Expand your mind, Manchester
Learning without the lecture halls
Whether you’re eyeing up a drastic career change, want to boost your existing skillset, or just fancy learning how to arrange flowers properly, these places can give you a hand
Je ne comprends pas
O-Level/GSCE French taught us how to say that our monkey is sitting beneath the table, and to order a croque-monsieur. That is about all. Thankfully, there is help to be had – the Alliance Française run evening classes (three hours long, take snacks); Manchester University have a range of courses for everything from Persian to Polish; and there’s the Manchester Language Exchange for a more informal pub setting.
Nothing makes us feel more grown up than managing to arrange a vase of flowers in a way that looks vaguely pretty (even if the technique involved is similar to that of putting spaghetti in a pan – twist and drop). Frog will teach you to weave and arrange blooms in all sorts of ways, while Ikebana (a Japanese floral art form) classes take place at The Wonder Inn every Thursday.
Mad fer I.T.
It was the (now complete) Digital Skills For Women scheme that brought our attention to MadLab – seven months of training offered free to unemployed women from deprived areas. But they have similar events running all the time – book clubs, writing groups, WordPress lessons, groups for crochet or craft or Bitcoin. There are also longer courses and workshops to boost your digital and tech skills.
Plant the seed
Sadler’s Yard has become quite the community hub. First there was The Pilcrow, now there is PLANT – an open design studio which will host workshops and drop-in sessions for pottery, woodworking, and general hands-on crafting and design. During Manchester International Festival, everything you sit on at Festival Square will be made from these workshops. There’ll also be weekly yoga starting this Wednesday.
Life in the big city can be overwhelming, but there’s a whole community of like-minded ladies (and gents) gathering at Girl Gang Manchester’s events. You can swap skills, go speed mate-ing, or take part in drawing sessions, but this is more about learning to make new friends – something a lot of us find scary. For further female badass-ery, check out Manchester Girl Geeks, whose next event, taking place this Sunday, is a letter-writing project celebrating women in STEM careers.