At College I took a mix of A Levels that respected my abilities and gave me a good grounding to further myself whether I decided to do an apprenticeship, go to university, or straight into work to start my career. I chose the apprenticeship route as I learn better in a hands-on teaching environment, doing on-the-job training and would earn a salary while studying.

In year 13 I focused on applying for apprenticeships in the technology sector. My interest in technology stemmed from radiology work experience I did in Year 11. As time went on I was drawn more towards artistic and television-based technology rather than health or science.

Although I had no technical media experience, I thought carefully about the skills I had developed through my A Levels when applying to different apprenticeships. Classics demonstrated I was able to learn and retain large amounts of information; Psychology gave me a better understanding of people from all walks of life and how their brains work; and Art presented my ability as a visual and practical learner. Each of my A Levels all provided me with applicable skills that would assist me in all of the positions I applied for.

As a Sky Broadcasting Technology Apprentice, I was based in Sky Head Office in West London. Sky Studios is a 24-hour live building where I learnt about four of the main areas of broadcast technology. These were Transmission, Satellite Operations, Live Content Delivery and Platform Control, spending around six months in each over a two-year period. I learnt from experienced professionals in each area, while being exposed to all aspects and processes within News, Sports News and Sports entertainment. Additionally, it was fun seeing all the behind-the-scenes action from live news to sporting events such as Premier League Football.

What I like about the culture at Sky is the lack of strictness with the corporate hierarchy. Across all the Sky buildings you can approach and talk to the head or manager of an area as casually as you would with your immediate colleagues. It’s an open and diverse company of people catering for everyone’s needs. The Sky head office has a gym, nail bar, hairdressers, lifts and wheelchair access for every building, two multi storey car parks, a cinema, a small Waitrose, vending machines for food and drink and cafes for staff to enjoy in their breaks.

Networking is actively encouraged, as a meet-up with a friend working in a separate building led to a chance meeting with a Diversity Lead. This encounter led to me sitting on a panel as a speaker for Sky’s Black Heritage Undergraduate of the Year Award day. Sky’s apprenticeships are designed to favour the apprentice’s effort, willingness to work and learn new things. If you decide to shift focus after the completion of your apprenticeship, there are plenty of opportunities to network across the company to develop your career interests and make connections with people across different sectors.

I recommend always tweaking your CV and personal statement/cover letter to reflect the needs of the company and position you are applying to. Ensure to add any work experience or jobs that have provided you with meaningful skills and find a way to apply it to the apprenticeship application. Always be yourself during an interview and certainly do not lie about your experience, as it could raise the expectations of what you are capable of before you have started at the company.

It’s good practice to have extra knowledge about the company you want to start your career with. Be sure to read up on their current goals, values, what other companies they work with, and who the CEO or mother company is. Interviewers like candidates who ask questions, so be sure to have some ready about the company and workplace.

In my four years at Sky, I’ve been promoted twice, from an apprentice to Transmission trainee, then to a Transmission Controller and I have benefited from the training and professional development along the way. Now as a Transmission Controller, I work on live feeds and content for Sky News, Sky Sports News and Sports Entertainment.

Jade Francis

Reigate College: 2017-2019

Higher Education: Level 3 in Broadcast and Media Technology with Outsource Training and Development while working as a Broadcasting Technology Apprentice at Sky

Currently: Transmission Controller, Sky

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