It's easy to forget that Sky, alongside their ambitious TV, broadband and soon to be mobile phone business, they also do a great deal of social good. Primary amongst their many social outreach programmes is the Sky Academy, a set of initiatives which use the power of TV, creativity and sport to help young people develop crucial practical skills and experience to help them unlock their potential.
These programmes range from Sky Living for Sport, which runs multi-week and one day sports projects with schools to Sky Academy Skills Studio which presents interactive learning experiences to teens who want to move into media jobs. Elsewhere, Sky Academy Careers Lab is a full-day careers experience giving 16 to 19-year-olds the chance to take part in practical workplace challenges and learn about careers in media, business and technology and that's without even mentioning Sky Academy Starting Out and Sky Academy Scholarships. Needless to say then, Sky are extremely active in the pursuit of young peoples education, and that can only be a good thing. Indeed, Sky have long reported that customers on their Sky phone number state that the care that Sky display is part of their reasons for signing up.
In addition to these programmes, Sky have a large group of ambassadors, who take the ideals of the programme and use their celebrity to inspire kids across the country. This week, it was International rugby star Jonny Wilkinson, who surprised 58 students as he visited their Sky Academy Careers Lab session. The England rugby sensation inspired the group of 16 to 19 year olds, from four schools, by sharing his own story and explaining the importance of developing key skills which will help them discover and unlock their true potential. Whilst there, he also dropped in on students attending a Sky Academy Skills Studios session who were creating their own TV report on a chosen curriculum subject from their school studies. Finally, he treat a group of 20 students from the Boswell School in Chelmsford to a Sky Sports Living for Sport masterclass in the essentials of Rugby Union.
On the fantastic day and helping to change kids lives, Sky Academy Ambassador Jonny Wilkinson said: “I hope that sharing my personal journey with the students from Sky Academy will help to inspire them and show that anything is possible with passion, hard work and dedication. It is important to instil confidence in the students and develop leadership skills that they can apply in different aspects of their lives.”
Wilkinson might have retired his place in the England squad in 2011, but along the way he earned an astonishing 91 caps and brought in 1,179 points for his nation, helping them win both the 2003 six nations in spectacular fashion before going on to win at the 2003 Rugby World Cup where Wilkinson was the tournament's top scorer with 113 points, something truly impressive for a fly-half. Needless to say then, Wilkinson is an England rugby legend, and his words will have been taken very seriously by the kids at the Sky Academy, who will likely have never have met such an esteemed and legendary performer. For Sky's part, getting these big names on board is crucial not only to helping kids make the most of their lives, but also for Sky, who can use his fame to add legitimacy to their academy programmes.
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