“The most enjoyable aspect of working here is the people, I’ve met a lot of great people”
Name: Darren Campbell
Job title: Sales Advisor
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I’m based in our Glasgow Contact Centre in the Inbound Retentions department. My role consists of speaking with customers who would like to cancel their package.
How did you get into your role? I started in 2015 in the Outbound Retentions department. I moved across to my current role in 2016 when the Glasgow Contact Centre became a Centre of Excellence for Retentions.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? My proudest moment working here was helping an elderly man who was very concerned about his dish hanging off his building above a busy street. The soonest date available for anyone to come out was over a week wait but I phoned and emailed several departments and was able to get an Engineer out a few days later.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The most enjoyable aspect of working here is the people, I’ve met a lot of great people and I even met my fiancé through working here.
Describe your Contact Centre - what makes it a great place to work? Our centre in Glasgow is massive, with over 1000 employees under it’s roof! It’s a great place to work due to on-site perks such as free hot drinks and ping pong/pool tables.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I’ve had lots of opportunities to progress in my career here. I’ve worked alongside my manager on my personal development, my objective being to move from my current role into a Role Model, which is someone who provides support for new Advisors coming into the business. My advice to others is just to know the job, once you’ve reached the point where you know your stuff, people will start to come to you for advice, which will give you a taste for a more developed role. If you are looking to develop yourself, speak it over with your manager who can give you any necessary guidance.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I have a Masters degree in Computer Animation and have been credited as an animator on a Scottish Bafta winning short film called “Marty goes to Hollywood”.
“We have great facilities, it is a lovely place to work in and there is a family culture here...I have a work wife, a work husband, a work brother”
Name: Kim Little
Job title: Customer Experience Leader (CEL)
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work within the Retentions department. There is no typical day for me – each one is totally different! I have a fabulous team and I’m fortunate enough to have had the same team for a number of years, so I can depend on them to do the right thing for our customers. This allows me time to focus on engagement and development for my team, and myself.
How did you get into your role? I started on the phones as an Agent and then I became an Accredited Trainer, but I missed the operations floor so I moved back to take to the challenge. After a few months I was successful in becoming a Customer Experience Leader (CEL) and I’ve been working in my current team for a couple of years now.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? My proudest moments are honestly when my team have successes. Our team are consistently great when it comes to feedback, for me, this is a reflection of the passion and care they have for their job – I am really proud to be their CEL.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Everything is subject to change! No day is ever the same – you always need a plan b!
Describe your Contact Centre - what makes it a great place to work? We have great facilities, it is a lovely place to work in and there is a family culture here in our Glasgow Contact Centre. I have a work wife, a work husband, a work brother – the people here are what makes this place special.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I believe there are outstanding opportunities for those who are ambitious and committed. There are high expectations but we are definitely rewarded when we put the effort in. My advice to anyone looking to progress is to have a structured personal development plan, update it regularly and be open to every opportunity that comes your way!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I’ve had dinner with Sean Connery – just ask me if you want the details!
"The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination."
Name: Dave Holgate
Job title: Senior Business Analyst
What area of NOW TV do you work in? I work within a team of business analysts that forms part of the wider Change Delivery Team.
What do you love most about your role? Working creatively with every business area to ensure the best solution possible is identified and supported through to delivery.
What is the best thing about working at NOW TV? The fun vibe and can do culture.
Take us back to when you were little, and tell us what you wanted to be when you grew up? I wanted to ‘walk with the animals, talk with the animals…’ aka a zoo keeper!
Give us a short play-by-play of what your day looks like, from waking up to heading home:
- Get up, get dressed, get out on the road.
- Arrive at work early, fire up the laptop, check the day ahead, grab a coffee and breakfast to go.
- Plan the day around the key contributions I need to make, whether that’s driving workshops or documenting the needs of the business.
- Dependant on the sessions of the day I’ll then be:
- Driving sessions to get the right outputs that we’re aiming for
- Encourage participation and collaboration from everyone attending
- Shape the understanding of the business proposition and ensure reality is checked against possible solution options
- Using my experience and knowledge to productively challenge stakeholders and delivery teams to ensure we get to best end result
- When not actively in sessions I’ll be either documenting business needs with clarity, or continuing engagement with stakeholders or delivery teams to keep traction on our plans.
- During the day I’ll take a break and grab lunch from one of the many on site deli style cafés or restaurants.
- After another fun and rewarding day in NOW TV I head home to my Hertfordshire bolt hole.
What do you specialise in (e.g. do you have a role specific speciality)? My ability to know and understand people so that I can drive the best engagement from them.
Tell us about a project that you are most proud of and why? Before joining the NOW TV team I spent 18 months in the Service Operations area of Sky where we delivered all the escalated support processes and procedures for a major email transformation programme.
What’s the most useful bit of feedback you’ve received? The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.
Tell us about a manager who has really supported your development and how they did this? My current manager is the Lead BA of our team who trusted in my abilities by giving me Lead BA responsibility on a large strategic NOWTV programme.
“I’ve only been here 9 months, but it’s already been a brilliant experience, working with some great teams and individuals”
Name: Doug Whincup
Job title: Project Manager (PM)
What area of Sky do you work in? Digital (Leeds Dock)
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I’ve only been here 9 months so far and came in as a PM, so got quickly stuck in to a complex and high profile project. This has been a brilliant experience, working with some great teams and individuals both in Leeds and in the wider Sky community. Prior to joining, my career has predominantly been project based with many years of PM experience across a number of industries, which has given me a great broad base of experience and transferrable skills helping me to really hit the ground running here.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? One good thing (for me anyway) about being a PM is the sheer variety of things undertaken in a typical day. There are the typical PM tasks, of course – coordinating and running meetings and calls, tracking and updating actions, risks, finances, documents and the like – but in addition there are ad hoc breakout discussions and sessions, troubleshooting, stakeholder showcases and demos, even games of pool from time to time – there is a refreshing culture here of trying to keep work fun whilst at the same time delivering cutting edge, exciting digital projects.
How have you made a difference in your role? I’ve yet to pass the year mark but hopefully at that point I’ll have plenty to say on this as everyone here is encouraged to make a difference and change the way things are. “It’s just the way we do it here” isn’t something you hear very often!
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? This will be the early morning launch of Sky Mobile – I coordinated the launch from an online perspective and (fuelled with breakfast) we saw the culmination of lots of hard work being put successfully live, working brilliantly as a digital team together with the many other wider teams also involved. Seeing the website visits and real customer orders coming in was a great buzz!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The flexibility and lack of boundaries and obstacles (compared to other industries I have worked in) is refreshing, but the most enjoyable aspect on the whole is the friendly, positive and open culture, and the great bunch of people you’ll work with here.
Describe your work/life balance? As a working parent it is vital to me that there is flexibility for childcare, school runs and the like. We offer this, and whilst project deliveries sometimes require extra effort, there is plenty of give and take to balance the work with life. There is also a great social buzz, with opportunities for friendly pool tournaments, social chat, offsite activities, evenings out and the like.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Make time to talk, ask and learn about the bigger picture and how the different teams and sites operate, and where you fit in to that picture. There are opportunities; self-belief and a positive attitude can go a long way to put you in the right place to progress them!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I have a number of slightly geeky hobbies outside work; astrophotography (freezing extremities, standing out in cold pitch black places with a camera trying to get photos of stars) and snooker (I once played a frame with THE Steve Davis. And lost) being just two of them.
“I really enjoy the working life here. It’s a place full of people with curiosity, passion and innovative ideas”
Name: Xiaolan Sha
Job Title: Lead Data Scientist
What area do you work in? Data Science team - Insight and Decision Science. Our team is involved in a variety of different activities. In the last month, I’ve personally focused on building models to support content analytics and marketing. The core idea consists in figuring out new and exciting ways to understand customer behaviours, and leverage the collected insights to broaden the content reach.
What's your background? Where did you work before and how does it differ to here? Similarly to many of my colleagues, before joining, I followed an academic course. I have a PhD in computer science, and I worked in a research team focused on designing context-aware recommender systems. There are many differences of course between working here and pursuing an academic career, yet there are some similarities. I try to always keep up with the research community and follow the state of the art. One of the main challenges in doing research in these fields is having access to relevant and significantly large corpuses of data allowing to make meaningful observations. This is never a problem here: we focus on the challenges associated with having to handle immense data volumes on a daily basis. It’s amazing to deploy your own models into production for business applications, and it’s also very exciting to measure the impact of your models on real customer interactions.
Tell us a bit about your most recent project? Content is core to us. We have a collection of carefully selected high quality entertainment, movies and sports content. It’s not possible to present our entire media selection in a single UI screen to our customer, so we need to help the users to discover content that may be of interest to them. My most recent project is to help the marketing team to broaden the reach of the content and help users make new discoveries in our media selection. We do this by building a recommender system with an ensemble of algorithms that generates personalized recommendations in different contexts and scenarios.
Why was the experience on this particular project worthwhile? At first glance, the project may look like a traditional and “simple” content recommendation problem, however once you get into the details you realise you’re facing a number of new challenges on a variety of levels. At algorithmic level, approaches exist to recommend existing content to existing users, but what about the release of a new title? How can I decide which users across my customer base are more likely to appreciate a new, upcoming TV show? Also, at implementation level, a lot of problems that are usually treated as trivial in textbook examples become tricky to handle at scale. We have sometimes hit system limitations, and we have had to optimize the scalability of our machine learning algorithms built on top of Apache Spark. However, after facing all these challenges and all the frustrations associated to these “real world” problems, seeing an actual customer uplift as a result of your work is a great satisfaction! The models we have built have been regularly used by the marketing team to carry out personalized campaigns, and they could be now automated and extended to supply the OTT platform once it will be deployed in production.
What did you enjoy most about working in IDS big data team? There are three main things: First and foremost, I’m constantly exposed to new technologies and big data tools like Apache Spark for machine learning and streaming, and potentially Tensorflow for POCs. Secondly, the team culture is great: we are a team of like-minded people who are passionate about modelling real-world problems with mathematical formulas, and we always keep learning to improve our expertise. The third would be the working life here. It’s a place full of people with curiosity, passion and innovative ideas. For me, the fun part is all about delving into the vast amounts of data from all over the business to search for an answer.
“It’s enjoyable to be part of a great team and seeing our contribution feeding up into the directorate and our stakeholders”
Name: David Cohen
Job title: Head of Access Network Development
What area of Sky do you work in? Technology UK, Engineering directorate
How did you get to where you are now? I joined here in April 2006 as an Access Network Development Engineer. At the time, we had acquired Easynet (with its approx. 10,000 BB customers) about 6 months previously. I’ve been fortunate to be here as we grew to our base of 6 million broadband customers today! During that time, I’ve been involved in the backhaul design, development of test and diagnostics platforms for our broadband and fibre networks. I also became a team leader and now head up the team.
Describe a typical day… A typical day consists of a lot of emails and a lot of meetings, management reports, chatting to my team leaders and the engineers themselves.
What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? My main specialty area within Access Network Development is diagnostics and assurance. Being a Head, I need to be across all areas within the team scope. I have very strong team leaders and the team are excellent so mostly they run themselves allowing me to focus on medium and long term planning.
Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I focus my effort on trying to clear my workload daily, delegating or dealing as things come. This allows me to leave work “at work” for the most part. My role is not operational, so I very rarely get contacted after hours or on weekends.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Being part of a great team and seeing our team’s contribution feeding up into our directorate and our stakeholders.
What would be your advice to someone who’d want to do what you’re doing? Find a subject area in your team that you can become expert in. Regularly map out your short term (6 months) and long term (1-3 year) goals. Re-assess these if work changes focus. Then work with your line manager to align your project work with these goals wherever possible.
“The speed and variety of change here makes every day challenging and for me that’s what makes it enjoyable”
Name: Gavin Dowie
Job title: Senior Business Analyst
What area of Sky do you work in? In the Change delivery team in Change, quality & Billing
How did you get to where you are now? I never really planned for a career in change, I was working in an operational finance team with Hewlett Packard and was given some opportunities to get involved in project activities. This was something I really enjoyed and it wasn’t long before I took up a more formalised analysis role. The projects I was involved in during my time there were mostly financed based so moving here gave me the opportunity to be involved in a wider range of exciting projects. That move was almost 11 years ago and I still enjoy the variety and speed of change here.
Describe a typical day… Is there such a thing? It can be anything – managing business requirements, running workshops and having my head buried in spreadsheets trying to find resolutions to issues. Working with our stakeholders and technology teams to find the best solutions for what the business needs. An additional part of my role at the moment is project management on Sky Mobile, so a lot of days involve finding a balance between the two roles, from being right in the detail one minute to then organising a team in the best way to deliver against our objectives.
Advice for someone else Try to learn from the people around you. Especially those that are thriving and are passionate about their jobs. We’re full of talented people so tap into the knowledge and experience.
Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I have a young family and my son has some additional support needs, which can make finding pre and post school childcare difficult. It means that I sometimes need to be at home during standard working hours and need flexibility around start times. Thankfully I’ve been supported by a flexible working pattern, working from home where required and locating myself at an office closer to home if needed. That flexibility from my managers has really enabled me to strike that balance between home life and Sky.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love having the opportunity to shape how we deliver change here, making it the best possible customer and employee experience. The speed and variety of change here makes every day challenging and for me that’s what makes it enjoyable.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? A slightly embarrassing one, one of my first part time jobs required me to dress up as a lobster. I was the lobster at children’s parties at Deep Sea World. My Dad submitted my job application to make sure I was earning money!
“We get to work in different environments with so many different people. It really is a team effort”
Job Title: Senior Technical Supervisor
What area of Sky do you work in? Sky Production Services (Studios).
How did you get to where you are now? I studied Broadcast and Digital Technology at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication. During my time in education I became very interested in the vision control side of studio productions. After Ravensbourne I continued to improve my skills with placements at The London Studios and Maidstone Studios. My first paid job in broadcasting was the lead in a small lighting and vision team for Quiz TV. After a year with Quiz TV I then became a freelance Technical Director working primarily for Sky Vegas and Eurosport. I have here for 10 years now and have enjoyed working with a range of video formats from SD to UHD.
Describe a typical day: It's hard to describe a typical day. One of the reasons I came here was for the variety in work. A typical week can involve a range of programmes and genres. One day you can be working on a red button / interactive programme, then a day or two later an entertainment programme like DC Fancast or Harry Hill’s Tea Time. It really does help having a range of different sport and entertainment programmes to work on.
The Technical Supervisor is one of the senior members of the production. They are responsible for leading the technical crew in providing the operation of our studios. They are also present to advise the client on technical matters and to be responsible for the technical quality of the output. A Technical Supervisor is the kind of halfway point between the production team and the support teams working close with both the client and engineering.
What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis: As mentioned before the Technical Supervisor can work across a number of areas from Interactive Applications to News Operations.
In my time here, the technology and methods used to produce content has changed a lot. I had the opportunity to work closely on our own produced 3D programing. With this I worked closely with technology companies, clients and our own crews. Highlights of this work was spending several days working at Buckingham Palace to co-technically manage the Queen’s Christmas Message. That then led to me technically managing the joint Sky UK, Germany and Italy 3D production of The Canonization of Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.
The Technical Supervisor is usually one of the first members of the crew in. They start with setting up and configuring the Studio for the day’s programme and work with all disciplines to make sure the facility is ready. Once production are clear of the studio and gallery the Technical Supervisor shuts down and resets to a normal configuration.
What is the most enjoyable thing about your job? I know it’s a cliché, but I would say it’s the people. We get to work in so many different environments with different people and there really is a team effort.
What would be your advice to someone who'd want to do your job? As frustrating as it can get at times I wouldn't change the path I've taken or the industry. If I had the chance all over again, I would have done more maths as it's never been my strong point but really can be helpful. The shift hours are not always the most social but the sense of achievement at the end of a good show is second to none.
An Interesting fact no one else knows about you? I have been known at times to wear nail wraps on my fingers to stop me biting them.
“Seeing one of my ideas make a difference was a fantastic feeling”
Name: Katie Loy
Job title: Sales Advisor (Retentions)
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work within the Retentions department at our Contact Centre in Livingston. On a daily basis I talk with customers who are considering ending their package with us. My job is based around having fantastic conversations, getting a clear idea of why the customer might look to leave and help the customer stay, if this is the right thing for them. Another huge part of my job is making our customers feel valued and chatting about fabulous products and services along the way. The most important skill required for my job has to be resilience, a big part of the job can be having some tough conversations and it's not always easy.
How did you get into your role? I began my journey here chatting to our customers looking to leave Sky via web chat. I then moved to Sky Q, where my team and I focussed on sales and launching the brand new product, and then into the role I’m currently in. My previous experience in sales, retentions and web chat helped to prepare me for the challenges of my current role.
How have you made a difference in your role/what has been your proudest moment working here? Recently w’vehad a lot of new colleagues join us and understanding how challenging the role can be at first, I approached our management team with the idea of matching our new Advisor’s with a senior Advisor, so that each had a mentor. This gave our new colleagues extra support and the mentors had the opportunity to contribute further to the success of the team. Seeing one of my ideas make a difference was a fantastic feeling.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? I love the satisfaction of resolving a complicated issue or a complaint from a customer. Sometimes customers can be frustrated when they’re first connected with me and it’s a great feeling to be able to turn this around and restore their faith in the company. Another huge part of what makes my job enjoyable is the people I work with, my team are fantastic and there’s never a dull moment!
Describe your contact centre – what makes it a great place to work? The Buzz! There’s always something going on, whether it’s a competition to drum up some friendly rivalry or games for everyone to get involved with, it’s impossible not to have a smile on your face when you’re surrounded by all the madness!
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Yes! I’ve had many opportunities to develop my skills as well as take on managerial duties. The opportunities to progress here are fantastic, everyone you meet is keen to help you grow and develop your skills. It’s important to work hard and be passionate about what you do, get involved in everything you can and be proactive, don’t wait for someone to do it for you!
Tell us an interesting fact about you: I graduated from university with distinction as a Registered Nurse and joined here as a temporary job, but I loved it so much that I’m still here 2 years later!
“I can honestly say that I never wake up dreading work in the morning because I spend my day with like-minded, inspiring colleagues”
Name: Siobhan Maxwell
Job title: Subject Matter Expert (SME)
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work on the call floor as a performance coach. On a day to day basis I’ll coach existing staff and review calls to ensure the quality is up to standard. I also work on various projects across the site.
How did you get into your role? I started out as an Advisor in one of our other Contact Centres. I then progressed to become an Accredited Trainer and when the company took on an additional Contact Centre, I was successful in becoming an SME.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? My role is to help people to be the best they can be, so any time that I can say I’ve contributed and supported someone to achieve their goal is a proud moment for me.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The people. I can honestly say that I never wake up dreading work in the morning because I spend my day with like-minded, inspiring colleagues.
Describe your contact centre - what makes it a great place to work? I work at our Glasgow Contact Centre, which is one of our biggest Centres. You walk into a buzz of music, constant shuffle and great Glaswegian banter.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I’d say to anyone looking to progress here that if you put in the time, work hard and show the right behaviours you will succeed. The great thing about working here is that the company want to develop and progress people from within the business, so the opportunities are always there.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I am half Scottish and half Australian, with a South African accent.