As it approaches its 25th anniversary at the start of 2014, Sky is establishing Sky Academy to deliver what it describes as a ground-breaking set of initiatives to support the under-25s, the generation born since Sky’s launch in 1989. Its ambition is to create opportunities for up to one million young people through Sky Academy by 2020.
In a speech at Sky Studios in West London, chief executive Jeremy Darroch outlined the ambitious plan for Sky Academy to inspire young people and support emerging talent.
Headquartered in a brand new building at the heart of Sky’s campus, Sky Academy will work with schools and other organisations and build on Sky’s strengths as a leading media and technology company. It will bring together established initiatives, such as the award-winning Sky Sports Living for Sport, with a range of exciting new experiences.
Sky Academy’s opportunities for young people will include scholarship schemes to provide mentoring and financial support for emerging talent in sport, arts and television; a range of work experience and employment opportunities at Sky for secondary school students through to graduates, which will double in size over the next three years; a new programme giving teenagers the opportunity to spend a day at Sky for a hands-on experience of the world of work; as well as an expanded Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative, and three more Skills Studios around the UK.
David Beckham, as Sky Academy Ambassador, will lead a team of top names including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Darren Campbell and Ashley Banjo to get young people from across Britain and Ireland involved.
Jeremy Darroch commented: “Building skills and nurturing talent are vital not just for business success but for society as a whole. A generation has been born since Sky’s launch and, as we look ahead to our 25th anniversary next year, we want to use our position as a successful company to support young people across Britain and Ireland.
“Sky Academy will create exciting opportunities to inspire young people and help them build skills and experience. We’ll use our strengths as a leading media and technology company and work with inspirational role models to get people involved and make a lasting impact.”
David Beckham added: “Mentors and role models have always been important to me. When I was young, they helped me to believe in myself and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. That’s what Sky Academy will do and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Sky Academy will comprise initially of four initiatives, with a fifth built around creativity and the arts following in 2014. The four initial initiatives are:
- Sky Academy Skills Studios – An interactive learning experience that takes young people behind the scenes at Sky. Students build life skills by using Sky’s state-of-the-art technology to make a TV news report on subjects they’re studying through the curriculum. Almost 14,000 young people aged 8 to 18 have visited the first Skills Studios in West London since they opened in 2012.
- Sky Sports Living for Sport – A national schools-based initiative that uses sports stars and sports skills to help build young people’s confidence and life skills, now in its 10th year.
- Sky Academy Scholarships – A bursary scheme that supports some of the most exciting emerging talent in the worlds of sport and the arts. As well as financial backing, the scholarships provide assistance and mentoring from Sky’s staff and other experts.
- Sky Academy Starting Out – A comprehensive range of work experience and employment opportunities that opens up Sky to young people. Sky offers a range of work experience, placement, apprenticeship and graduate programmes. The total number of opportunities across the business will double over the next three years.
Construction is due to start on the new 2,000 square metre building for Sky Academy on Sky’s West London campus in the next few months and it is expected to open its doors in summer 2014.