As a strong advocate of the aims of Rise and an active participant in its driving goal to redress the gender imbalance that exists, in multiple respects, in the broadcast engineering industry, I was delighted to be asked to speak at “Rise @ Sky: Insight into Women in TV Engineering at Sky”. This was a highly productive and enlightening after-work event at Sky Central, Isleworth, on 15 May.
After a warm welcome and introduction by Rise Director Carrie Wootten, the event was divided into two panel discussions, each as compelling as the other. The first, chaired by Annette Leonard, Head of Technology Communications, Sky, was comprised of a wide range of female engineers at Sky, everywhere from systems and support to design and project leads. We heard first-hand from some inspirational female role models who shared with us their journey in TV engineering.
Among many takeaways from this panel discussion, it’s clear that Sky is very progressive and in many areas leading the way in ensuring equal opportunities are available in terms of recruitment, internships and in-house advancement. There are always improvements to be made, but, on the evidence, Sky seems to be getting the balance right.
The second panel, also chaired by Annette and which I was honoured to participate in, was designed to dig deeper into the historical cultural challenges for females in what is admittedly still a predominantly male dominated industry; the current issues we face from a recruitment perspective; and what is being done overall to address these challenges. It was a very interesting and stimulating discussion by everyone involved and I have no doubt that it advanced the understanding of everyone present, as well as advancing the goals of Rise to raise such awareness.
From start to finish, Rise @ Sky was an incredibly insightful and inspiring event to be part of. The clear message from the evening is that both Sky and the wider industry are keen to address the imbalance and are committed to make changes. It is hoped that this will come in the form of mentoring schemes run by Rise and other initiatives, such as targeting future talent with industry role models evangelising the opportunities available in engineering for females at school age; apprenticeship programmes; and return-to work-programmes. It also highlighted the need for collaboration across the entire industry so that there can be a universally committed approach.
And that universally committed approach to collaboration on equal terms, to me, seems to be the ultimate aim of Rise, and more broadly for society in general; and with continued support for and participation in events like this, we’ll get there.
We’re not there yet, but as we Rise each morning, we get closer every day.