Apprentice Tour of Sky Studios

Posted: 5 February 2018

On January 8, 2019, a group of apprentices were given a tour of Sky Studios in London. This amazing opportunity was generously arranged by Michael Barley, who is both a senior security adviser for Sky, and Senior Warden for the Worshipful Company.

The visit was organised for the Apprentice Group by Roy Penrose QPM OBE and the tour was conducted by Sam one of Sky’s Security team. The party {see picture} pictured in the Sky reception consisted of Roy Penrose and Apprentices Owen Baldwin-Evans, Liam Callender, Faith Fetuga, Barteck Mielniczuk, Owen Gosling, Wunmi Adeyemi, James Fox, Charlie Morton, Toni Brunton-Douglas, and Apprentice Management Group Chairman Honorary Court Assistant Andrew Knights.

We were given a comprehensive tour, first of the sports studios, including the room the producers sit in, where we were given explanations as to the specific role of the equipment and individuals at each desk in the creation of Sky’s programming, and the studio where many Sky Sports programmes are filmed. This was followed by a tour of the newsrooms, which are constantly staffed in order to provide Sky’s 24/7 programming. We experienced the bustling energy of the offices of journalists working to report the latest news. Excitingly, we were even able to view the Sky News studio as the news was being filmed and broadcast live.

In another building, we saw Kay Burley’s studio, a modern glass cube surrounded by open plan offices. Within the studios, there are a number of amenities for employees, including a supermarket, cafe, and most impressive of all, the gorgeous in house cinema with movie memorabilia displayed outside including the costume worn by Tom Holland in Spiderman: Homecoming.

Most interesting for our group of prospective security professionals was the opportunity, over tea and biscuits, to ask Mr Barley deeper questions about security and the media. Alongside his work for Sky, Mr Barley is heavily involved with a number of organisations focussing on the security of intellectual property, including the Federation Against Copyright Theft and the Audiovisual Anti Piracy Alliance. He provided valuable insight to us on how to start a successful career in media security. Particularly interesting was discussion of how risks are managed when reporters travel to dangerous regions; these precautions range from bulletproof vests to detailed procedures in case of kidnap, to simply banning regions—for example, Sky has previously deemed the risk posed by travelling to Syria unjustifiable.

Overall, the visit to Sky studios was a fascinating insight both into the workings of a major media company, the potential security threats faced by the media, and how these can be mitigated. We were incredibly grateful for the opportunity, and hope it can be replicated for other groups of apprentices in the future.

Toni Brunton-Douglas