Meet the MIF Creative Trainees 2019

In December 2018, 39 local job seekers, who had not previously had access to working in the arts were given a unique opportunity to learn valuable skills to help them gain employment in the creative industries thanks to a life-changing new scheme launched by Manchester International Festival.

The trainees, who were all from Manchester, aged 19+ and registered unemployed, were enrolled on a two-week Creative Training Academy, where they undertook a variety of training to equip them with future careers in the arts.

Seven of the participants were then offered paid positions as part of MIF’s inaugural Creative Traineeship Programme, which ran from January to August 2019 and included the opportunity to work on 2019 Festival. The roles spanned across Development, IT, Visitor Experience, Creative Engagement and Digital. We caught up with four of the trainees during their traineeship to find out more about their experience.

Tom Durrant

I’m Tom and I’m the Producing Trainee. I don’t know how to describe what I do as I think it’s constantly changing. One day I’m researching an artist we are looking to work with in the future, and the next I will be scouting for venues for this year’s festival. I generally try to be as helpful as possible to the rest of the producing team, whatever that may be.

The traineeship has helped me by making me think about the future more, in a personal capacity and a work one. In my work life, I’m thinking about how I can help in two or three weeks’ time to make my colleagues’ lives as easy as possible. In my personal life, I’m thinking a lot more about where I want to be in five or ten years’ time and the skills I need to be able to get there. It’s helped me become a lot more confident in managing myself and my time.


Heidi Taylor-Wood

I’m Heidi and I’m the Trainee on the Digital team.

Some of the things I’m personally focusing on in my department are archiving 10 years of MIF’s work so more people can access this in the future which I’m enjoying because it’s given me the opportunity to experience new art.

I’m excited to be working with the Creative Engagement team on their artist development scheme Creative Lab because I enjoy speaking to people with a range of interests and hearing them explain about things they love!

Another large project I’m working on is the new podcast series which is inviting artists to curate their own episode and be imaginative with content and format. This is a storytelling process that will reach new audiences and further extend the mediums through which people interested in the festival can experience what we do. I’m finding particularly useful the project management aspect to this as I like to have an awareness of every step that goes into creating something from start to end.

Michael Appouh

I’m Michael and I’m on the creative traineeship programme at Manchester International Festival within the Ticketing department.

Working in the ticketing department means I have a lot of customer interaction via email and calls, as well as the web chat and taking the lead on that has taught me a few important things about working at MIF that also apply to life outside the office. Patience is definitely an important skill which I’ve been able to explore in my role and take outside of my department, especially when I first started.

Thinking on your feet, and expecting the unexpected are both things that are necessary to be successful in any job and it’s definitely something that I’ve experienced at MIF – often the type of things we’re working on as a company are the first of it’s kind so it’s necessary to be creative with your problem solving to be prepared. I even had someone ask me for Yoko Ono’s personal details which I don’t think anyone could have prepared for.

Jessica Wilson

I’m Jess, I’m the Guest Relationship Trainee. 

My general day-to-day of tasks is a lot of R&D whether that is researching local gins or creating crib sheets for our internal systems and also venue scouting. One of my main goals during this traineeship is to play a major role in delivering one of the after show parties for this year’s festival.
The high points so far for me have been having the cohort of trainees and how close we have become in a short space of time. It’s great to know that those friendships will last beyond the traineeship. I also feel very lucky to 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.

End of article.