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Sisler CREATE Students Land Animation Work Placements with Nelvana

December 10, 2021

Students in the Winnipeg School Division’s CREATE program at Sisler High School are getting the work experience of a lifetime. The CREATE program is generously supported by The Schroeder Foundation, which provides essential equipment and scholarships for graduates.

Twelve students in the CREATE post-high program and three alumni are currently doing paid animation work placements with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana, a world-leading international producer, distributor and licensor of children’s animated and live-action content. The Toronto-based studio is one of Canada’s largest animated content creators. Students will work on character development, animation, rigging, background paint, storyboard, storyboard revision, layout, and scene set-up.

“The goal of this partnership is for students to learn series workflow at an industry level and increase their hire-ability after the work placement,” said Jane Crawford, Nelvana’s Head of Studio. “Nelvana, and the industry at large, have a need for experienced animation artists. This partnership aims to get students of all backgrounds concrete and intensive work experience so they can enter the industry talent pool and get a head start on their promising careers.”

Nelvana produces many high-profile shows including Max & Ruby, Franklin and Friends, The Hardy Boys, Esme & Roy and more. Their content is seen in over 180 countries around the world.

The connection with the CREATE program was made through Toon Boom, an award-winning software creator for animation and storyboarding. Toon Boom has been a major supporter of the program since 2016 – connecting them with major studios like Nickelodeon and Nelvana and providing software for student use. They are providing the software for the Nelvana work placements.

“This is one of several incredible opportunities that Toon Boom has helped us secure for our students,” said Jamie Leduc, CREATE Department Head. “We are so grateful to Toon Boom and Nelvana for helping us foster the next generation of Canadian animators. This learning opportunity is invaluable for our students and sets them on an exciting career trajectory.”

The paid work placements will occur from October 2021 to May 2022 – the majority of the school year. Students will be mentored by Nelvana animators, and supervised by CREATE teaching staff.

“This internship opportunity with Nelvana is a valuable experience that we are all beyond grateful to have,” said CREATE student Jireh Laririt who is doing a work placement in the Animation Department. “Just within the past few weeks of my placement, I already feel like I have improved my skills, all thanks to the feedback and support of my team. Working for Nelvana has allowed me to start making connections, continue my learning journey, and most of all, it gives me hope of a successful career in this industry.”

The Schroeder Foundation is a major supporter of the CREATE program. Along with Vancouver Film School, the Foundation has provided 25 full scholarships to graduates of the program over the past two years. The Foundation also provided nearly $500,000 in state-of-the-art equipment to CREATE students at the start of the pandemic. This equipment enabled students to complete their studies from home in a challenging pandemic year with sporadic lockdowns. The Schroeder Foundation currently funds an Industry Liaison and Communications Manager to help promote the program, and connect students with internship and work placements in the industry.