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Animated Women UK Opens Entries for Helen North Achieve Programme

Helen North Achieve Programme
Helen North Achieve Programme

Festivals and Events


Animated Women UK Opens Entries for Helen North Achieve Programme

Animated Women UK, the organisation supporting women in the U.K.’s VFX and animation industries, today announced that its Achieve Programme is open for entries. The Programme, first run by Animated Women in 2017, focuses on supporting women in the VFX and animation industries to achieve their potential and offers the opportunity for 24 of their members (12 women from each sector) to take part.

Funded by the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund with contributions from U.K. animation productions and with additional support from Escape Studios, the Achieve Programme is open to women at all stages of their career looking to address the real challenges and barriers they face on a day-to-day basis. It aims to provide strategic career management and is run by acknowledged career development experts.

Applications for the course are open from today until Friday, February 28.

Run by experienced coach, facilitator and trainer Jan Armstrong, who specialises in women’s leadership development and helping individuals achieve their full potential, along with executive coach Marianne O’Connor, the course’s 24 successful applicants will take part in six sessions in central London.

“The Achieve Programme is a super opportunity to meet and support other women from the VFX and Animation Industry. It was great to hang out with 23 other women in the business and to learn from their experiences whilst also sharing some of my own knowledge and expertise. I wanted to take part in order to ‘give back’, but actually I walked away having gained a huge amount. The course offers valuable, constructive and engaging career advice for women at every stage of their professional journey and it was a welcome chance to hone old skills, learn new ones, reflect on my own career and consider the future.”

– Natalie Llewelyn, Head of Development, Jellyfish Pictures (2019 Programme participant)

“The Achieve Programme gave me access to some amazing women from all areas of the industry and enabled us to draw from each other’s experience as the course progressed – it was a great support network! I found that really insightful. I also had loads of advice from the course leaders, Jan and Marianne – two inspiring women who provided the lens for us to look deeper into our careers and collectively celebrate the journey.”

– Anne Akande, Producer, Dneg (2019 Programme participant)

“I am so proud to be part of a programme that has contributed to the career development of so many women in the animation and VFX industry over previous years,” said Beth Parker, Co-Chair Animation, Animated Women UK. “That we are able to start a new decade by offering The Achieve Programme to another group of women, is fantastic. We are truly grateful for the support that enables us to continue running this programme, as I know it will help strengthen the stories of women across this business even more.”

“It is so exciting to be able to offer the Achieve programme again in 2020,” added Louise Hussey, Co-Chair VFX, Animated Women UK. “We really couldn’t do it without the huge amount of support that comes from ScreenSkills, the Animation Council, Escape Studios, our training team of Jan Armstrong & Marianne O’Connor, and all the wonderful help that our volunteers give. I know that the programme has such an impact on so many levels for the participants, and this year we are hoping to be able to extend the reach to outside of London and further one-off workshops – so watch this space for more information as we get it!”

“After the success of 2019, ScreenSkills is once again thrilled to support Animated Women UK in bringing back the Helen North Achieve Programme. It is contributions from U.K. animation productions to the ScreenSkills Animation Skills Fund that enable us to back initiatives designed to drive real change in our industry,” said Abigail Addison, Animation Production Liaison Executive, ScreenSkills. “The mission of the Achieve programme in realising gender balance across all levels of animation and VFX is one we are proud to support.”

Fees for the Achieve Programme costs £250 for Senior participants, £200 for mid-level and £100 for junior level for the full set of sessions, and will consist of evening workshops in central London.

Bursaries are available for those who may need them to assist with travel, childcare or course fees.

For more information, or to apply for the programme, visit

Jan Armstrong

Jan Armstrong

Marianne O'Connor

Marianne O’Connor


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