I assume in the UK that is the case only for those without an impressive reel or experience correct?
I'm just asking for those interested, hehe, I'm FAR too old
I started working in effects long before the school curriculum's digital programs were even a dream in someone's mind, as it was far too expensive for them at the time, around 1992-93.
I personally didn't get into digital effects untill 94 working in Photoshop v2&3 on an Amiga learning color theory and compositing basics.
By 1999 I was using Maya a lot after the integration of the Dynamation package from the Power Animator days.
That summer in 99 after Maya Fusion was released, I stuck with Fusion as my compositor.
I've been working as an effects compositor ever since
I personally never took any college other than Film, and my reels have always gotten me my jobs.
Ultimately I guess it depends on your experience and your reel, and if the job specifically calls for uni-trained applicants, as a lead artist I would question that.
If you have a great reel and at least 4+ years of production experience, I've found that most shops will look at you regardless.
Just something to think about
Israel "Izzy" Long
Motion and Title Design for Broadcast-Film-DS