Interview with Matt Shaw, Operations/IT Trainee at MIF

Matt is one of seven young Creative Trainees that are working with Manchester International Festival.

Interview with Matt Shaw, Operations/IT Trainee at MIF

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

Hello! I’m Matt Shaw, the Operations/IT Trainee at MIF.

And what is your role within the Creative Traineeship Programme?

Operations/IT Trainee

What does a typical day look like for you?

No day is the same for me. As frontline office support I often go with the flow. This can range from simple IT troubleshooting to setting up new users to building office furniture and everything in between.

What’s great about your job?

The best thing about my role at MIF is how I get to interact with everyone across the organisation, regardless of hierarchy or department.

And what is something you find difficult or challenging?

It was a change of pace to come from a very small independent company to a large arts organisation.

How did you first get onto the programme?

After leaving my last role I went onto Universal Credit hoping that I could use the time to find something completely different. Through them I was made aware of the Training Academy.

Why did you apply for the Creative Training Academy?

I was determined to find a new path in a completely different industry in a sector I hadn’t thought of applying for before.

What has been a highlight of your experience?

One of the best moments for me as a trainee was introducing myself to the Board of Directors. I have never had an opportunity in any other role to speak directly with the “Top Brass”.

How have these opportunities helped you develop?

Being at MIF and interacting with everyone across the office and speaking to large groups has massively increased my confidence. My time on Universal Credit was very isolating and was very damaging for my self-image.

Do you now feel more confident in pursuing a career in your chosen field?

Massively. Before this opportunity I had no idea how to get into the IT industry. Now I have experience under my belt and I don’t feel like there’s any barriers stopping me applying for similar roles.

Do you believe that opportunities like this are helpful for young people looking to get into a creative career or organisation?

I honestly don’t think I would have gotten into a creative organisation without an opportunity like this. I would recommend this process for anyone who is interested in a creative career.

Was a creative career something you had considered before taking part in the Creative Training Academy?

No, not at all. I was struggling to move away from a sector I wasn’t happy in and, until I saw the Creative Training Academy, I had never thought about looking towards the arts as a career option.

You’ve been granted the ability to send a message to 16-year-old you. What do you say?

Don’t worry about what others think and just be comfortable being yourself.

Do you have any advice for young people interested in doing your kind of job?

Be as open minded, patient and flexible as possible as things don’t always go to plan, don’t let stress get the better of you.

In your opinion, what is ‘unmissable’ about MIF19?

Atmospheric Memory sounds like it will be an interesting experience. Without spoiling too much it will be an eye-opening experience.

We are releasing interviews from all seven MIF Creative Trainees throughout May. To read the others, click here.

Header Image Credit: Chris Foster


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe..

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