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National Apprenticeship Week sees launch of brand new creative opportunities in Manchester

A brand new apprenticeship programme has launched in Manchester to train up the next generation of creative venue technicians.

Part of The Factory Academy, the two year apprenticeship has been developed by Manchester International Festival, and is backed by a consortium of leading arts organisations across the city.  It 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 the vision to put skills and training opportunities at the heart of The Factory - the landmark cultural arts space being built in Manchester, which will be MIF’s permanent home, presenting work by artists from across the world.

The first five apprentices started work in their new jobs last week – two at The Royal Exchange Theatre, one at HOME, one at The Lowry, and another at Manchester Metropolitan University. They will play an active part in the technical operation of the venues, including all aspects of lighting, sound, and set building.

The apprenticeships are the first to be offered through The Factory Academy. The Academy has been set up to deliver a range of apprenticeships and training opportunities over the next few years with the aim of diversifying the workforce in the creative industries - an increasingly important sector for the economy, worth more than £100 billion annually.

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: 

"Providing skills training and job opportunities to local people alongside an unrivalled and world class programme of innovative and world class cultural activities is one of the key aims underpinning The Factory.   

"The opportunities now being created through The Factory Academy are a taster of what's still to come and demonstrate the positive impact The Factory is already starting to have on people's lives."

Apprentice Arber Binjaku, who is working at Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “When I was told I’d been accepted onto the apprenticeship obviously I was very happy, but you don't really understand that you have become part of something until you really experience it. Yesterday we all went to see a show and that’s when I thought, ‘this is it, this is what I want to do’, and I’m here at the start of something.”

Louis Fryman, another CVT apprentice, working at the Royal Exchange Theatre said: “I was quite overwhelmed when I found out I’d got onto the apprenticeship. It was something that I’d always wanted to do but hadn’t thought it would be possible for me.”

Jocelyne Underwood, Cultural Skills and Training Co-ordinator at Manchester International Festival, said: “I’m really excited about the journey these apprentices are about to go on. We’ve worked for 12 months to develop a curriculum that isn’t an off-the-shelf package. It’s owned by the employers in the consortium and by The Factory Academy. It’s new, bespoke, and is going to be absolutely brilliant.”

To find out more about opportunities available through The Factory Academy go to mif.co.uk

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