Applications now open for our 2016 producer trainee scheme

In 2016 we are delighted to be running a second edition of our hugely successful Compass Young Producers Programme which offers recent graduates from northern universities and colleges the chance to train and gain experience in all areas of contemporary arts festival production. 

About Compass Festival

The Compass Festival happens in Leeds every two years and is a celebration of socially engaged live art in the public realm. Many of the projects take place in public settings and involve direct interaction with people. We work with internationally renowned artists and bring unique works to the city that would not otherwise be seen. For current work and previous festivals see 

About The Scheme

We first ran the scheme in 2014 in which participants took part in the planning, delivery and evaluation of the festival through hands on placements with the festival directors, workshops and masterclasses with festival artists and partners and one to one mentoring over the course of six months. They helped produce all the festival projects, working closely with artists, venues, technical staff and marketing.

The 2014 contingent have all gone on to secure full time or freelance employment with arts organisations including West Yorkshire Playhouse, Transform, Yorkshire Dance, BBC Performing Arts Fellowships, Vespertine York, Live Art Bistro, Quarantine and FLARE Festival, Manchester. 

This year we’re delighted to be able to offer four people aged 18-24 the chance to participate in the scheme, which benefits from several new improvements and a fantastic new range of workshop leaders and masterclass partners. 

The scheme consists of:

-monthly one to one mentoring sessions

-fortnightly masterclasses with festival artists and partners 

-monthly workshops from the festival team on subjects such as finance, fundraising, curation, technical management and marketing. 

The sessions will be mostly practical and based in real life scenarios. They will include getting to know the Compass team, visits to some of the artists in the Festival including Stan’s Cafe and Lone Twin, visits to funders and the public relations consultants Anita Morris Associates.

It is anticipated that during the training each trainee will develop an individual work plan, being paired with specific projects within the programme which suit their interests.

This year were are able to offer each participant a bursary of £1000. Further expenses such as travel outside of Leeds will also be covered by Compass. 

Participants will also be able to apply to Compass for small project grants at the end of the scheme, with a view to kickstarting a personal project or idea that would benefit from financial support and further mentoring.

Project Aims

– To equip the trainees with confidence and skills to operate as assistant producers leading up to and during the Festival. 

To provide hands on practical training that will be transferable to other situations and future work 

To encourage intelligent and passionate young people to remain in the North of England supporting the very best in contemporary arts practice

To provide a unique experience and insight into producing a festival that will enhance participant CVs, increase opportunities for employment and help establish their interests.

Desired Qualities

Trainees will need to commit to the series of training sessions as outlined above and be able to make themselves available throughout the Festival. 

We are looking for trainees who can work hard, be reliable, show individual initiative, work in a group and take direction. 

Time Commitment

Call Out Closes – 1 April

Interviews in Leeds – w/c 18th April

Scheme Runs June – November 2016.

Participants work on placement for the equivalent of 1 day per working week on the festival. This can be divided up and scheduled in response to their circumstances and the demands of the festival schedule. 

It is likely days will be held back in the earlier months and balanced out with additional placement time in October/November 2016. 

Participants would be expected to take part in an evaluation activity to assess the impact of the scheme during December 2016.

How to Apply

Please send complete the application form here

Submit no later than 5pm on 1 April 2016


Participant Feedback from 2014

“I could have never anticipated the level of trust and faith that Compass has in us, which meant we were treated like equals rather than underlings.”

“The most important thing I gained from the experience was a community of young aspiring arts professionals in the other Young Producers….you have peers to learn from, in contrast to internships within companies or things of the like”

“Compass YP’s has really come at a great time for me, after being out of university for 18 months now. I felt that it really gave me confidence in my own skills, and that I could really put those to great use, towards something great and inspiring. It seems to me that the first few years of a graduate’s life outside of the art school are the hardest. I’ve found it incredibly testing, and still am, to begin my career as an independent artist and producer. Compass has been a great stepping-stone, and I feel that the training I gained has been invaluable, and an accolade I can really boast about to potential collaborators and employers.