Placement Experience: Quality Control and Assurance Operator at Sky

TV and Broadcasting student Sam Parker in the Sky control room

TV and Broadcasting student, Sam Parker, on his placement experience

  • 06 February 2020
  • 5 min read

TV and Broadcasting student, Sam, is currently completing his placement year at Sky. Working as a Quality and Assurance Operator, he’s learning loads and having a great time too. Read on to find out what he has to say about doing a placement year…

How’s it going so far?

For the past 6 months I have been working at Sky in West London for my year in industry. This was an optional year, which lots of my peers didn’t choose, but based on my experience so far it is worth it – especially if you’re with a company like Sky.

Can you tell us a bit about Sky?

These last 6 months at Sky have been fantastic. Sky is a broadcasting company that started in 1989 doing sports TV and has grown to cover all the genres of TV, from news to racing and films. They’ve recently announced a £3.5 billion pound investment to build Elstree Studios in North London. This is set to have a very positive impact on the British film and television production industry as it’ll allow for the production of more high-end content for us all to enjoy. Sky also owns On-Demand service, NOW TV, which is their presence in the current streaming-wars. They also operate Sky Mobile and a Sky internet service. Sky works with lots of different charities like WWF and AgeUK to tackle important issues of loneliness, environment, young people and homelessness.

Door to the Sky content and broadcast centre
Exterior view of the Sky Keith Rupert Murdoch Building

What was your first day like?

My first day at Sky was on the 1st of July and I arrived at 9 a.m. to meet my managers and new colleagues. As you’d expect, I was nervous, there I was with my lanyard and pass going into one of the huge buildings in the Sky campus in which I’d learn many different skills and meet many different people. It started with shaking a few hands and saying “Hi my name is Sam, nice to meet you”. Then I sat down with my new colleague Dave who taught me what the department does and how it operates. Then we headed to lunch and had a friendly chat about video games.

I am now lucky enough to call my colleagues and managers my friends and they have helped me learn more technical skills and gain more confidence in myself. From the get-go, I was treated like a proper employee rather than just a student by my great team. This let me settle more into the company and feel better about the work that I was doing.

What have you learnt?

Over the months I’ve been at Sky I have learnt way, way more than I thought I was going to. My role at Sky is Quality Control and Assurance Operator. In this position, I have learnt different workflows and use lots of different software to do jobs like quality checking programmes in which we look for transcode errors and make sure the metadata matches the media. We also record, clip-up then publish live sport events for repeat showings. The team I am part of can be described as the eyes and ears of the company due to the amount of content we view and listen to each day. Learning all this has been a pleasure and I have never been made to feel stressed out or worried about what I’m doing – and as there are always different problems to solve the learning doesn’t ever stop.

My time at Sky has let me converse with other departments and learn the whole process that a programme goes through to get on-air. Now not only have I learnt more technical knowledge but I have developed simpler office skills as well, like effective communication through email and phone as well as keeping yourself organised – which is a must when we process shows that have set times to go on air.

What are the perks of the job?

Sky has thousands of employees across multiple countries which it looks after and that means you feel like part of a community. At Sky you have access to an on-campus gym, barbers, hair salon and a nail salon as well as numerous canteens and cafés that have a good variety of food made by the inhouse catering teams. Working here is an absolute pleasure and not once have I felt at all miserable at the prospect of going to work because of the wonderful vibe the whole campus gives off – this really is a nice place to be.

What other things have you been involved in?

I have been able to take part in more than just my role. Since starting I have done a pub quiz, Christmas party and an interesting town hall meeting which ended with free pizza and muffins with our directors’ face on. I’ve also had the chance to take part in activities that I did not expect thanks to the links with charities and campaigns like Sky Ocean Rescue which give you the opportunity to volunteer. Recently I went to a school in London to teach Year Seven students basic editing skills on Adobe Premiere Pro. In February I’m going with my department to the Royal TV Society Conference to talk to prospective students about the opportunities Sky has to offer.

If I wasn’t doing this placement year, I would more than likely be one of those students at the conference trying to network and get contacts to use after my course has ended, but because of this placement year and the opportunities I’ve had, I am going to be stood behind the stall, with my lanyard around my neck talking to those students about how amazing it is to do a placement with Sky.

Have your say

If you’re one of our students in the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries and have a suggestion for something you’d like us to write about, or you'd like to contribute your own story, please let us know by emailing creative-careers@port.ac.uk.

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