Students from Bradford College have been working with Sky on a major project designed to increase the diversity of its workforce.
Keen to boost the number of women working as engineers in its Home Service team, the leading entertainment firm linked up with colleges from across the UK on a unique work placement scheme.
Of the 60 students from six UK colleges who were selected to take part, the largest cohort came from Bradford College where 15 students were accepted. The students, who were drawn from a range of courses, were provided with valuable work experience and, on completion, offered the chance to apply for the highly-regarded Sky Home Service Engineer Apprenticeship Scheme.
Whilst open to male and female students, applications were actively encouraged from female students with Sky aspiring to grow the number of female engineers to 20 per cent of its workforce by the end of next year. Currently, around 12 per cent of Sky’s engineers are women, a rise of 10 per cent since the start of the scheme last year.
The chosen students were matched with an experienced engineer with whom they spent four 'Ride Out Days' visiting customer homes installing equipment and learning about the role of a Home Service engineer. As part of the scheme, the students also enjoyed a trip to the company’s headquarters in London, enjoying a tour of the offices and studios.
The students and their mentors were reunited at Bradford College for a graduation event.
Among those celebrating was plumbing student Melanie Webster who has applied to join the Sky apprenticeship after gaining an insight into what the job entails.
She said: “It was an amazing opportunity to spend time working with a Sky engineer and it is brilliant that the company is encouraging more women to consider the job as women are just as capable as men of doing the work.”
Zainab Nauth, who is currently studying a computing course at the college, has also submitted an application to become an apprentice with Sky after enjoying her time on the road with the engineer.
She said: “I got involved in the scheme because I want a practical, hands-on job. It was a great way to see for yourself what the job really involves and there is no reason I can’t do it.”
Fellow computing student Hawaa Hussain added: “It was brilliant to get the chance to do work experience with such a big, prestigious company as Sky.
“It was not a job I would have thought about before this opportunity came up but I have applied for the apprenticeship and I am grateful for the college and Sky for giving us all this opportunity.”
Carla Stockton-Jones, Director of Home Service at Sky, said: "Sky are on a journey to be the most inclusive, global employer. This project has played an important role in helping us to recruit a more diverse workforce in the Home Service Engineer team. The enthusiasm of the Bradford College students who took part was great to see and will help us to continue to iterate our future employment strategies."
Helen Oldham, the architect of the project, said: "It's been a pleasure to watch the confidence of the students grow over the programme and to understand the impact they have in turn made to the engineer community. Sky are delighted with the results and we are jointly working on the format for the 2019/20 programme. The support provided by Nick Scaife and Nargas Khan of the Placements Team at Bradford College was first class and ensured we had a large group of engaged students participating."