What if…

If you are interested in becoming one of our volunteers please read the frequently asked questions below then complete the registration form.

Please be aware the programme is very popular and we may have more people than places available, we will try to place as many people as possible.


Click a question to see the answer

Am I eligible?

  • Do you want to gain new experiences and skills, improve your wellbeing, increase your confidence and meet new people?
  • Do you live in Greater Manchester?
  • Are you free during week days to attend the museums?

If you answered yes to the questions above then this programme is for you.

We are targeting our recruitment at young people aged 16 – 25 years, retired/50 + and ex-service personnel although people of all ages and backgrounds can apply.

Please note the programme is not directed at students or those in full-time work or education.

What does the programme involve?

The ten week training programme runs one day per week. Participants will learn about their chosen museum, volunteer roles and gain accredited Level One Open Awards units. The course uses the unique collections and spaces of IWM North, Manchester Museum and MOSI to develop communication, interpersonal, teamwork and customer service skills.

Half way through the course (week 5) participants will volunteer on gallery delivering object handling and guidance to museum visitors.

Following completion of the training course, participants can volunteer for a further six weeks at their host venue or move on to a placement at one of our heritage partner venues listed below:

  • National Trust Dunham Massey
  • Manchester City Galleries
  • Manchester Jewish Museum
  • MOSI – Museum of Science and Industry
  • Ordsall Hall
  • People’s History Museum
  • Whitworth Art Gallery

What is the volunteer role?

Volunteers provide one of the first points of contact for museum visitors. The roles are customer service based and will involve meeting and greeting visitors, handling objects with visitors and supporting museum events. Click here to read about specific roles.

When is the next intake of volunteers?

  • IWM North and Manchester Museum will recruit 15 participants twice a year in September & March.
  • MOSI will recruit 15 participants once a year in February.

Is there a minimum number of hours I have to volunteer?

We ask volunteers to commit to a minimum of one day a week for the training course and half a day per week for volunteering / placement.

How long is the volunteering opportunity?

Participants who join the project will need to be available for one day per week for 16 weeks. The training course lasts for 10 weeks and the placements last for 6 weeks.

Once you complete the 16 week programme you will be supported to find new opportunities, employment, learning or further volunteering.

Can I volunteer when the programme finishes?

Volunteer Co-ordinators at each museum will conduct a review at the end of the placement period and may extend the opportunity if the role is needed.

Can I claim expenses?

If you have a valid receipt you are able to claim expenses for:

  • travel, £6 per day
  • subsistence, £4.00 per day (lunch if volunteering for a full day)
  • child care, £35 per day

What training will I receive?

Individuals will undertake a bespoke training programme accredited by The Manchester College. All participants will embark on a ten week training programme that runs one day per week. Participants will learn about their chosen museum, volunteer roles and gain accredited Level One Open Awards units. The course uses the unique collections and spaces of the Museums to develop communication, interpersonal, teamwork and customer service skills. Participants need to be available one day a week to complete the course.

There is also continual programme of training and support to further develop skills and knowledge:

  • Welcome International (accredited customer service training)
  • Volunteer-to-volunteer mentoring
  • The opportunity to visit and learn from a range of national and local heritage venues
  • Further courses delivered by The Manchester College including pre-employment training, ICT, Literacy or Numeracy
  • Tourism training
  • Audio descriptive training
  • Conservation training

Where might this programme lead to in the future?

Inspiring Futures participants will gain work experience, new skills, training, and confidence which may lead to improved health and wellbeing. The Inspiring futures team will also signpost participants to find:

  • Further learning – Our training provider, The Manchester College, will offer Inspiring Futures volunteers access to further courses and advice, guidance and support on future skills development, and careers planning
  • New volunteering opportunities – Following completion of the programme, volunteers may continue to volunteer at their chosen venue, or will be offered further opportunities at organisations across the city
  • Employment – Learning new skills and getting real work experience are central to Inspiring Futures. Participants of previous programmes have secured jobs in both the cultural and non-cultural sector

What are the benefits of joining Inspiring Futures?

We will refund out of pocket expenses including travel, lunch and childcare (within specified limits). As a volunteer, you’ll be entitled to a discount in the museum shop and café at either IWM North or Manchester Museum. Participants may also be invited to attend special events, gallery openings or organised trips.