Forty-seven year old Fabian Chan lost his job as a graphics designer when his ex-company closed. He had problems seeking employment at other creative agencies because he lacked the animation skills needed in the industry.  SkillsFuture Singapore spoke to him on how he managed to find his feet again after retrenchment.

SSG: Why were you back in the job market at 47 years old?
Fabian: The company I worked for had folded. With more than 20 years of work experience as a graphic designer, I sent out more than 100 job applications but had no success. Only then did I realise the lack of market demand for professionals with my expertise.

One good thing came out of it. Many of the job openings required 3D, animation or interactive web design skills, which I lacked. In a sense, animation and motion graphics was the next natural step for me, and I signed up for a WSQ Diploma in Animation programme. Learning how to use software new to me was challenging, and a little tricky as one has to understand speed, movement and timing to create good animation and motion graphics. YouTube helped a lot, where I could find plenty of tutorials which made learning much easier.

The investment was possibly my most sound one to date. I have since graduated, and am now a Motion Designer in an advertising agency, right where the action is.

Why the career change?
I noticed the increased use of animated gifs on social media channels, found them very amusing and engaging and that piqued my interest in animation. As a big fan of Pixar, Disney and Dreamworks, animation was also something I had wanted to do for a while.

Why did you choose to pursue animation?
Definitely passion. I get a lot of satisfaction from creating something out of a blank canvas, and bringing joy to others with my creations. It’s something I share with my previous course mates, who had the natural ability to seemingly create amazing stuff in their sleep!

In your view, is it necessary to keep up with the times?
Companies value what you can bring to the table. One need to stay ahead of current trends to stay relevant, and I first had to understand what the digital generation wants before I could create what appeals to them.

What is the motivation for you doing all this?
My daughter is my main motivation, and my wife has been incredibly supportive. For my family and our livelihood, I resolved to succeed in the course and secure employment with it. And I’m glad that things turned out well.

This story was first published on SSG's Facebook page on 28 May 2020. All information is correct at time of publishing.

24 Mar 2023