George Ayre Cyber Security
‘The apprenticeship has massively jump-started my career in Cyber Security’
Why did you choose to do an apprenticeship at Sky?
I always knew I wanted to work in IT and overtime found that I was more interested in the Cyber Security aspect (mainly because I am awful at coding!). At the time I couldn’t find many cyber security apprenticeships available but as soon as I saw that Sky ran this programme I applied immediately. The scheme sounded super interesting and the idea of working for Sky, one of the leading media companies was a no-brainer especially when I realised some of the opportunities that would be possible in the role.
How did you find out about your apprenticeship?
I found out about the apprenticeship through the NotGoingToUni site, I was looking through the site and came across Sky which peaked my interest. I guess I sort of just stumbled across the opportunity at Sky but I am glad I did as the experience and opportunities the scheme has presented has been endless!
What does your role involve? What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Every day is different, but in my current team we are responsible for reviewing security of projects and providing security support to areas of the business. My days can vary from being on a call with a project team to reviewing diagrams of a proposed system.
What’s the culture like at Sky? How are you supported?
The culture at Sky is very inclusive and there is a lot of emphasise on collaboration and stretching yourself. There are so many groups you can get involved in LGBT+@Sky or Multiculture@Sky, so you will always find people to connect with outside your team. In the apprenticeship you are provided a whole support network who are on hand to provide support if you need it, including: the early careers team, your training provider, your team and even over apprentices! Everyone wants you to succeed and they will provide as much support as possible for you to do so.
Adjusting to working life can be challenging, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
I joined Sky having already been in full-time employment so my experience would likely be different to those who are school leavers. However, starting any new job can be challenging and I think it is normal to have some anxiety/imposter syndrome (I know I certainly did). My biggest challenge was overcoming that imposter syndrome, but I soon started to feel more comfortable as I got to know my team and the role more, I was able to contribute in meetings which just showed me that I belonged and had earnt my place.
Who is your learning training provider and what does the learning for your qualification consist of?
QA is the training provider for the Cyber Programmes. The learning consists of a mixture of live sessions delivered by trainers, online courses & videos, immersive labs (used to practice your skills in a live environment) and workplace projects where you detail the work you have done to support your learning.
What are the most important transferable skill you use in your role? (Please name at least three).
Teamwork is the first one I would pick out, Sky is big on collaboration and encourages people to work together on issues or brain-storming to find the best solutions. Communication is another big one at Sky and it comes hand-in-hand with the teamwork skill, in your role its likely you will be communicating with a broad range of people so having strong communications skill is an advantage but you will develop them overtime whilst working here!
Lastly, problem solving is my final skill I would say I use most as Sky is fast paced environment always something going on and in my current role we often are helping teams overcome problems so having the skill of how to effectively problem solve and critical thinking is a big one for me.
How can students begin developing this skill in their school subjects? Is it specific to certain subjects or can it be developed across the curriculum?
All these skills can be developed within school across subjects, teamwork especially you’ll find it in sport but also group work across subjects. Being able to work as a group, working with people from all different walks of life and a range of abilities etc. Communication again is across subjects, push yourself to do some presentations maybe but your English-speaking exam will help with this and you’ll be taught these skills.
What can young people do outside of school/college to develop this skill?
Outside of school or college you can develop your skills in the same way as above. Problem Solving is a good one to do outside of an educational setting, you can join brainstorming groups who come together and look at a problem together to come to a way to solve this issue. Businesses use this quite widely and Sky even have their own internal group of people called the “BrainTrust” to do just this!
What was the application process like?
The application process was super straight forward, there are 3 phases of the process. First, you complete a standard application form with your personal details, qualifications and why you want to work for Sky etc. Next, you’ll be asked to complete a couple digital assessments which allow you to learn more about Sky and allows Sky to see how you work and fit our culture. Last, you will have an assessment centre this is the final stage where you come together with other applicants and complete tasks together and independently to show how you work as a team and independently. After this, if you have been successful you’ll receive a call from the Early Careers team offering you a role!
How has this apprenticeship helped your career – career goals?
The apprenticeship has massively jump-started my career in Cyber Security, it has allowed me to gain a qualification alongside 2 years of industry experience. Not forgetting it has also allowed me to really map my career goals and see where I want to get to and by when, an apprenticeship in a company like Sky really can be a deal-breaker, the opportunities it presents shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am already in a position where I can safely say what role I should be in within the next 6 months and then a year later where I want to be and on a personal note how this translates to my wider-life, I am able to set goals based on these roles for instance towards becoming a homeowner is now much closer to being a reality due to the opportunity this apprenticeship presents.
What advice would you give to someone applying for or considering this apprenticeship?
I would honestly just say go for it and be yourself! Sky care more about you as a person rather than having an in-depth technical knowledge especially when it comes to apprenticeships. If you have an interest in Cyber Security or even just want a career change, this apprenticeship is such a good way to get into the industry and in such a large organization the opportunities are endless!