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Sky on the hunt for women to join technology team

Sky wants to recruit 400 staff at its technology hub in Leeds with a push for more women to join the team

Sky has launched a technology hub to open in Leeds later in 2015, with 400 job openings and a push for women to join.

Based at Allied London’s Leeds Dock, the hub will focus on designing and developing Sky websites and apps to enable customers to watch content on multiple devices.

The additional 400 jobs will take the total number of Sky employees in Leeds to over 1,000 in its technology and customer services.

Natasha Sayce-Zelem, head of technology at Sky, told Computer Weekly the braodcaster is on the hunt for more women to join its team: “We are working on attracting and retaining female talent because gender-balanced teams bring better outcomes. Tech teams need to better reflect society. It’s about supercharging top female talent, supporting a women’s network and empowering people to take more control of when and where they work.

“This is an exciting time for people to be joining Sky. Businesses have to invest in skills, so the next graduates coming up through the pipeline are well prepared.”

Sayce-Zelem studied for a degree in film, specialising in producing before finding her way into the technology industry through websites and delivery. She said Sky is open to talent outside traditional computer science backgrounds, due to the shortage of candidates.

“After I was given a chance in this exciting and fast-paced industry, I never looked back. We recognise there are talented individuals out there who might not hold computer science degrees – so we’re open to those that show an aptitude for technology,” said Sayce-Zelem.

“There is a misconception that technology is just a lot of hardware and that you can’t do it without a computer science degree, which isn’t the case. There is no greater pleasure than seeing someone on the train using your app or reeling off to friends how many times people visit your website daily.”

Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive at Sky, said: “Digital skills and innovation are at the heart of what we do at Sky, helping us give customers the best possible TV experience, whether at home or on the move. With our investment in Leeds, we’re creating one of the largest digital communities in the UK.

“We are looking forward to bringing hundreds of new jobs to the city and giving young people the opportunity to build their skills and help shape the digital services of the future."

Sajid Javid, secretary of state for business, skills and innovation, said: “I’m delighted that Sky is furthering its investment in Leeds with the creation of 400 new jobs and a new technology hub. The announcement is a boost to the digital economy of the entire Northern Powerhouse, and will undoubtedly help to cement Leeds as a leading technology cluster.”

Sky Software Engineering Academies

Sky has also announced a Software Engineering Academy in Leeds, in addition to increasing the number of places on offer at its London academy.

Sky’s Software Engineering Academies aim to provide graduates with practical on the job training to develop and support software teams across Sky including the Sky Sports team.

The Software Engineering Academy in London has increased its available places from 24 to 36 and it will be recruiting a further 24 graduates and eight apprentices to its Leeds academy each year.

Sayce-Zelem said: “The academies are a seven-month programme designed to prepare young people for roles in the London and Leeds offices.

“Overtime we also hope to increase the amount of young people we take on.”

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