Welcome to Catalyst.

Catalyst is an initiative for students in the creative sector, created in partnership with industry professionals to develop, challenge and showcase your abilities, with particular focus on VFX, animation and games.

What’s in it for you?

  • Whether you’re a student looking at continuing to university or going straight into work or an apprenticeship, this is a chance to get your skills showcased and make a big impression in front of some of the UK’s leading studios & universities.
  • Take advantage of a unique opportunity to gain access to apprenticeships or valuable work experience at one of the top UK animation, VFX or games studios.
  • Develop your portfolio with a creative project to a real brief & have it seen by industry professionals.
  • Improve your skills by receiving feedback from professionals in your field.
  • Experience interview panels with judges from the industry, and receive personal advice and interview feedback from professionals.


We have currently developed four challenge-based activities for students, with projects set & assessed by industry professionals.

Each finishes with a showcase event for the student projects, exhibiting the work that has been developed through the process. These events will be attended by leading universities looking for undergraduates and games, animation & VFX studios looking for apprentices and junior team members.

Full briefs can be viewed at the links below, and details for taking part will be released shortly.

3D Animation Level 3

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VFX Level 3

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Games Level 3 - 3D Character Art

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Games Level 3 - 3D Environment Art

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About Catalyst

Catalyst is an initiative developed by Aardvark Swift in partnership with industry professionals, creating new pathways of entry into the creative sector, with particular focus on animation, VFX and games.

Catalyst is managed by the same team as the award-winning Grads In Games initiative, which is consistently increasing the number of graduates making the move into a career in professional games development.

Our initiatives are supported by NextGen Skills Academy, Autodesk, Sumo Digital, Playground Games & nDreams with additional support & development for Catalyst from:

John Stopforth, Creative & Digital Industries Programme Manager at Doncaster College & University Centre, and former games industry animator.
Gary Noden, industry veteran & owner of Sip Sop animation & VFX studio.