Young people who want a career in the arts will be able to develop their skills as part of a new programme which has received more than £426,000 of funding.

A partnership between Brathay Trust, in Ambleside, Theatre by the Lake, in Keswick, and University of Cumbria will deliver a two year programme aiming to develop "leaders who can change the culture of the arts sector in Cumbria, North Lancashire and beyond".

It is being funded with £426,670 from Arts Council England.

Twenty students, who are working or volunteering in the arts sector in the area, will be recruited to do the course and gain a Diploma in Higher Education in Social Enterprise Leadership.

This will involve leadership residentials, work placements and work with mentors.

Godfrey Owen, Brathay’s chief executive, said “We are very much looking forward to being involved in this exciting programme and engaging with new leaders in geographical areas of low engagement, investment and opportunity.

"We are interested in applications from those engaged in the arts with the potential for leadership, who have faced barriers to developing through their personal circumstances.”

Professor Julie Mennell, vice chancellor at the university, said: “Our visitor and creative sectors represent a significant part of our economy, and with very few leadership training opportunities available, funding like this is vital.

"Not only for our economy, but to support our talented young adults from low educational attainment and participation communities to achieve their considerable potential.”

James Cobbold, executive director of Theatre by the Lake, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be involved with the Arts Council’s Transforming Leadership fund alongside our partners, and are hugely excited at the prospect of nurturing the arts and cultural leaders of tomorrow, and equipping them with the skills and the experience needed in our field.

"We look forward to working in collaboration with local cultural sector organisations, artists and makers in offering a wide range of opportunities across Cumbria and North Lancashire.”

The Arts Council is investing £7.1million into leadership development in England.

The new programme is one of 18 projects receiving funding to deliver a range of activity, with 70 per cent of participants outside of London.