Manchester International Festival launches The Factory Academy

Manchester International Festival launches The Factory Academy to help local people from all backgrounds develop careers in the arts

Manchester International Festival launches The Factory Academy

The new training and apprenticeship programme, backed by a consortium of leading arts organisations, is part of the vision for The Factory to create jobs, skills and training in the region

Local jobseekers will be given a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills and experience to equip them with future careers in the creative industries through a new training programme launched by Manchester International Festival (MIF) and delivered in partnership with leading arts organisations across the region.

In the first of a series of opportunities which aims to develop the next generation of technicians, producers and arts professionals, up to 24 young people (aged 19-24)from Manchester, who are registered unemployed, and not qualified above Level 3, will be given the chance to enrol in an eight-week traineeship where they will learn a variety of practical and development skills delivered by The Factory Academy team. The traineeship will include a three-week work placement hosted by a network of cultural organisations in the city where they will gain an unparalleled insight into the workings of the creative industries. 

The new Factory Academy is a key part of the vision to put skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory, the landmark cultural arts space that MIF will operate when it opens in 2021. Working in partnership with training providers and arts organisations in the region, The Factory Academy will deliver a range of apprenticeships and training opportunities over the next few years with the aim of diversifying the workforce in an increasingly important sector – annually, the creative industries are worth more than £100 billion to the economy. Key targets for recruitment are people who are not in education or employment.

It is backed by the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium which launched last year to collaborate on the provision of structured training and skills development in the region. Members include Contact, the Hallé, HOME, The Lowry, Manchester International Festival, Manchester Metropolitan University, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Palace Theatre & Opera House, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Science and Industry Museum, Walk the Plank and Z-Arts.

Following the eight-week course, the trainees will have the chance to apply for a Creative Venue Technician apprenticeship - a two-year contract to work in an arts organisation from January 2020. The apprenticeships will feature on-the-job training alongside development and skills training, delivered by The Factory Academy.

The Factory Academy launch follows the recent pilot of the Creative Traineeship Programme, which MIF successfully ran from January to August, and involved seven local young people working in roles such as IT, Digital, Production, Ticketing and Development, leading up to and during MIF19. Since graduating from the roles, one of the trainees has been directly employed by Manchester International Festival, one recruited locally into the charity sector and another into an arts role further afield.

Describing his experience of the traineeship, Micheal Appouh, Box Office and Ticketing trainee said: “Doing a traineeship at MIF has helped me personally in terms of developing skills and gaining experience, but also demonstrated how to contribute in the working world - understanding responsibility and communicating with co-workers.”

Jessica Wilson, Guest Relations trainee, said: “I feel very lucky to have come into MIF and the arts at a time where big changes are happening. MIF is pioneering and diversifying the arts and we are a part of that.”

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at MIF, said: “The Factory Academy is a key part of our vision to put skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory. We’re delighted to be working with arts organisations across Greater Manchester to create opportunities for local people of all backgrounds to start new careers in one of the region’s most dynamic sectors.”

Jocelyne Underwood, Skills and Training Director at MIF, said: “The Factory Academy marks the start of a step change for how this sector invests in the backstage talent of tomorrow. Working together, organisations across the region will create new roles and deliver new training to develop the future leaders of this sector.”

Recruitment for the eight-week traineeship will take place at two Open Days (7 and 22 October). For more information visit


Manchester International Festival

Manchester International Festival

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 believe it’s important to build a community of young people who feel connected with Manchester International Festival and The Factory:

To empower young people through creativity, and give autonomy to young people.

To develop an understanding of young people's needs.

To create opportunities for young people to engage with MIF on their terms whether as a participant; creator; influencer; advocate; audience member or volunteer.

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