Cancer fight inspired Dunfermline colleagues to raise awareness of a worthy cause
A determined Burntisland woman’s journey through cancer has inspired her – and her colleagues – to raise money for Breast Cancer Care.
Karen, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in February this year and continued to work in her senior role as customer experience leader at our Dunfermline call centre, throughout her fight.
Following her diagnosis, subsequent surgery, eight sessions of chemotherapy and 20 sessions of radiotherapy over a period of nine months, Karen took only a few days off work.
And she is now harnessing the strength she’s taken from her battle with the illness to raise awareness and help others.
Karen, who has a daughter Vicky, 32, and three grandchildren – Kobe 10, Kaden, seven, and Jaxson James, three – said: “When I was first diagnosed I said ‘I’m not going to let this get the better of me’. I want to see my grandchildren grow up and get married and I was determined to fight it.
“I had no idea what to expect but I knew I had to just keep going. My hair started to fall out after the first chemo session, so I went to the Turkish barbers and told them to shave it all off! I thought ‘I’m in this process now – I need to just go with it’.
“After the chemo, I went to work feeling so sick – like I had a washing machine in my stomach – but I carried on, determined not to let it get to me. I love my job and being at work definitely helped my recovery.
“Now that I’ve gone through it and I’m recovering, I need to make people aware of the importance of regular checks – and not being afraid of going to the doctor if you think something could be wrong.”
To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Week, Karen took a lead role in organising pink-themed activities and celebrations with her colleagues at our Dunfermline base.
Visitors, including members of the Fife Flyers ice hockey team, came down to join in the fun over the weekend, and there were stalls and activities – all with a pink theme.
“I was never excited by university but an apprenticeship was perfect for me” Read on to find out more about Lewis' decision to do an apprenticeship with Sky.
I was never excited by university - the prospect of another three years in full time education didn’t appeal to me. I took a gap year to look at my options and built some work experience before deciding that an apprenticeship, with its balance of on the job experience and qualifications, would be the ideal opportunity to help me start my career. And Sky was that place!
It’s been 6 months since I started at Sky as an apprentice, working in Broadcast Services. From the very start I felt part of Sky. All of the apprentices got to attend an induction event in Osterley and I was able to meet apprentices from areas right across the business. It was a great help as it meant that I met lots of like-minded people who I still meet up with now each week.
What I like most about the Sky Academy apprentice programme here is that there’s so much variety. I spend most of my time at work but have blocks of training every four to six weeks. And everyone has been so welcoming and supportive – something that’s made a real difference to me.
I’d definitely recommend the apprentice programme to anyone looking to start out in something new. Not only do you learn on the job but even better, you get fully stuck in too.
Simran knew further education wasn't for her, she started looking into Apprenticeships and Sky stood out - read more about her story here...
Upon completing my first year of 6th form I decided that pursuing higher education was not for me. So instead I looked for apprenticeships and Sky immediately stood out. I was keen to join a company that is ever growing and uses new and innovative technologies. I felt that Sky ticked all these boxes.
The application process was thorough and went through four stages: an online application, an unattended coding test, a telephone interview and an assessment centre which consisted of a coding challenge and an interview. I found it challenging as I didn’t have a background in programming but with the desire to learn I managed to make it through.
I hope at the end of the apprenticeship to become an Associate Software Developer and then progress further up the organisation - perhaps to more of a leadership role.
I really enjoy working for Sky as it is a good environment to be in and the scheme really does help the transition from education to the workplace. This was initially a big change for me but I now feel more confident in my role here.
I have learned a lot of skills upon arriving at Sky, not only programming in general but also people skills. I have definitely developed better teamwork and communication skills since I have been here.
I would absolutely recommend this apprenticeship to those with a passion for technology and a desire to learn. If you haven’t got a background in computer science don’t let it stop you. Although the rate of learning is fast it is interesting and worth it!
Hi! I am the Fast Forward Intern working in Entertainment, and since starting this scheme in July have got to work across a range of different departments that come under Entertainment at Sky. This has essentially involved working closely with our Sky Channels including Sky 1, Sky Living, Sky Atlantic and Sky Arts.
I started off in the Acquisitions department who deal with buying the programmes that end up on our Sky channels; such as Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic and Scandal on Sky Living. This was a great place to start my placement as I was able to gain a real understanding of the character of the individual Sky channels and what our viewers look for when they tune in. I was able to screen programmes before they had been released and played a part in deciding which shows we would or wouldn’t acquire. In doing this I grew more confident in articulating my opinion and learnt more about what makes a quality show (and what doesn’t!) keeping in mind the audiences that Sky appeals to. It was particularly interesting to witness the level of negotiation that needs to happen before a deal is complete and a show can officially be aired. All of this helped to broaden my awareness to just how much comes into play in order to make TV happen!
Whereas Acquisitions deal with programmes that have, for the most part, already been produced; my time in Commissioning involved following programmes from some of their earliest stages. Therefore, I often had to anticipate the potential for a show to make for interesting, engaging viewing from its initial pitching idea. I spent time across all the genres that our Sky content covers including comedy, drama and factual entertainment. It was very exciting to see various comedy and drama scripts come to life on the TV screen, witnessing the growth of various projects and realising how many different departments are involved in making one show come on air.
In Production, I was introduced to the logistical side of making television. I found that whilst a creative understanding was integral to Commissioning, having a knack for coordination was quite useful in Production. There were lots of opportunities for hands on work on set and I definitely came to appreciate the long hours and hard work that goes behind the scenes of a TV set.
My time in the Scheduling department has been another eye opener. There’s a huge amount that goes into scheduling TV programmes far more than I initially anticipated. It was interesting to discover the various thought processes that go into deciding when certain programmes are going to be played on certain channels. Always taking into consideration what other competitor channels may be showing at that time and realising that where you schedule a show has a huge effect on how many people will end up tuning in.
And my time on the Fast Forward Scheme doesn’t end there! Later on in the year I’ll move on to many more departments including PR, marketing, music, digital and online. And I can’t wait to find out what more I’ll discover as my Fast Forward journey continues!
Working in news is not a 9-5 job and no day is ever the same
I am the Fast Forward working in Sky News and since starting in July have got to work across a number of different platforms of Sky News including TV, online and iPad. It’s an exciting and fast paced environment where you really have the chance to get stuck in.
A highlight of working at Sky News has been the opportunity to have my work put out there for audiences to see. Working in the online and digital department, I have been able to create content for the Sky News website and iPad app. This has included researching and writing articles, sourcing and creating picture galleries and carrying out research to commission graphics. This has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of working at Sky News as it’s a varied and creative role. Once you hit publish your work is out there for everyone to see which makes this an incredibly rewarding and satisfying job.
I have also had the opportunity to work in television, working with the planning team at Sky News. My role was to assist the planning editors and researchers to set up interviews and find case studies for upcoming stories. This involves numerous telephone calls and emails however I learnt that perseverance is vital in this role. It’s all worth it when a case study comes together and you see the interview that you've set up on television the next day.
As well as working in the newsroom, I have also had the chance to spend some time out in the field shadowing reporters. On my second day at Sky News I shadowed our East of England correspondent, Emma Birchley, at a press conference hosted by the Mayor of London. Spending time behind the scenes is very insightful as you begin to see and appreciate all the different elements it takes to put a package together.
Lastly I am fortunate in that my year at Sky News also happens to coincide with the General Election in May 2015. As early as November I have been carrying out research based around the election which has included the demographic profiling of around 150 constituencies and finding people to interview around the country. It’s incredibly exciting to be involved in the coverage of one of the biggest upcoming events in British politics.
Working in news is not a 9-5 job and no day is ever the same. It's a constantly changing environment which really keeps you on your toes; however this also means you're in an environment where you're always learning new skills. I've learnt so much in the past sixth months and am definitely looking forward to the next six ahead!
The new look Sky Retail Store (SRS) in Brent Cross is here - just in time for the Christmas rush.
It’s the eleventh SRS store to open this year as part of our work to transform Sky Retail. Brent Cross, along with the previous ten new look stores for 2014, are fully digital, which allows our advisors to demo all our Sky services. We're calling them concept stores. Our advisors have the flexibilty to move around when talking to customers by using iPads, meaning they can offer the best service.
Store Manager Vishal Mehta told us: “My Team at Brent Cross are delighted to have the new concept store which is the first one in our area. We have dedicated staff, with great skills and our new store has got all the tools we need to demo.
Area Manager Rana Ashraf added: “I’m extremely delighted to have a new concept store in Brent Cross shopping centre. The store looks absolutely amazing and packed with technology which will help advisors to give great product demo to customers. The Brent Cross team are also very optimistic to have a new store which will help them give good service to customers and build a good rapport. The new store truly shows the best of Sky. I’m looking forward to good things coming from it.”
"One of the best things about working at Sky is the knowledge I have received by working with different people who have been in the industry– every day I am learning something new from people’s experiences and advice." Find out more about Leah's experience as a FastForward intern
Applying for the Fast Forward Scheme
Fortunately for me the Fast Forward Scheme is open to people in my sixth form. I had heard about the Fast Forward scheme from an early stage of doing my A Levels and knew it was exactly what I wanted to be doing after I left high school.
I am currently interning in the Creative Department at Sky, this area appealed to me most because I studied English, Media, Photography and Sociology and having a background in Media and creative subjects tied in well with this area.
The Creative Department is massive and there are a variety of roles within this department - you are able to move around different areas for the first six months and then stay in a chosen area of your choice for the remaining six months. The best thing about experiencing so many different areas is probably the fact you learn what your interests are and what career paths you may want to go down. Some of the areas include: Promos, New Graphics, Sky Sport Graphics, VFX and Events.
Best Bits about working at Sky
One of the best things about working at Sky is the knowledge I have received by working with different people who have been in the industry– every day I am learning something new from people’s experiences and advice.
There are many opportunities for you whilst you’re in your areas – I am currently in Promos and given the chance to cut a Promo for Sky’s free view channel PICK for a mini-series called Treasure Island which is going onto air this Christmas.
I have been given the responsibility to come up with an idea and run with it – this involves cutting my own promo, writing a script, choosing a soundtrack for it, choosing a voice over artist for it and taking it to audio.
Below are some pictures of my time in audio – this was one of my favourite parts of making a Promo as I sat down with an audio engineer and got to add sound design and effects on top of my promo to make it more dramatic and exciting. I also met with the voice over artist - Johnathon Kydd who I selected and got to work with and direct him to follow the script in a Pirate voice! This was loads of fun and is just one of many exciting things that go on within the Creative department at Sky!
A week behind the scenes on Soccer AM
I'm the Fast Forward Intern in Sky Sports and since I started in July have been working with the Soccer AM production team. No week is quite the same as the one that preceded it, when working on a show such as Soccer AM. I can be asked to make props, locate tapes or collect guests and although there are tasks which I need to consistently carry, out it’s never totally predictable.
My week starts on a Tuesday with the weekly ideas meeting. This meeting gives every crew member the opportunity to bring forward their thoughts, ideas and unique flavour relating to the most topical news stories; especially if it relates to football or the weeks guests. The amalgamation of thoughts and ideas create a first draft of the Saturday show. After the meeting I routinely begin my first task of the week, logging football matches - the act of watches matches in the hope of witnessing any skills, goals, or funny incidents that may feature in the show. As the most junior crew member I am given the most matches to log and this duty takes up the rest of the working day.
On Wednesdays I have the responsibility of sending out Soccer AM mugs to lucky winners from our online competition. I have also recently begun to get into edit and prep, cut and direct an editor to produce the feature ‘Tekkers, Taxi and Tumble’. It’s especially rewarding, after hours of working on a piece, to see it used on the live show.
The next day begins with the routine logging of matches, but pickups later on as Thursday is often when we go out to shoot for a segment of the show entitled ‘Football Catchphrase’. The shoot normally takes up a couple hours of the day and involves myself, Dave (Producer), Rocket (Assistant producer) and the work experience student for the week. We drive over to our location at Chiswick playing fields and get into costume before filming. This is an experience I thoroughly enjoy, not just because it is an opportunity to get out of the office, but also because it allows me to experience all facets of production.
Fridays are my longest days with a 12 hour shift considered the norm. The day commences with a drinks run for the script meeting featuring the Director, the PA, the Presenters, the Producer and the Executive Producer. I have been able to attend this meeting and it gave me a great insight into how the input of the director and the presenters can either add to or subtract from the script. It also showed me how the process of creating the show is forever on-going, as it continues to evolve. After the script meeting, rehearsals begin. I help to set up the studio before returning to the office to log a late night Spanish or Championship game because it is never too late to make additions to the show the show.
After a busy week of preparation it’s Saturday and the day of the show, which begins with an early 7am start. At 7.30am we have the script meeting which not only lays out what the show will feature but also a meticulous to the minute schedule. Following this, I get ready for the audience’s arrival, I make sure there is a list and wristbands at the gatehouse where I will pick them up at 9.30am and escort them to security. As part of the running team on the show it can get quite hectic in the lead up to going live, in accommodating for the gallery, guests and talent. The show goes live at 10am and in complete contrast this time is much calmer and I get the chance to actually watch the show.
Once we have come off air, I pack up all of the props, clear the set and take a picture of a guest with the Soccer AM mug for the weekly online competition. Before I know it, it’s 12.25pm and I am off to enjoy the rest of my day and the weekend until it all comes back around on Tuesday.
The Knowledge Management team have been working hard on iKnow over the last couple of years to develop it so that it’s easy to navigate, gives you all the information you need in one place, and also that it continues to deliver for you by listening to feedback to make it even better and we've now been awarded for our efforts.
The Knowledge Management team have been working hard on iKnow over the last couple of years to develop it so that it’s easy to navigate, gives you all the information you need in one place, and also that it continues to deliver for you by listening to your feedback to make it even better.
The winner of the Kana 2014 Award for Best Agent Experience goes to the organisation that best demonstrates how improvements for their advisors allows them to work smarter and serve customers better. The awards were judged by distinguished industry experts who were impressed with iKnow in particular the repeated achievement of high NPS scores, an excellent user centered design and user engagement process.
What else did the teams achieve?
• Retired 4 old knowledge tools (remember Mojo, Sky Answers, Infotab and the CEL tool Athena?) and created iKnow as a single tool with all knowledge content in one place
• Incorporation of new content areas and call types never previously available e.g. Online and mobile and Account and Billing content
• Brand new user engagement activities including regular knowledge surgeries held across sites
• Advisors telling us they’re now confident to take calls which they'd previously have transferred e.g. on demand
We caught up with Gary, Head of Knowledge Management to get his thoughts on winning; ‘I'm extremely proud that the continuous hard work of all the teams (including Channel Development, Knowledge Management, CBS to name a few) in building, delivering and maintaining iKnow has been externally recognised with this Global Award. Most importantly this award is for all of those advisors that have helped us keep iKnow up-to-date, relevant and continuously evolving, through feedback, user sessions and knowledge surgeries, so a huge thanks from me to everyone who has contributed.’
Joanne, Programme and Service Delivery Manager added; ‘Our sales and service advisors together with our knowledge champions across our sites played a big part in us achieving this award. It’s their continual input, feedback and also their own knowledge and expertise which shapes iKnow and makes it even better for their colleagues. So much better in fact that we have clear evidence that advisors who follow iKnow through to content end points achieve consistently higher NPS and FTR scores than advisors who don’t.’
Currently in her final year, Rose was recently awarded “Undergraduate Placement Student of the Year” at Oxford Brookes University recognising her experiences from her placement year within the Corporate Affairs team at Sky.
More about me and why I chose a placement
I grew up in a little village in Gloucestershire in the heart of the countryside and therefore moving to London seemed rather daunting. Coupled with the fact I have only ever had temporary work during school also added to my nerves of starting at Sky. However my team and the other placement and graduate students were so welcoming it made the transition incredibly easy. I am studying Business Management at Oxford Brookes now in my final year and since being on my placement I have found I have enjoyed and understood my course a lot more as I am able to apply real life examples to the theory I am learning about. I wanted a placement as I knew it would provide me some real work experience alongside my degree and also help me to understand what sort of job I might want to apply for after I graduated.
Why Corporate Affairs appealed to me
Corporate Affairs appealed to me as it seemed to provide opportunities in lots of different, exciting areas that I had never thought of trying before. I knew I enjoyed working with lots of different people, planning projects, and being creative and therefore Corporate Affairs seemed to fit the bill. The Bigger Picture team particularly appealed to me as I had been learning about corporate social responsibility at University and found it was something I was really interested in and also passionate about.
How I found the year and what I enjoyed about it
I was lucky enough to be placed in the Bigger Picture team and found my year provided all of the above and so much more. Project managing a week long campaign, engaging supporters to take action to help protect the Amazon for Sky Rainforest Rescue with the help of Ben Fogle, to helping put on a live awards show to celebrate the amazing achievements of teachers and students as part of Sky Sports Living for Sport with special guests Jessica Ennis-Hill and David Beckham. Throughout my whole year there were many more exciting moments like these and what I found so great about Sky is they really care about your development and therefore provide you with such amazing opportunities such as these where you can be responsible and learn so much. Everyone tells you Sky is a fast paced environment but it’s not until you get there you realise how fast, but that’s what makes it such an interesting place to work as not one single day is the same.
What surprised me
Whilst working at Sky there wasn’t one moment where I felt like I was treated like an intern or placement student I was always just as valued and respected as any other member in the team which is what I think makes Sky such a brilliant place to work. When discussing with other placement students they are always amazed at the responsibility I was given. Taking a placement at Sky has set me up for my future more than I ever could have imagined.
Advice for current applicants
No one expects you to know everything (which is what I thought when I first started)… by asking lots of questions it will definitely help you develop and have a successful placement. Everyone at Sky has time to help and everyone is always asking questions so don’t be afraid to speak up.