“It’s been amazing – one of the best experiences I’ve ever had”

22 local young people complete The Factory Academy Traineeship to help them develop careers in the arts

In October 2019, we launched The Factory Academy traineeship, an eight-week course, which saw 22 young people from Manchester and Salford take part in classes in personal and social development, IT skills, interview techniques, and time management, as well as a three-week work experience placement in cultural organisations around the city.

The Factory Academy is a new training and apprenticeship programme, backed by a consortium of leading arts organisations, which will give local people from all backgrounds valuable skills and experience to equip them for careers in the creative industries. It’s a key part of our vision to put skills and training opportunities at the heart of the Factory, the world-class cultural space being developed in the heart of Manchester – and the future home of MIF.

The trainees received their qualification certificate at a graduation ceremony hosted by Cultural Consortium member Walk The Plank in Salford.




What attracted you to the traineeship?
I was studying Computer Science at university, but I dropped out because I wasn’t enjoying it. I read about The Factory Academy traineeship and I thought it sounded great because I’ve always wanted to get into the arts but have never known how.

What did you hope to get out of it?
I’ve always enjoyed art and drama, but I never saw it as somewhere I could actually work. I never saw the arts as an industry that I could get into without either knowing someone or studying it. This traineeship has really opened that door for me.

What have been your highlights so far?

I’ve done so many things: rigging lights, changing the gels, focusing lights onto the stage, helping with sound, helping with wardrobe, helping with workshops, and lots more.

What has surprised you?

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.

How do you think you’ll be able to use the skills you’ve gained in the future?

I definitely want to stay in the arts sector in the future. I want to work in live events because it is so hands on and exciting.

How would you sum up the experience?

It’s been amazing – one of the best experiences I have ever had”

Halima did her trainee placement at The Royal Exchange.



What attracted you to the traineeship?

I was working in sales and fancied a change. It’s something I’ve always been interested in and I wanted to see if I could make a career out of it.

What have you learned?
I didn’t really know what to expect but I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve had a really broad experience over the last few weeks – we’ve done all sorts. I’ve been to theatre shows in the past, but I had no idea how much goes into it – especially in the initial planning.

What have been your highlights?

This traineeship has really helped my confidence. It’s been especially good to be at The Royal Exchange because they make their own shows, so I have been able to see the process from start to finish. I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly!

Would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend other people take a chance on traineeships like this even if you’re not really sure what you want to go into.

Richard did his placement at The Royal Exchange



What have you learned?

I’ve had a tour of the theatres, gallery, and cinemas from the people who manage each area and have had a thorough explanation of how each area works. I’ve also had the chance to help make a theatre space in the gallery, which is the first time that has been done here, and experience all the challenges that have gone along with that. Putting everything up is a lot harder than I thought it would be!

What has surprised you?
I didn’t realise quite how technical this was going to be – or that being a stage manager also meant I needed to know how all the lights worked!  It’s also made me realise that it’s much harder than I thought to be a Creative Venue Technician but it has just made me want to work harder at it.

What has been your highlight?

Working in the gallery space has been the most useful and the most interesting because I’ve seen a theatre built from scratch.  It’s a really great opportunity for anyone willing to throw themselves into something and try lots of different things.

How would you sum up the experience?
Everything I have done has been so rewarding because you can see immediately when it has worked. It’s an active job and you get to see the product of what you do – that’s the best part.

Nathan did his placement at HOME

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