"I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to rebrand a big Business to Consumer (B2C) brand"
Name: Richard Pallister
Job title: Senior Brand Strategy & Development Manager
What area of NOW TV do you work in/do you manage a team, if so what one? I work in the Brand Marketing team; specifically the Brand Strategy & Development team and manage our Brand Copywriter, Elsie.
What do you love most about your role? Working on a genuinely fun brand!
What’s the best thing about working at NOW TV? The people and the culture.
Take us back to when you were little, and tell us what you wanted to be when you grew up? An Astronaut. Or a Cowboy…
Give us a short play by play of what your day looks like, from waking up to heading home: Wake up. Big bowl of Frosties and a glass of orange juice whilst checking FB, Insta etc… Strong start to the day.
An hour on the District Line & SW Trains and I’m in the Sky Gym. Protein shake at the desk, check emails and see how crazy the day is going to be. Everything after that is a bit of a blur – Brand Strategy & Development is mostly long -term projects to better our unique, vibrant brand and set us up to grow faster – whether that be our visual identity, our Tone-of-voice, what we stand for, our brand architecture or how we come across in all customer touch-points. Right now I’m working on developing NOW TV’s brand strategy for 2017/2018 Fiscal Year, how our Brand comes to life in The Hub as well as how we brand and name our exciting new products.
5.30pm comes. And goes. Some days I can get away on time. Others I’m happy to put in a night-shift and burn the midnight oil. Often this is my most productive time of the day. Headphones on. Emails out. Second journey on the glamorous SW Trains and District Line to Wimbledon. I’m home, fed and raring to get stuck into the next episode of The Blacklist. Result!
What do you specialise in (e.g. do you have a role specific speciality?) I’ve been very lucky to have had the chance to rebrand a big Business to Consumer (B2C) brand and then evolve the brand 15 months later. So, if I had to say I specialise in an area, I’d say it’s building a brand – both in terms of the visual identity of it as well as the purpose, personality and the framework which underpins it.
Tell us about a project that you are most proud of and why? The rebrand of NOW TV in March 2015 was my most proud achievement at NOW TV. It was amazing to see a whole business get behind the new brand so enthusiastically. The whole company worked tirelessly to integrate the new brand into their processes; from our advertising to our back-end operations, you could see we had just launched something big – a new, dynamic, disruptive, colourful brand. And a brand which would form the platform for exciting new products like NOW TV Combo and the NOW TV Smart Box. My proudest moment came as the whole company turned out in their most colourful clothes on the 3rd March; the launch day to celebrate the new Brand going live. A big moment.
What’s the most useful bit of feedback you’ve received? Tough one, this. About 18 months ago a previous boss, now my Director, said I should learn to use other people’s skills more. It took a while for me to really take this on board as when I came into NOW TV as a manager, part of me felt like I should have all the answers, and should be able to do everything myself. I’ve now learned that I’m (really) not an expert in every area. Others have more experience in areas which are new to me and I should use their expertise. I’ve now turned this development area into a skill and at the right time, am quick to get other people’s thoughts on my ideas to get the best result. A valuable piece of feedback.
What are your favourite shows on NOW TV? I LOVE The Blacklist and any documentary from Ross Kemp. Westworld, True Detective, Strikeback, Lost and Fortitude were also awesome. BUT, if I’m completely honest, I really do love Geordie Shore and Ex on the Beach. #SorryNotSorry
"My stint has been invaluable and one that I will cherish"
Role: Work Experience Placement - Sky Sports News HQ
In March 2017, I had the opportunity to join Sky Sports News HQ, on a two-week placement. It had always been an ambition of mine to experience working there and I jumped at the opportunity. My intention was clear – I wanted to make the most of my short stint, learning as much as I could, in addition to contributing to the channel’s programming, and meeting professionals who had set benchmarks in the industry.
Despite my aspirational goals, I was able to achieve all that and more, owing only to how well structured the programme, and how encouraging the organisational culture was. I spent my first week with the Planning team, who invited me to share ideas and gave me constructive feedback every step of the way. The hands-on approach of the programme continued into my second week, when I joined the Digital and Production teams. I learnt about the workflow and was presented opportunities to create content for both linear and digital platforms, greatly adding to my portfolio.
Each of the two weeks culminated in me shadowing a reporter during a press conference, which significantly enhanced my understanding of the preparation that goes into reporting. This was especially exciting for me, as I hadn’t experienced a presser in the UK before. Remarkably, I was allowed to choose how I wanted to spend my limited time at SSN HQ, adding flexibility to an already well-rounded programme.
What really stood for me, however, was the organisational culture – people across the board were welcoming and always up for a chat. During these two weeks, I met some senior executives, who were very generous with their time, despite their busy schedules. It was also a truly diverse workplace, which made it even more attractive to young professional like myself. The passion people shared for the Sky brand was tangible, with professionals acting like true ambassadors.
The programme gives young people a chance to experience what it’s like to work for a broadcaster that has consistently set the gold standard in sports news reporting. The environment not only encourages initiative but rewards it, inviting people to create content, and giving them a platform to showcase it. My stint, albeit short, has been invaluable and one that I will cherish indeed.
“Career development is your responsibility; if you have the drive and passion to progress then this is the business to be in”
Name: Craig Smith
Job title: Customer Experience Leader
What area of Sky do you work in and what do you do on a daily basis? I work in our Livingston Contact Centre focusing on Sky TV. On a daily basis I support a team of Advisors to deliver excellent experience for our customers. Part of this is resolving customer queries that my Advisors are having difficulty with. I also ensure my team are on track with enhancing our customers’ packages and positioning the right products where possible.
How did you get into your role? I joined as an Advisor and have been able to progress through taking ownership of my own development. I created a development plan of where I wanted to go and the steps I needed to take to get there. With the help and support of colleagues and taking advantage of opportunities, I’ve been able to build up relevant skills and succeeded in progressing.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? There isn’t one stand out difference I’ve made in my role, however, I’m able to come to work every day and support our Advisors to achieve what they thought wasn’t achievable. When the penny drops and people realise they can achieve anything they want, if they put steps in place to achieve it, there isn’t a better feeling. My proudest so far would be securing my current role because it’s been 18 months hard work!
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? The people and the benefits. This is an excellent company to work for, they put us first. There are always incentives, games, team challenges, themes, dressing up going on to engage and motivate us - you name it, it’s going on. I actually have fun at work which is something I never thought I‘d say. There are also external benefits for my family such as health care, discount vouchers and emergency childcare.
Describe your contact centre - what makes it a great place to work? The people are amazing. I commute 40 minutes each way to Livingston and wouldn’t change location because of the team. We’re so resilient and open to change, when the business throws any changes our way we pull together and always achieve great things.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Career development is your responsibility; if you have the drive and passion to progress then this is the business to be in. There are so many opportunities in various departments, sites and even countries and the possibilities are endless.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I have a degree in Sports Science and narrowly missed out on Bio Mechanist Apprentice with the Liverpool first team.
“I’d recommend making the most of any opportunity that comes your way, and go the extra mile – whether it’s for your customer, your team or your own development”
Name: Clare Eadie
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 within Retentions at our Glasgow Contact Centre, which is our biggest retention site. My role is primarily to support, motivate and inspire our Advisors, and help them exceed expectations when talking to our customers on the phone.
Each month, I work with about 10 different Advisors, this generally involves an hour of side-by-side call listening and another hour of one-to-one coaching. This is an opportunity for the Advisors to discuss which areas they want support with and how they plan to achieve their goals.
The programme last for 4 consecutive weeks. Keeping our Advisors engaged and motivated for the duration can sometimes be difficult. However when I see them perform well, knowing that I was able to support their achievement it’s worthwhile.
How did you get into your role? I joined as a Retentions Advisor in 2014. The role was challenging at times but I was able to learn new things everyday and was supported by my manager. When the SME opportunity came up, I wasn’t sure if I should apply as I’d only been in my role as a Retentions Advisor for a year. I decided to apply anyway and I got the job! Two years on, I’m still here and loving every minute.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I had the opportunity to work with one of our Advisors on his performance, we were able to improve his performance rate from 40 - 50% up to 75% in two weeks. As a result, our Advisors see the value of having the support of an SME.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Working with different people every month, seeing their progression and how motivated they become.
Describe your contact centre - what makes it a great place to work? The people - there are so many friendly, energetic and enthusiastic people at the Contact Centre. The approachability of managers is great too, they are visible and happy to chat to you whether it be work related or not.
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? The role I’m in is a developing role that I’d 100% recommend, I’m looking to find my way into other areas of the business and this role gives me a great opportunity to do this. I’d recommend making the most of any opportunity that comes your way, and go the extra mile – whether it’s for your customer, your team or your own development. It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. I have a degree in French and Spanish, I’m very rusty but I have the qualification to prove it!
We at Sky Data, were challenged and we delivered
Name: Harry Carr
Role: Insight Manager - Content
When Faisal Islam first came in as the Political Editor for Sky News, he challenged the Insight and Decision Science team to find a way to use the resources and data available across our company to make Sky News a more interactive experience for our viewers. Fast forward two years and we now hold the 2017 Royal Television Society Award for News Technology.
We’ve developed Sky Data, which transforms our customer base into a research panel. We contact a nationally representative sample either online or via SMS to get their reaction to breaking news, with the weighted results then displayed on air. From the nation’s favourite David Bowie song to Brexit to Donald Trump, Sky Data lets us hear what the UK and Ireland are thinking right now.
Not only has it proven quick and efficient, but Sky Data is low cost, saving us from spending on external polling providers.
In the run-up to the EU Referendum last year, Sky Data was able to accurately predict the result by each local authority. It gave our coverage an extra dimension, and kept us one step ahead of our rivals throughout the night. It’s been carefully tested against ‘gold standard’ academic polls across a broad range of political attitudes, as well as standard polling questions, and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with more established mainstream pollsters.
It took a monumental effort to make this possible, not just from the IDS team, but through collaboration with areas across the organisation. Without the backing of Directors, the work of Analysts and Programmers turning around surveys while still managing the unique stresses of news cycle, and Producers, Editors and Presenters transforming it into quality on-air coverage, none of this could have happened.
Sky Data’s recognition at the RTS Awards at the start of March is the result of teamwork and collaboration. It reflects our willingness to encourage creativity, reward innovation, and give us the freedom and flexibility to dream big and turn imagination into reality.
“I am passionate about always striving to be the very best that I can be – even if that is just 1% better than yesterday”
Name: Jillian Carrigan
Job title: Customer Experience Leader
What area of Sky do you work in? Save Sky in our Glasgow Contact Centre.
How did you get into your role? I started as a Customer Service Advisor and worked my way up the ranks.
How have you made a difference in your role / what’s been your proudest moment working here? I recently received phenomenal feedback from some of the team members I’ve been mentoring. They felt that the advice and guidance I’d given equipped them to interview for a Customer Experience Leader role in the Contact Centre. It was great to get that feedback.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Watching a light bulb moment in a coaching session.
Describe your contact centre, what makes it a great place to work? As the slogan says “Glasgow smiles better”. The people make our Glasgow Contact Centre a great place to work!
Have you had the opportunity to progress in your role? What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? I’ve grasped every opportunity to progress in my role here, there are fantastic development courses, inspiring training and mentoring schemes, all which really help you progress. Working as one team and regularly meeting with different support services to ensure we’re all on the same page has helped too. We all have one goal; to put our customers at the heart of everything we do!
I’m passionate about always striving to be the very best that I can be – even if that’s just 1% better than yesterday. I believe that having this outlook has resulted in more responsibility. So my advice is to be 1% better than yesterday, the harder you work the luckier you will become!
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself. This year, I was in the sea alongside wild, shallow water lemon sharks, just off the coast of Africa unprotected and I have pictures to prove it!
“I love it when our teams get behind initiatives with a really positive attitude and seeing some of the great, innovative ideas they come up with”
Name: Alastair Rodgers
Job title: Principal Engineer
What area of Sky do you work in? I work in the Digital Trading department. We’re responsible for selling our products to consumers on the web and through the Sky Mobile app. As a Principal Engineer, I’m involved with both technical leadership and people management.
What’s your career journey been like up until now? I did a PhD in Astrophysics, which involved working on a telescope in Arizona and writing lots of data analysis and simulation software. After university, I worked as a full-stack Software Developer for a start-up, developing Digital Rights Management solutions. I then worked in financial services as a Developer, a Software Architect and eventually an Enterprise Architect. After a couple of years as an EA, I decided I wanted to get back to a more technical, hands-on role, so I joined as a Senior Developer. After a few months, I took a promotion to Principal Engineer, sharing technical leadership and management responsibilities for the Digital Trading Engineering team.
What does a typical day working here look like for you? I spend a lot of time providing technical direction and guidance to our Software Development teams, working with the Engineers on solution architecture, design and best practice. This often involves workshops and other meetings, as well as fielding many emails and messages from our team and other colleagues in the business. I work with the Principal Engineers from other departments too, so we can learn from each other and join up on common approaches. I also manage some of our Developers, helping them to develop their careers and dealing with any issues that arise. It’s fast-paced and I often have to deal with many different things in a typical day, but this helps keep the job interesting and stimulating.
How have you made a difference in your role? Shortly after I started the role, we embarked on a major overhaul of the software platform supporting our online shop, to enable us to sell products more flexibly and effectively. This involved defining the target solution architecture, evangelising the approach, selecting suitable technologies and helping the engineering teams with software design and implementation. We’re now in the middle of this transformation and I’m really excited about the new opportunities it’ll open up.
What’s been your proudest moment since working here? Seeing our teams get behind initiatives with a really positive attitude and seeing some of the great, innovative ideas they come up with.
What’s the most enjoyable thing about your job? Working with our engineers to build great systems and constantly learning new technology and techniques.
Describe your work/life balance? As I have 3 kids, I find our flexibility really helpful. I sometimes work from home and our technology makes this easy, though I prefer to be in the office most of the time. We encourage everyone to take responsibility for their own time management. I can generally leave work behind when I leave the office, though I do use my commute for catching up on new technology.
What advice would you give to others trying to develop their career? Step outside your everyday tasks and don’t rest on your laurels. If you see a problem, ask yourself what you can do to improve things. Sometimes this can be daunting if it takes you outside your comfort zone, but taking on new challenges can really help develop your skills and lead to new opportunities. At the same time, don’t take on a new role or promotion unless it’s what you really want – try to pursue things you really enjoy and don’t think that ‘career progression’ always has to mean promotion.
An interesting fact/something no one else knows about you? I discovered the third ever known source of cosmic very high-energy gamma rays, a galaxy called Markarian 501. This is an obscure branch of astronomy, and in any case, no one ever remembers the guy who came third.
“As a Legal Advisor you need to think about potential legal issues not just from your own viewpoint, but from others’, and what their response to it might be.”
Name: Katie Wright
Job Title: Legal Counsel, Legal- Litigation
What do you love about your job? The variety and the fact that you’re constantly learning.
One of the most interesting projects that I’ve had the opportunity to work on here is The Pledge.
What is The Pledge? The Pledge is Sky News’ “no-nonsense, straight-talking debate show” which airs every Thursday evening. Each show features five commentators from a pool of nine. These include former footballer Graeme Le Saux, entrepreneur Lady Michelle Moon, business consultant Michelle Dewberry, FA chairman Greg Dyke, journalist Carole Malone, entrepreneur James Caan, novelist Rachel Johnson and LBC Radio host Nick Ferrari. Unusually for a debate show, it’s unmoderated, so there’s no traditional presenter. Each commentator chooses and introduces a topic that is of interest to them that week.
What is Legal’s role? The show covers current and often controversial topics, so Legal’s role is to help ensure that it complies with all legal and regulatory requirements.
Why is it interesting? It’s an incredibly interesting programme to work on because the issues covered are all current and often provoke strong and opposing views. As a Legal Advisor this requires you to think about potential legal or regulatory issues not just from your own viewpoint but to consider how others might view a topic and what their response to it might be.
It’s filmed near-live so there isn’t very long after filming finishes to make editorial changes, which means that any decisions need to be made quickly if there’s a potential legal or regulatory issue.
What have you learned from it? It’s taught me to think around an issue for any potential legal pitfalls, problem solve very quickly and always expect the unexpected!
"It’s really great to be part of a team that doesn’t just accept that people are different, but champions Inclusion and Diversity"
My name is Abigail Harper, I'm 31 and live in Leeds. I work for Sky as a Scrum Master at the Digital Centre of Excellence - working with a team delivering internal and external facing websites, as well as mobile applications.
My career started very differently leaving school at 16 and joining the Royal Marines Commandos as a man. There were many reasons for this but proving I was not just a man, but the manliest of men.
After a number of years, I left the forces with the intention of pursuing a career as a Software Engineer and went to university as a mature student. Whilst at university, and after many years of struggling, I realised that I didn't have anything to prove as a man, as I wasn't one. I underwent a sex change and started living as a woman.
After university I was really worried about how I would be perceived in the workplace, not only would I be treated fairly but would I even get a job. This turned out not to be an issue and over a number of years I've worked firstly on delivering software in IT and telecommunications, then later working as a Scrum Master and Agile Project Manager supporting teams and delivering software that has helped our employees and customers alike.
While here I’ve been involved in supporting women in technology events, and Sky’s LGBT forum championing inclusion and diversity in the workplace, along with events including; Sky's involvement in the Leeds Pride parade, and our Managers’ help packs to support trans employees. It’s really great to be part of a team that doesn’t just accept that people are different, but champions Inclusion and Diversity not only in the work orce but in the programs we produce. This all while looking for even more new ways to foster this kind of environment. I think it takes more than just having a diverse group of people working together. It actually requires continuing to have open conversations about what makes us different. in that way, we can truly be a stronger, inclusive team.
"As an Apprentice I’m given the flexibility to try everything!"
What area of Sky do you work in? I’ve almost finished the Sky News Journalism Apprenticeship which I started in September 2015. I’ve worked in a variety of departments in the newsroom such as planning, radio, digital, and spent the summer with the political team during the referendum in June 2016.
For the first three months of my aApprenticeship, I studied to complete the level three diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists. Modules involved Media Law, Shorthand, Public Affairs, and Video Journalism. I started in the newsroom full-time from January once I completed all of my exams.
Describe a typical day… 0930: A meeting is held to discuss the day’s stories.0945: A separate meeting will be held to assign a story which you will work on to produce for the evening show: Sky News Tonight with Dermot Murnaghan.1000: A planning meeting is held to discuss stories for the next day, logistics of where teams, cameras, and reporters will be sorted.1500: An update on the packages that producers have been working on and whether a story has changed, or broken!1530: An update on the planning stories for the following day and ensuring is still going to plan if the story hasn’t changed on the current day.
What made you do an apprenticeship? I was in my first year at the University of Glasgow studying History and French with the idea of going on to be a journalist when I graduated. I wasn’t aware of the apprenticeship scheme at Sky News until I was looking for a summer internship and saw the role being advertised. The brief was everything I wanted to do when I was older and the job description sounded perfect as I was doing everything I loved, and at the end of the two years I would be given a permanent job.
How did you feel after applying? Once I applied I didn’t hear back for a while and truly believed I hadn’t been successful. However, I received an email to say I had been shortlisted for a telephone interview and then went onto the assessment day in June. The assessment centre here was the most memorable and was really important. I still remember it was one of the hottest days of the year, and coming away from the day I really wanted to be a part of Sky – I was given a variety of tasks which involved working within a team, a test, and an interview with my now manager.
What was the most enjoyable thing about your job? As the first Sky News Apprentice, I’m given the flexibility to try everything! I have been given the opportunity to work on some amazing projects which has involved working with a variety of people in Sky News. I was lucky enough to work on the Debates with David Cameron and Michael Gove for the referendum, and the Labour Leadership Debate with Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith right here at Sky News. Another highlight was spending everyday on Abingdon Green in Westminster after the referendum result, interviewing politicians and help co-ordinate presenting on the Green with our presenters.
How has your perspective on news reporting been influenced by this Apprenticeship? I think I don’t take a press release as gospel anymore. I’m a lot more sceptical and will check the numbers and ensure that if a poll is done, it is surveyed with a decent amount of people so it is credible. Some stories are reported annually, such as the budget, or the holiday season and it’s trying to find a new angle so the story is still interesting and relevant.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve done at Sky? It has to be working on the results team for the night of the referendum. The adrenaline of working on such a monumental piece of history – and then the result! A huge team was involved and I worked on ensuring Sky News had the correct results before displaying them on screen and providing them for online, and other departments of news.
Your top application tip for people looking to apply in the future? It sounds silly but to be interested and inquisitive in all different areas of news. Every day you’re working on a different story and putting a package together for TV, mobile and online. When I first came to Sky News from university, I received pretty much all of my news from my phone on news apps, on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s okay. I’m not the generation to go out and buy a newspaper!
What surprised you most about the apprenticeship? Have any of your ideas been taken on? In a meeting everyone is open to hearing different ideas and so I wasn’t intimidated by speaking out if I felt I had something to add. I’m always having colleagues come to me to ask how to use Snapchat and Instagram. A 9/11 remembrance service was taking place on my first day in the office and I’ d seen on social media a six-month-old dog called Bounce who had rescued those in the attack and was being honoured as a veteran all these years later, meeting Barack Obama and touring New York – The story did really well online.
An interesting fact/something people don’t know about you? I was the voice of Annie on Little Einstein’s on Playhouse Disney.
What’s something that you are looking forward to in the future? I’ve just been nominated for the NCTJ Apprentice of the Year, which is really cool! I didn’t expect to be nominated and if I don’t win it’s really amazing to be recognised.