Digital media creatives aged 18-25 are being offered the chance to take part in a cutting-edge new educational programme in Manchester run by one of the world's leading interactive design schools, Hyper Island. The programme is backed by creative firms such as Channel 4, Saatchi & Saatchi and Sony Games.

Applications open today for a British version of a tried and tested Swedish training model for people in the interactive media, communications and advertising industries. The ‘Interactive Media Design and Management’ programme, which will be run in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, is the first of its kind to be introduced by Hyper Island outside of Sweden and has already received the backing of brands such as MTV, McCann, Channel 4, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sony Games, Code Computerlove and Wieden + Kennedy.

Hyper Island’s model offers a distinctive "action-learning" approach, with participants delivering solutions to real problems brought to them by businesses. This new programme has been designed in collaboration with leaders in the media and advertising industry from around the world, many of whom will help deliver it.

“It’s all about industry-ready people”, says Hyper Island’s David McCall, director of the new programme. “Media and communication technologies have converged, and the industry needs talent that is unbound by disciplines, instinctively collaborative and able to thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Our first UK programme has been designed with industry, with exactly this kind of talent in mind.”

McCall adds, “At Hyper Island there are no teachers and no tests. No homework gets set, and no textbooks are needed. Instead, participants will be immersed in project-based activity, in an environment that mirrors the workplace. They will work side-by-side with leading professionals, responding to real briefs set by real clients. At the end of the programme each of the participants will get a rare opportunity to be part of life in one of the world’s most exciting media brands, through a specially designed internship. They will leave us properly prepared for a career in the industry.”

A step up in tough times

The organisers note that at a time when UK graduate unemployment rates are at the highest level for 17 years, 98 per cent of Swedish graduates from Hyper Island find work within the digital media sector upon graduation. The programme is being delivered in partnership with the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), which is funding the one year pilot to examine whether the model can deliver similarly impressive results for UK students.

There are 25 places available on the pilot for young people aged between 18 and 25 years old.

“We are looking for young creative people with passion and Hyper Island potential”, says McCall. “Passion for communications, media business and design, and the potential to shine as people and professionals. We want to find people who think independently, act collaboratively and have an infectious enthusiasm for innovating solutions. They might come straight from education or simply have an inspiring portfolio.”

The deadline for applications is 01 April 2011. For successful applicants to the programme, school will start on 23 May 2011.