How It Started
What was your first ever job?
My first ever job was as a trainee edit assistant at Sky.
What brought you to Sky?
I got my opportunity after completing MAMA Youth Project’s training scheme and being put forward for the Edit Operations trainee interview, which was only available to people from MAMA Youth Project’s talent pool. I joined in September 2017 and have been working at Sky since, bringing my time here to just over 3 years.
How has your role evolved over the years?
My role has expanded so much that I hardly find any free time. My first year as a trainee was a constant linear progression in terms of skill set and responsibility, and I don’t think it’s really reached a plateau even now.
I got my permanent position as an Edit Assistant shortly after my trainee year had finished, which meant I was taking on bigger and more complex jobs. Then, I got promoted to Senior Edit Assistant, increasing the workload again but also giving me the new challenge of being responsible for new edit assistants.
After this, I moved into workflow supervising as cover and this introduced a new layer of professionalism and responsibility on a corporate scale and brought me into my current role as User Support Specialist, which I took on at the start of 2021. This role is the most technically intense and really encompasses all of the necessary background work that goes into ensuring everyone in Post Production is working as they should.
What were your biggest professional challenges and how did you overcome them?
I would say my biggest professional challenge was finding the opportunity to prove and develop myself which was almost non-existent before joining Sky. I would say my biggest achievement was successfully completing the MAMA Youth Project Training scheme, as it exposed me to a world, I wasn’t familiar with and threw me straight into a drown or float situation. I think overcoming this enabled me to have the confidence to take on bigger challenges and achieve more.
How It’s Going
What does your day to day work life look like?
In my previous role, I had a list of productions within Entertainment and Sport that I was post-production workflow supervising. When new productions come into Sky for post-production, I’d have a meeting with them to discuss and write up a plan on how we can best accommodate them through edit, grade and audio, right up to delivery. These productions can last several months and need constant support throughout, which is provided by a team of 10 edit assistants who perform various tasks, from ingesting media to prepping it for grade and audio dubbing. Part of my role was to assess the projects coming in for the day/week and ensure we have sufficient edit assistant cover to accommodate the requests coming in.
My current day to day can vary massively, from giving remote support to Entertainment or live sport/news productions that are experiencing issues with media to opening up an editing PC to replace a network card. As a User Support Specialist, your skillset is spread across a number of fields in post-production that all work simultaneously to keep productions working. This includes networking and how media is stored and transferred around the Sky system from edit, through to grade and audio then out to transmission, the PCs and suites that accommodate the editing, grade and audio programmes/hardware and its maintenance coupled with constant upgrading and everything in between.
I would say my role is constantly evolving as technology advances and forces me to keep learning which is great considering how the way we work has changed with social distancing. This has provided new challenges that push us to accommodate remote working and opens up a whole new world of potential things to go wrong, which makes my role a bit more crucial.
What’s been your SPS career highlight and why?
I would say being trusted to take on the role of Workflow Supervisor has definitely been my highlight. It lets me know that my hard work had not gone unnoticed and that my reputation reached the level to carry this responsibility. It gives me the assurance that my superiors/managers have the vision to push my development and actually listen/act/support me, which in turn allows me to empower others that are coming from the same place I am.
What can you see yourself doing next?
I haven’t committed myself to a certain career path, which is partly because my new role has opened me up to roles I never knew existed. I think I still have a lot more to learn before I am confident in the direction I want to go, and I wouldn’t want to feel limited in my options or knowledge.
How It Can Be Done
What are your top 3 tips for becoming a User Support Specialist?
- Technical knowledge is key, so make sure you know it and don’t stop researching and learning as it is constantly evolving.
- It is a very client-based job at times, so all forms of communication need to be on point and clear. Keep everyone up to date and maintain a good working relationship with clients/colleagues.
- Make sure you get as much experience as you can. Employers will want to know if you’ve done the job before, so gaining the first-hand experience will prove this and show you are eager to learn.
What would you tell your 16-year-old self?
Anything is possible and never limit yourself to the constraints of stereotypes or other people’s failure and just keep pushing until you get what you want!