STUDENTS in Bradford have teamed up with a major telecommunications firm on a big project to increase the diversity of its workforce.

Bradford College students have been working with Sky on the project on a unique work placement scheme, to help boost Sky’s ambitions of getting more women working as engineers in its Home Service team.

Sky selected 60 students from six colleges across the UK to take part, with the largest cohort - 15 students - coming from Bradford College.

Students were drawn from a range of courses and provided with valuable work experience, and on completion were offered the chance to apply for the highly-regarded Sky Home Service Engineer Apprenticeship Scheme.

Applications were open to both male and female students, but young women were actively encouraged to apply.


Sky wants to grow the number of female engineers to 20 per cent of the workforce by the end of 2020, with the figure currently standing at 12 per cent, a ten per cent rise since the scheme began last year.

Students were matched with experienced engineers and went on four ‘Ride Out Days’ to visit customers’ homes to install equipment and learn about the role of a Home Service engineer. Students also visited Sky headquarters in London.

One student who is hoping to progress on the apprenticeship scheme is plumbing student Melanie Webster.

She said: “It was an amazing opportunity to spend time working with a Sky engineer.

“It is brilliant the company is encouraging more women to consider the job as women are just as capable as men of doing the work.”

Computing student Zainab Nauth also took part in the scheme and hopes to become a Sky apprentice.

She added: “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.”

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 creator of the project, added: “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.”