“Since starting here I’ve realised that one of my key skills is being able to pick things up quickly and I can now say coding is something I enjoy”
Name: Clare Devine
Job Title: Software Developer Apprentice
Why did Software Developing at Sky appeal to you? At the time, I was studying a mixture of A levels from ICT, History to Religious Studies and was really unsure where I saw my next step. A visit from some of the Starting Out team to my College really appealed to me and seemed a really exciting company, offering good opportunities for young people. The Apprenticeship schemes particularly appealed and opened up my eyes to the other opportunities apart from going to University. I wanted to grab the chance while it was there and instead of waiting for another year to apply, I went for it and was successful in achieving a place!
What area of Sky do you work in particularly? I joined the Apprentice scheme in August 2015 in Leeds and I work within the Online Service Sky.com/help team. Myself and the team help to maintain sites that Sky have, such as the fundamental contact us site, to ensure that it’s operating efficiently, brilliantly and is user friendly for everyone.
What does a typical day look like for you? The good thing about working here is the flexibility in terms of working hours. I’m usually in the office early and like to seize the day and start at 7am and finish around 4 pm. At 10 am each morning we have what’s called a “Stand Up”. This is a time for all the team to get together and talk about what they’re doing. My day can really vary and I can work on different projects from simple coding to getting involved in something a lot more intense.
Describe your work/life balance? We’re really flexible here and the work/life environment is really good. There are lots of opportunities to get involved in different things and socialise with others. We have something called a Guild which is a bit like a lunchtime club. I’m part of the “Java Script Guild” but there’s chance to join any Guild, even if you don’t have the experience. It really makes work more fun!
What is the most enjoyable thing about your job and what surprised you most? I came into this without a coding background and I did not know how to code. From going through the assessment process for this scheme and from starting here I’ve realised that one of my key skills is being able to pick things up quickly and I can now say coding is something I enjoy! I work a lot with Google Chrome but really relish the opportunity to fix problems with Internet Explorer, writing codes can be a lot more complex as they are so rare! I really like the fact that the things that I write and ideas I have are actually being used and that something that seems so simple can actually be really cool. It makes me proud to tell my friends, “Oh I did that!”
What challenges do you like? Have you worked on any challenging projects recently? Some of the challenges include working with the diagnostic flow and rather than have developers working on it, we try to spread expertise so that others know how to fix certain problems or have an understanding of them.
What is the coolest thing you have done at Sky? Before I started my Apprenticeship, I was really nervous about public speaking and would shy away from the chance. I’ve since been able to overcome this fear and was invited to speak at a Women in Technology event where I gave a speech to over 50 people. It was really daunting but so rewarding to have such a positive reaction!
Do you have any other major achievements whilst you have been working at Sky? I was invited to represent at a Hospice Charity event supported by the company and I felt very honoured as an Apprentice to be able to meet and be a part of such a special day.
Your top tip for people applying now – what did you do to stand out when you were applying? Do your research. You don’t need to know everything but having some interesting facts about the company or area you’re interested in really helps. Be enthusiastic and really try to enjoy it!
Where do you see yourself in the Future once completing this programme? As cheesy as it sounds I really love working here and feeling part of the community. I’d love to stay and work as an Associate Software developer and use the skills I’ve developed.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? In my spare time, I’m a Brownie Leader – the complete opposite to my day-to-day role. I enjoy being able to take them camping and help them to work on badges. It’s really rewarding, a time to turn off technology and a bit of a respite for me.
Favourite Sky Move or Sky Atlantic Programme? At the moment it has to be Westworld – I can’t get enough!
"My curiosity landed me my own TV show"
Name: Marvin Ambrosius
I joined the company back in 2007 working as a sales specialist in Athena’s test & learn contact centre. I spent my days on the phone to new and existing customers understanding their wants & needs. My managers recognised that I wanted to progress and I quickly started covering management roles, moving laterally between teams, learning more about the business and the areas I'd like to work in. In 2010 I moved into a more challenging role handling escalated customer complaints. What I didn’t know it at the time is that the communication and interpersonal skills I learnt in this role would help me significantly in the future.
During this time my activity levels dropped and I became unhappy with my weight gain, so I started going to the Sky Gym for 40 minutes a day, 5 days a week for Insanity classes. I lost four stone and had never felt better. My passion for exercise made me curious, wondering what it would take to build a career in fitness. became more and more interested in the work my gym instructors did and would always speak to them, asking questions about what they did and what it takes to do their job.
After some research, I realised I already had some of the key skills needed to start a career as a gym instructor. I reached out to the Sky Gym manager, who after a few conversations, offered me a one month trial instructing my own Insanity class. This gave me the opportunity to use the interpersonal and communication skills I built in the contact centre and before I knew it one class a week turned to three and my career change was complete!
I started studying for my level 2 and level 3 qualifications, hoping to become a PT in the future. This was challenging and involved studying every weekend, alongside working full-time for five months. Coincidentally at this time, Sky started building their own Health & Fitness Centre and would need personal trainers and gym instructors. I had studied relevant qualifications, I’d built relevant skills, and so I contacted my future manager and was successful when I applied for the role.
“I work with a group of people who have active and curious minds, who love exploring new technologies and ways of working”
Name: Derek Mitchell
Job title: Senior Insight Lead, Learning & Development
What area do you work in? Customer Service Group
How did you get to where you are now? I started my career with an interest in process efficiency. This saw me undertaking analysis of machine and process performance within areas as diverse as cardboard box manufacturing and smoked salmon production. I moved here with an interest in applying the principles of process efficiency within the service industry. I started as an analyst looking at the performance of the Technical service centre as it was at the time, understanding type and frequency of demand. I then moved to the Behavioural Science arm of the company for a couple of years where I worked with super rich data informing many facets of the business ranging from engineer performance through to customer contact strategy, before moving my knowledge into Marketing to understand and inform the performance of our new customer propositions. Having gained knowledge across the company, I moved into Financial Services, becoming a Senior Insights Leader for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s retail bank. This gave some valuable perspective on the best practice in Analytics and technology available in other industries, but ultimately, the pace was a bit too slow and I yearned for the less risk adverse, and speedier, our ways of working.
Describe a typical day… I get up, I look at the work my team are doing, clarify the direction we’re heading, and I realise we’re delivering a truly world class Learning Insights capability. My ‘to do’ list is constantly changing as my team span multiple Directorates, and the priorities for each can change on an hourly basis. The bulk of my time is spent ensuring that all new demand is aligned to, or reshaped to fit, our strategic direction, which is to be demonstrably the best Learning Insights function in the world.
What do you specialise in and work with on a daily basis? My key function is simple, I need to ensure that the right people are getting the right training, in the right way, at the right time to maximise business results, to ensure employee engagement remains high, and make certain that our customer needs are met. This is increasingly seeing me look at employee segmentation, applied Behavioural Economics, massive data sets, A/B testing, external best practice, and all sorts of cool ‘data & behaviour stuff’
Describe your work/life balance at Sky? I‘ve two young children so it’s really important that I strike the right balance between work and home. The technology and flexible working approach we have, mean I can keep on top of work and meetings while travelling or working from home, which really makes a difference. Senior leaders are very supportive, and take proactive steps to ensure that work/life balance is in front of everyone’s mind.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? My team. I work with a group of people who have active and curious minds, who love exploring new technologies and ways of working. Seriously, in terms of aptitude and attitude, the Insights guys here rock. They are thought leaders in their field.
What would be your advice to someone who’d want to do what you’re doing? Learn about what is possible through the use of data. Pull yourself back from looking at excel spreadsheets, and ask yourself, what information might exist which tells me how and why people behave the way that they do, now go find that data, and uncover something new!
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I enjoy exploring new ways of doing things, and recently used Facebook, exclusively, to find a buyer for my previous house, and source my current one.
“I now work as part of our VIP HR team, while previously I supported projects within People Communications, Employer Brand and Careers”
Job title: HR Graduate
What area of Sky do you work in? At the moment I work as part of our VIP HR team giving HR support to our on screen Talent and senior management team. Most grad programmes here have rotations within different areas. So as part of the programme I’ve previously worked in our Employee Experience team, supporting projects within People Comms, Employer Brand and Careers.
Describe a typical day in your current role… I try to start most days with a workout at the onsite gym. After that, my days are usually split between working on a couple of different change projects and handling HR support queries.
Describe your work/life balance at Sky? Work/life balance here is great. Mostly there is room for flexibility in my working hours and my manager has always been flexible when it comes to working from home etc. As part of my graduate programme, the company is supporting me towards achieving a Master’s degree and gaining CIPD qualification and have been extremely helpful when it comes to balancing full-time working and university.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your role and what surprised you most? The most enjoyable thing about my current role is the variety of different projects I get to work on. The biggest surprise for me as a grad was probably the amount of ownership on projects you get very early on – of course, the support is always there if you need it but you're given enough space to have your own impact on the work.
What is the best thing about working here? It’s an awesome workplace, with a friendly and dynamic working environment.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I guess being open minded to the opportunities that come along and developing your network, are two things which can really help.
“I’m able to choose where to work based on what would suit me and the team best, whether that’s from a lifestyle or work perspective”
Name: David Turner
Job title: Retail and Partnerships Marketing Controller
What area of NOW TV do you work in/do you manage a team, if so what one? I lead the retail and partnerships marketing team which is part of marketing and planning group.
What do you love most about your role? I get a lot of autonomy in my role and can express my creativity and expertise in retail.
What’s the best thing about working at NOW TV? The people! Everyone I work with is great at their job so when you’re working with someone on a project you know it’s going to be a success!
Give us a short play-by-play of what your day looks like, from waking up to heading home: I get up, drink coffee, get the train to work, and on my way in I listen to loads of audio books usually fiction and business. First thing I do when I get here is plan my day. Then the rest is a whirlwind of working with lots of different people across a variety of teams, reviewing and approving creative and planning all the great things we’ll be doing 2 quarters time!
Your favourite moment at working at NOW TV to date? Launching the NOW TV cards as they came out of the retail team and opened-up a whole new way of selling our products to our customers. This allowed us to start selling our products as part of the video game console bundles, which opened up a channel to which you wouldn’t have before.
What’s your favourite NOW TV benefit and why? Getting access to Sky Q/NOW TV and being part of a larger corporate group which gives me access to great benefits and onsite facilities. For instance being able to go for team breakfast at one on the onsite restaurants without it costing a fortune.
What’s your secret talent? I can do Wing Chun Kung Fu!
Do you work flexibly – if so, tell us about it…I’m able to choose where to work based on what would suit me and the team best, whether that’s from a lifestyle or work perspective. If I need some quiet time to get my head down, I can work from home or one of the quiet booths around the campus. Or if I need to leave early to get to training that’s fine, or again could work from home. Here, you’re 100% trusted to manage your time and workload.
"You know you’ve found a job you love when you wake up and feel genuinely excited about what you’re going to do that day"
Name: Steve Ladlow
Role: Director of Pick & Challenge
I started my career here almost 14 years ago. During that time the business has helped me grow and realise some amazing opportunities. It sounds cheesy but I genuinely love my current role running the Free to Air Entertainment channels Pick and Challenge. With this little blog post I wanted to give a brief insight into the journey I’ve made here so far, including a big (and slightly terrifying) move.
When I started here, my very first job was Sales Assistant for Sky Media, working in spot advertising. It was my job to look after Universal Music’s account where I found myself trying to persuade colleagues to let me drop their client’s advert from The Simpsons in favour for the latest 50Cent album. It often took some serious persuasion skills but what I learnt there has helped me in so many other areas.
I loved the entrepreneurial buzz of Sky Media and realised that sponsorship was an area that I was most suited to as it included things that I enjoyed like negotiation and the creative process. In time, I became the Sponsorship Controller allowing me to work closely with Sky’s Entertainment team securing brand partnerships with our biggest channels and content. I found this area fascinating and through building relationships with various departments gained an insight into how it operated.
When I heard about the opportunity to run Pick and Challenge I was excited, but also filled with doubt as to whether I could do such a big job. Ultimately, I trusted my inner voice and decided to go for it! Taking such a big leap, you have to accept that you can’t be the master of everything on day one. My approach was to be patient and learn from those around me allowing me to shape a much more effective strategy in the long term.
I’ll always be grateful to this organisation for the investment it has made in my development. I’m glad for my time spent growing at Sky Media, it set me up with the skills to make an amazing career move. You know you’ve found a job you love when you wake up and feel genuinely excited about what you’re going to do that day.
If I could offer any advice to people starting out, it would be to take opportunities when they come up – you’ll meet so many interesting people and learn a lot. Nick Milligan once said to me: ‘Have lunch with somebody different each day’, and I’ve tried to remember that. Whether it’s a colleague, someone from a different department, or someone from another company, the connections you make are invaluable.
“I’m now able to focus more on the strategic direction for insight across a business function”
Name: Trevor Roberts
Job title: Head Of Insight - NOW TV Prospects & Propositions
What area of Sky do you work in? Insight & Decision Science – NOW TV
Previous Job title before promotion: Insight Controller
How do you think you achieved your promotion? Now TV is a company which is growing fast, as such there are always new opportunities. It’s also a company that rewards hard and focused work. I felt I had a career path and that by demonstrating that I had over-performed on my objectives and setting new challenging ones for my new role, the promotion was imminent.
How has your role changed since being promoted? I have a larger team, more responsibility and I’m able to step away from the day-to-day tactical work and focus more on strategic direction for insight across a business function.
What advice would you offer people challenging themselves to get a promotion? Have open and honest conversation with your line manager. Ask what you need to do to be promoted and sit down with them and work out a development plan with clear milestones and measureable objectives. If this is agreed up-front and you over-deliver on them, it’s difficult not to be rewarded the promotion.
If you decided not to look externally, what was it about the NOW TV team that has encouraged you to stay here? NOW TV is a dynamic company that has a real start-up feel about it. We all celebrate in each other’s success, work towards common goals and are encouraged to be bold – there’s no blame culture. The structure is very flat and everyone is very approachable right from the MD, through the leadership team, down to recently joined grads.
Interested in joining our Operations team? http://bit.ly/2hChhxw
"We need to build our pipeline of future talented leaders and ensure we're balanced right across the organisation - including our technology areas which are more challenging, yet have the greatest opportunity for growth."
I'm lucky to work at a company like Sky, where gender balance is a key part of our business strategy. Our leaders understand the value having a balanced workforce can bring, drawing on different perspectives and ideas to ensure we serve our customers effectively. Our Women in Leadership programme was set up back in 2014 to do just this. With 40 percent of our senior leaders now women, we're going in the right direction - but we still have more to do. We need to build our pipeline of future talented leaders and ensure we're balanced right across the organisation - including our technology areas which are more challenging, yet have the greatest opportunity for growth.
My role as Head of Women in Leadership has been to design and execute the strategy to help achieve our vision. This has ranged from reviewing our processes on how to recruit talent, building a sponsorship programme to progress & retain our female leaders and working across the business to create a workplace which enables everyone to be at their best.
One of the most rewarding parts of the role is the feedback I get from women after they have been to an event. It could be the inspiration they have received from hearing someone's story, or a valuable connection they have made with a person in another part of the business, or just finding that someone who they can relate to - realising that we are all human. We have great role models all around us and we often just don't see it!
That’s why I’m really excited about two big things that are happening this week at Sky. The first is that once again, we’re supporting International Women's Day, which provides us with a moment in time to celebrate great women and also to reflect on where we are with creating gender equality, both in the workplace and in society. The second is that we’re launching our very own WomeAtSky network, which is another big step forward for us. The network provides everyone at Sky the opportunity to connect with others right across the company and extend the value that women on the leadership programme have gained deeper through the organisation. It's an avenue for real people to share real stories.
And it's not just about women. I had a lovely email from one of our male product designers asking to attend an event so he can showcase inspirational role models to his five year-old daughter. That made my day because it shows how everyone is supporting a more inclusive workplace, now and in the future. I've also had men express interest to be a part of the network because they are passionate about developing people and creating inclusivity. This is the essence of the network - it's about people. The network is open to everyone to get involved - and I'm looking forward to seeing how it evolves as we launch it on a bigger scale.
To find out more click here.
"The assessment centre is where you can really show your personality, so make sure you just be yourself! Be a team player"
Describe Sky in 3 words? Fast-paced, welcoming and motivational.
Tell us a bit about yourself Jake… I'm 20 years old and from Northwood. I studied Business, Tourism and Computing A-levels at St Clements Danes School. I also have a Saturday job at John Lewis. I have been working at Sky for 5 months now.
So what motivated you to apply for an apprenticeship? I had offers to go study at University but I was also keen to research more into apprenticeships, as some of my friends were doing apprenticeships at various companies. Actually my school really pushed us to consider all options, so university and apprenticeships.
What drew you to apply to the Sky Marketing apprenticeship? I came across the Marketing role on the Sky website and found it interesting, so I applied! I've always been interested in the Media sector and had previous work experience in TV production.
Tell us more about your role I'm part of the entertainment marketing team. Essentially I support campaigns, general administration tasks, and contract approvals with our external companies such as HBO.
So what do you think your strengths are and how have you applied it to this job? Confidence – for example doing presentations at the Sky Call Centres has come natural to me. I’ve never really had trouble with public speaking, and this role has only strengthened it.
Is there anything you have had to improve on? I’d definitely say my creative thinking. For example, before I started working at Sky when I would look at a picture in the newspaper, I wouldn’t really look into it in detail.
Tell us about the challenges of this role Getting to grips with the job and the business in the beginning, was quite hard. Also, there are a lot of stakeholders within the company.
What advice would you give for future applicants? Be confident but don’t be too overpowering. The assessment centre is where you can really show your personality, so make sure you just be yourself! Be a team player.
In your own opinion, what are the perks of the job? The on-site gym which I make full use of, especially the boxing classes and personal trainer sessions. I also really enjoy working with my team, they are very supportive and have even got me to watch the game of thrones. (just episode 1 so far). In terms of my role, I get given real responsibility which I really enjoy and it makes me feel valued.
"I'd definitely recommend the apprenticeship scheme. The variety of learning opportunities and the support offered to me makes me excited for a future here."
Job Title: Broadcast IT Apprentice Engineer
How long have you been in the role? 6 months.
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship at Sky? I did not feel like going to university, as it did not appeal to me. My school did not encourage apprenticeships, however I saw what Sky had to offer during my GCSE’s and completed my A Levels with that in mind. It appealed to me as I would be working and studying at the same time, whilst being paid to do so. I see the debt that my friends have and I’m happy with my choice! I also liked the idea of mixing training days with hands on experience.
I enjoy watching TV and was interested in learning more about Sky as a product. Sky is a name everyone knows and it made me feel really proud that I had achieved a place on their apprenticeship scheme.
What attracted you to the Broadcast IT apprentice engineer position? I had an interest in networking at school and hoped to use my IT skills. Sky offered me with a supportive and interesting place to do this.
My role is different every day and I am involved with a wide range of projects. We ensure the smooth running of application and systems, and the maintenance and upkeep of storage.
How do you manage your time between studying, working and your social life? I plan my time and find everything is manageable if you find the right balance. My managers are all very understanding if I explain I have a lot of coursework to do and would appreciate spending more time on that rather than project work. I enjoy the social aspects of Sky and socialise with the IT team and my fellow apprentices on and off campus.
What advice would you give to those considering an apprenticeship? I'd definitely recommend the apprenticeship scheme. The variety of learning opportunities and the support offered to me makes me excited for a future here.