2019 in Review: The Factory Academy

As we continue on our journey towards The Factory, the world-class cultural space being built in the heart of the city which will be our future home, we are already creating opportunities for local people through our pioneering Factory Academy programme. Delivered in partnership with training providers and arts organisations in the region, The Factory Academy has begun to create a range of apprenticeships and training opportunities that will help diversify the workforce and support new generations of arts workers.

We took a look back at what we’ve been doing so far this year – and what’s coming next.

January 2019:
MIF appoints seven Creative Trainees

The Factory Academy programme kicked off with a pioneering pilot initiative that gave seven young people from Greater Manchester eight months’ paid work at MIF in a variety of positions with continuous mentoring and development. The traineeships, which included roles in IT, Digital, Production, Ticketing and Development, began in January 2019 and continued until August 2019.

Subsequently, one of the trainees has been directly employed by MIF, one has been recruited locally to a prestigious charity and another has landed a role at a high-profile arts organisation in London. Read more about the trainees here

(c) Chris Foster

March 2019:
Greater Manchester Cultural Consortium launched
The current and future work of The Factory Academy would not be possible without the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium, established by MIF in March 2019 to identify and collaborate on the provision of arts training across the region. With a membership consisting of arts organisations large and small from across Greater Manchester, the Consortium has been instrumental in the development and delivery of The Factory Academy’s programmes – and continues to grow in size, scale and ambition.

22 organisations signed up including: Brighter Sound, Contact, the Growth Company, the Hallé, HOME, Manchester International Festival, The Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Museum, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Palace Theatre & Opera House, People’s History Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Science and Industry Museum, Walk the Plank and Z-Arts.

April 2019:

MIF Shortlisted for Employer of the Year award
During the selection process for the Creative Traineeships, we invited 38 Greater Manchester residents to join us in November for a two-week Creative Training Academy, a programme of accredited study that led to qualifications in Visitor Experience and Arts Administration. Participants’ feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with many members working together on projects after the programme ended – and led to The Factory Academy being nominated as finalists for Employer of The Year at the national Creative & Cultural Skills Awards.

We were thrilled to be recognised for our ‘outstanding commitment to developing skills and learning in the creative industries, ensuring the next generation have the skills needed for the creative sector to continue to thrive’. In other award news, October also saw us receive another nomination at the Manchester Culture Awards for ‘Promotion of Talent and Leadership’.


May 2019:
Factory Academy training providers appointed
In May, we were delighted to confirm Access Creative College, a national creative college with a major school in Manchester, and National College Creative Industries, which provides specialist higher-level training for students and employers across the creative and cultural industries, as our training provider partners. Since then we’ve been working on our first collaborative programmes including painstakingly developing a bespoke curriculum for the Creative Venue Technician apprenticeships and building our vision for The Factory Academy’s future together.


July 2019:
25 local students took part in Work Experience Week during MIF19
In July we welcomed 25 Year 10 and Year 11 students  from five schools across Manchester for Work Experience Week. Teaming up with award-winning education consultancy Class of Your Own, along with our colleagues at OMA (architects of The Factory) and Laing O’Rourke, we set them the ‘Factory Challenge’ – an Apprentice-style mission to design their own satellite venue to sit within the Factory site. The students were given a range of input to help them with their task – from learning how to use 3D design software, to speaking to MIF artists the NoTTwins about artistic considerations for the building – as well as activities such as lunch at Festival Square and a visit to Festival hit Atmospheric Memory. At the end of the week they gave a 10-minute pitch to the panel and the winning trio of students were given tickets to an MIF show.


October 2019:
22 local young people complete the inaugural Factory Academy Traineeship
In October, we launched the inaugural Factory Academy traineeships, which saw 22 young people from Manchester and Salford take part in an eight-week course to help them develop careers in the creative industries. It featured classes in Personal and Social Development, IT skills, interview techniques, and time management, as well as a three-week work experience placement in a cultural organisations in the city. The trainees received their qualification certificate at a graduation ceremony hosted by Cultural Consortium member Walk The Plank in Salford.

Halima, a trainee who completed her placement at the Royal Exchange said: “This experience has completely changed my perspective of what goes on in a theatre. All the technical stuff like rigging lights, climbing ladders, as a female I never saw that as something I might like to do but I love it. It’s been amazing – one of the best experiences I have ever had.”

Read the full interview here.

It’s been amazing – one of the best experiences I have ever had Halima, Trainee

Creative Trainee named Young Ambassador of the Year by Prince’s Trust
MIF Creative trainee, Chérie Bosama, was named the North West BAE Systems Young Ambassador of the Year at a ceremony at Chetham’s School of Music. The awards honour the achievements of young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life, had a positive impact on their local community, and people who have played a part in supporting the work of the Trust. Chérie went on to the role at the Prince’s Trust following her traineeship in the Development department of MIF.

Speaking about her experience at MIF, she said: “I strongly believe that when organisations such as MIF give young people a chance, it impacts them more than you think. It possibly could be helping a young person in their personal life, in their career, or simply providing them with skills that will be with them for a long time. It’s basically investing in young people and that is what more companies need to do especially at a time where the youth are exploring their creative sides more. I feel like I have finally found where I belong.”

Read the full interview here

(c) Chris Foster

December 2019:
Creative Venue Technician Apprentices appointed
In November local people looking to work in the arts and culture industries were invited to apply for five new Creative Venue Technician apprenticeships at arts organisations across the city as part of The Factory Academy. We teamed up with four organisations across the city – HOME, Royal Exchange, The Lowry and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) – to provide budding arts professionals with the opportunity to train alongside some of the best in their field as a technician within the performing arts industry.

The two-year Creative Venue Technician apprenticeships, which begin in January 2020, will feature on-the-job training alongside development and skills training, following a curriculum created especially for us and delivered by industry experts. These initial CVT Apprenticeships follow directly on from the Factory Academy traineeships, during which 22 potential Apprentices enjoyed three-week technical placements with arts venues and organisations around Greater Manchester – and herald a bright and exciting year ahead.

We look forward to you joining us as we continue our inspiring and exciting journey to the opening of The Factory.

End of article.