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Colin Williams, AIB/UU Distinguished Graduate (2017) and Creative Director for award-winning animation studio Sixteen South, is delighted by the opening of UU’s enhanced Belfast campus.

He believes that the enhanced campus will further strengthen the vital links between the higher education sector and industry by presenting increased opportunities for businesses to directly engage with new and emerging talent.

Since graduating from Ulster University’s Design course in 1995, Colin has gone on to found Sixteen South, a Belfast headquartered group of multi-award-winning animation companies that create, produce and distribute television entertainment for children all over the world. The business now directly and indirectly employs 300 people across the globe.  

Under his direction, Colin’s business plays a key role in Belfast’s growing reputation for excellence in the creative industries.  

Reflecting on his own experience, Colin said:

Ulster University is filled with like-minded people, who are passionate about what they do. While studying at the university, for the first time, I really felt I was where I was always meant to be.

Noting the importance of strong relationships between higher education institutions and the private sector in keeping course content relevant to the future workplace, Colin says the university should “adapt and readapt” to what is happening within wider industry, something highlighted by the recent development of an animation degree.  

Colin was involved in the creation of Ulster University’s Animation course, providing valuable insight into what would make the most relevant industry-ready graduates. He now visits the university on a regular basis in his guise as a Visiting Professor.

The connection between education and industry is vitally important. Simply put, one cannot thrive without the other. The closer both communities can be, the better this will be for industry success and also for the experience students gain at university

The enhanced campus will educate thousands of aspiring engineers, business leaders, artists, computer scientists, architects, games designers and more. As well as having state-of-the-art facilities, the number of social opportunities available for students will mean they will come and stay in the city centre, helping to foster a wider and more inclusive community.  

Of his fellow UU alumni, Colin’s ask is simple: stay connected with Ulster, reflect on their roots and consider giving back to the talent of tomorrow. He said:

Coming from Northern Ireland is an asset. I would encourage you to show tomorrow’s future that being from Northern Ireland is something to be proud of.  

I challenge you to continue to change the narrative Belfast has on a worldwide stage.

Colin and thousands of Ulster graduates like him are reaping the benefits of keeping in touch with their alma mater. You too can join the UU alumni network across the globe and sign up to UU Connects.

Join UU Connects today