New training opportunities for thousands of unemployed young people

We’ve just announced Factory Futures – a new skills and training programme set to benefit up to 10,000 unemployed young people living in Greater Manchester over the next five years.

Factory Futures is part of The Factory Academy, launched by MIF in 2018, in partnership with other cultural organisations in the city, with the aim to diversify the workforce in an important sector for the region and to put opportunities for local people at the heart of The Factory.

Factory Futures responds directly to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth unemployment and has been designed to align to the Government’s recently announced Kickstart scheme.

Over the next five years it will see 1,400 young people, aged 19-24, who are unemployed or on Universal Credit, take part in pre-employment training programmes including training academies, work experience programmes, traineeships and paid internships. Thousands more will benefit from further learning and engagement opportunities including online learning, masterclasses, open days and workshops.

It’s vitally important that the creative sector invests in the talent of tomorrow Jocelyne Underwood, Skills and Training Director at MIF

Opportunities for 140 young people will be rolled out over the next year, starting with a two-week creative training academy in October which will provide key digital skills, behind-the-scenes insights, and guidance from industry experts. In January 2021, ten young people will have the chance to undertake a six-month paid internship with MIF in roles such as Sponsorship, Press, Producing, Marketing, Operations, Creative Engagement and Artist Liaison. Further opportunities will include traineeship and work experience programmes.

Two young people sat at a desk, with one actively taking part in the discussion signified by their hand gesture

Around 60 young people have already benefited from The Factory Academy, including five apprenticeships delivered in partnership with Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), HOME and The Lowry.

Four young people wearing jumpers emblazoned with the words 'The Factory Academy' stood with The Factory construction site in the background

Creative Venue Technician apprentices at The Factory site – © Chris Payne

Through principal contractor Laing O’Rourke and their supply chain, The Factory is also creating up to 50 construction apprenticeships. In addition, once The Factory opens, it is projected to generate as many as 1,500 direct and indirect jobs for the city.

John McGrath, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at MIF and The Factory said: “We’re putting skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory. Through The Factory Academy, young people from Manchester and the city region are already gaining valuable experience as an entry point for the creative industries, which are an increasingly important part of our city’s economy. Over the next five years we’re creating thousands of new training opportunities – including roles as part of the MIF team as we prepare for next year’s Festival.”

Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure, and Skills, Manchester City Council, said: “Our young people are key to the ambitions we have for Manchester and also for its recovery from this pandemic. It’s vital that we invest in them not only to give them the best chance of success and fulfilment in their own lives, but also to help shape and secure the future success of the city.

Jocelyne Underwood, Skills and Training Director at MIF, said: “It’s vitally important that the creative sector invests in the talent of tomorrow. We’re working together with organisations across the region and beyond to develop a wide range of employer led training, learning and skills development opportunities in order to open the sector up to the widest pool of talent, regardless of their background and education. With The Factory Academy we also want to equip young people with skills that will be useful as the economy recovers.”

Four young stood people presenting in front of The Factory Academy banners

Factory Academy open day © Chris Foster

The Factory Academy is backed by the Greater Manchester Cultural Skills Consortium which includes Brighter Sound, Contact, HOME, Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester Museum, Manchester International Festival (MIF), Octagon Theatre Bolton, Oldham Coliseum Opera House, Palace Theatre, People’s History Museum, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Science and History Museum, The Lowry, Walk the Plank and Z-Arts.

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