Sky today set out its vision to use the power of television, creativity and sport to help young people in Britain and Ireland to build skills, experience and self-belief. As it approaches its 25th anniversary at the start of 2014, Sky is establishing Sky Academy to deliver a ground-breaking set of initiatives to support the under-25s, the generation born since Sky’s launch in 1989. Its ambition is to create opportunities for up to one million young people through Sky Academy by 2020.

In a speech before an invited audience at Sky Studios in West London, chief executive Jeremy Darroch outlined the ambitious plan for Sky Academy to inspire young people and support emerging talent.

Headquartered in a brand new building at the heart of Sky’s campus, Sky Academy will work with schools and other organisations and build on Sky’s strengths as a leading media and technology company. It will bring together established initiatives, such as the award-winning Sky Sports Living for Sport, with a range of exciting new experiences. Sky Academy’s opportunities for young people will include:

  • an expanded Sky Sports Living for Sport initiative, now operating in Ireland as well as reaching one third of British secondary schools
  • three more Skills Studios in Livingston, Leeds and Dublin in addition to the London studio opened last year, providing an interactive, curriculum-based learning experience that uses the latest technology to build children’s life skills
  • scholarship schemes to provide mentoring and financial support for emerging talent in sport, arts and television
  • a comprehensive range of work experience and employment opportunities at Sky for secondary school students through to graduates, which will double in size over the next three years
  • a new programme giving teenagers the opportunity to spend a day at Sky for a hands-on experience of the world of work
  • a major new initiative built around creativity and the arts to be announced in 2014

To help inspire young people, Sky Academy will work with role models from television, sport and the arts, as well as drawing on the passion and expertise of Sky’s own employees. David Beckham, as Sky Academy Ambassador, will lead a team of top names including Jessica Ennis-Hill, Darren Campbell and Ashley Banjo to get young people from across Britain and Ireland involved.

Jeremy Darroch commented: “Building skills and nurturing talent are vital not just for business success but for society as a whole. A generation has been born since Sky’s launch and, as we look ahead to our 25th anniversary next year, we want to use our position as a successful company to support young people across Britain and Ireland.

“Sky Academy will create exciting opportunities to inspire young people and help them build skills and experience. We’ll use our strengths as a leading media and technology company and work with inspirational role models to get people involved and make a lasting impact.”

David Beckham added: “Mentors and role models have always been important to me. When I was young, they helped me to believe in myself and gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. That’s what Sky Academy will do and I’m excited to be a part of it.”