Dan Burgar, president of the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association.
Vancouver Film School (VFS) will be plugging into the local virtual reality industry when it switches on its new VR education program this spring.
Startup incubator Launch Academy and the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association have confirmed they’re partnering with the film school to offer access to equipment, working space and industry mentorship.
“We looked at this as kind of a no-brainer,” said Dan Burgar, president of the Vancouver chapter of the VR/AR Association.
“We’ve helped them with some of the curriculum, we’ve helped them connect with some of the industry leaders and we foresee this [as] kind of a gateway into building that next wave of innovative technologists within VR/AR.”
Launch Academy, meanwhile, is providing tangible resources to students attending VFS’ eight-month VR/AR design and development program beginning in April 2019.
The incubator opened a 12,000-square-foot VR centre in October, just steps away from the VFS campus in Gastown. The facility features a device lab and offers training programs, equipment rentals, workshops and mentorship opportunities for business participants.
Students will have access to Launch Academy’s VR workspace and equipment.
“The focus of our program is more along the lines of solving real-world problems in industry and in enterprise,” Mary Lim, the school’s manager of instructor training and program development, told Business in Vancouver last month.
“If a student wanted to create a game in VR, we would recommend that they go to [VFS’] game-design program.… The students that come into this program, we’re hoping, will have a higher level of education and a higher level of critical thinking and just a desire to solve a real-world problem with this technology.”
Burgar said he expects students to be well positioned to land jobs in the industry once they complete the program.
His organization estimates there are 230 firms in B.C. developing VR applications, up from about a dozen three years ago.
“Within the next few years, as the talent shortage looms, we need to put an emphasis on the grassroots and partnerships like this will only help empower this community,” Burgar said.