When you are looking for your dream course and the right place to study, the first thing that might come to mind is the different Universities and TAFEs across Australia. However, have you ever thought about how a non-profit private provider could help you get there? We spoke with recent AIE 3D Animation and VFX graduate, Kelsey Birrell to find out why she chose to study with AIE and how she got to where she is now.

"The quality of the work demonstrated by the students was enough for me to feel like AIE could offer me that."

Kelsey moved all the way from Brisbane to Melbourne to study with AIE. However, before the move, Kelsey completed a Bachelor of Computer Based Design, Graphic and 3D Design. "I wanted to study at a place who taught more of the practical skills I felt I needed to know to be industry ready than my previous course did. The quality of the work demonstrated by the students was enough for me to feel like AIE could offer me that."

According to research on the average University contact hours, a student at University can vary from 3 – 15 contact hours per week. However, AIE students have 20 hours per week as well as the optional catch up classes our teachers run. During this time, students get hands on learning in an industry simulated environment. AIE students also study 40 weeks of the year compared to 24-26 weeks of the year for a university student. The intense nature of our courses mean AIE students are well prepared for the rigorous demands of the industry.

"AIE attracts those who's motivation to pursue CG is strong, because of this, I found mine bolstered significantly and it shows in my work."

Sstudent Kelsey Birrell | Academy of Interactive Entertainment

At AIE, students also do a lot of group work with other students. "It's not just the staff that make such a difference, it's fellow students as well; the drive and talent of the people around me served as the best possible motivation to improve my own skills. AIE attracts those whose motivation to pursue CG is strong, because of this, I found mine bolstered significantly and it shows in my work" said Kelsey.

AIE was created over 20 years ago with a vision to help group the video games, animation and visual effects industries. "The biggest difference between a larger university and a specialised school like AIE is that all the funding goes into one discipline. This means that every teacher on campus has something they could teach you that is related to our field; unlike at universities which typically teach a multitude of different disciplines.”

When asked what advice Kelsey would give the next generation of Animators, VFX artists and Game Developers she said "Make friends, not just network connections. Go out of your way for people, they will remember your kindness and if they ever get a chance to repay it, they will."

Since graduating from the 3D Animation and VFX for Film course at AIE, Kelsey has secured a job at Creature Technology in Port Melbourne. Check Kelsey's demo reel below: