New Training Opportunities for Thousands of Unemployed Young People

Manchester International Festival (MIF) has announced a new skills and training programme which is set to benefit up to 10,000 unemployed young people living in Greater Manchester over the next five years.

As work progresses on The Factory, Manchester’s world-class arts space, Manchester International Festival (MIF) has today announced Factory Futures – a new skills and training programme which is set to benefit up to 10,000 unemployed young people living in Greater Manchester over the next five years.

It is part of the Factory Academy, which was launched by MIF in 2018, in partnership with a consortium of cultural organisations in the city. The aim is to diversify the workforce in an important sector for the region - annually, the creative industries are worth more than £100 billion to the economy.

Factory Futures responds directly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth unemployment and has been designed to align to the Government’s recently announced Kickstart scheme. Over the next five years it will see 1,400 young people, aged 19-24, who are unemployed or on Universal Credit, take part in a range of pre-employment training programmes including training academies, work experience programmes, traineeships and paid internships. Thousands more will benefit from further learning and engagement opportunities including online learning, masterclasses, open days and workshops. 

Over the next year, opportunities for 140 young people will start with a two-week creative training academy in October which will provide key digital skills, behind-the-scenes insights, and guidance from industry experts. In January 2021, ten young people will have the chance to undertake a six-month paid internship with MIF in roles such as Sponsorship, Press, Producing, Marketing, Operations, Creative Engagement and Artist Liaison. Further opportunities will include traineeship and work experience programmes.

Around 60 young people have already benefited from the Factory Academy, including five apprenticeships delivered in partnership with Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), HOME and The Lowry. Through principal contractor Laing O’Rourke and their supply chain, The Factory is also creating up to 50 construction apprenticeships. In addition, once The Factory opens, it is projected to generate as many as 1,500 direct and indirect jobs for the city. 

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at MIF and The Factory said: “We’re putting skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory. Through The Factory Academy, young people from Manchester and the city region are already gaining valuable experience as an entry point for the creative industries, which are an increasingly important part of our city’s economy. Over the next five years we’re creating thousands of new training opportunities – including roles as part of the MIF team as we prepare for next year’s Festival.” 

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, and Skills, Manchester City Council, said: "Our young people are key to the ambitions we have for Manchester and also for its recovery from this pandemic.  It's vital that we invest in them not only to give them the best chance of success and fulfilment in their own lives, but also to help shape and secure the future success of the city."

Jocelyne Underwood, Skills and Training Director at MIF, said: “It’s vitally important that the creative sector invests in the talent of tomorrow. We’re working together with organisations across the region and beyond to develop a wide range of employer led training, learning and skills development opportunities in order to open the sector up to the widest pool of talent, regardless of their background and education. With The Factory Academy we also want to equip young people with skills that will be useful as the economy recovers.”

The Factory Academy is backed by the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium which includes Brighter Sounds, Contact, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Museum, Manchester International Festival (MIF), Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Opera House, Palace Theatre, People's History Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Science and History Museum, The Lowry, Walk the Plank and Z-Arts.

At 13,300 square metres, The Factory is a world-class cultural space being developed in the centre of Manchester, which will commission and present the world’s most exciting artists, attracting up to 850,000 visitors a year, from across the city, the UK and internationally. Its development is being led by Manchester City Council in partnership with Manchester International Festival (MIF), who will operate and create the year-round programme for the landmark building, as well as delivering the citywide Festival every other year.

The Factory builds on MIF’s success and Manchester’s long history as a centre for culture, creativity, innovation and production and will play a key role in the life of the city and the residents, bringing up to 1,500 direct and indirect full time jobs and adding up to £1.1 billion to Manchester’s economy over a decade.   It is designed by world-leading architects Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas and will be their first major public building in the UK.

The Factory has received funding from HM Government which has been managed by Arts Council England. This is additional investment that would not have otherwise been available for the cultural sector or the region.

To secure a place on the initial Factory Futures Training Academy, applicants must attend a virtual Open Day on Wednesday 21 October. For more information and to register for a place, visit

Header Image Credit: Chris Payne


Oscar Lister

Oscar Lister

Manchester International Festival (MIF) is the world’s first festival of original, new work and special events. The Festival is staged every two years in Manchester, UK – the next edition will take place 4 – 21 July 2019 at venues all over the city.

We bring together artists from different art forms and backgrounds to create dynamic, innovative and forward-thinking new work, which we stage in a rich tapestry of venues across Greater Manchester – from theatres, galleries and concert halls to railway depots, churches and car parks. We work closely with venues, festivals and other cultural organisations around the world, whose financial and creative input helps to make many of our projects possible and guarantees that they have a life after each Festival has ended.

Recent posts by this author

View more posts by Oscar Lister


Post A Comment

You must be signed in to post a comment. Click here to sign in now

You might also like

Archive and Projects Intern

Archive and Projects Intern

by Voice Magazine

Read now