiculously talented and supportive course-mates (Especially Natasha Dudley, who I’m still learning from even now). Also my friends who helped give me the extra confidence to take this leap and ‘start again’ (Esther Roberts and Abigail Balfe!). But also my current colleagues – the ILM Art Department here in London, who are always willing to look, listen and teach me new things – but also have a great supply of biscuits and green tea.

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

Personal art project © Bimpe Alliu

How do you plan to help advance the idea of more women in the industry?

As someone at the beginning of their career I want to show the same support that has been given to me.

What advice would you give to women wanting to enter the industry?

Trust yourself and take that step. Be excited about your growth and development and all the opportunities that will come.

Bimpe Alliu

Bimpe Alliu

You took part in AWUK’s Achieve Programme.  How do you feel it benefited you?

Ah I loved this programme. The opportunity to share experiences with and gain advice from other women in the industry has been invaluable, and has definitely impacted the way I view and approach certain scenarios. It also gave me the confidence boost to start discussing my own career development.

But probably most importantly for me it helped me begin to really understand and value the importance of balance and mental wellbeing when working in any industry – knowing when it time to leave work behind for the day and really look after yourself.

Definitely worth applying for.

If you were hosting a dinner party who would you invite and why?

It would have to be a dinner date with Maya Angelou – to thank her for everything I’ve learnt in the last couple of years about personal growth and perseverance.

Posted by Claire Hogg in Profiles, 0 comments