Prince Charles and Camilla met budding film crews and presenters from Hounslow at Sky's Osterley campus yesterday (Tuesday, December 2).

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visited the company's offices in Grant Way to see how its Sky Academy is helping young people take their first steps in the entertainment industry.

They were there to officially open the Sky Academy Careers Lab, where 16-19 year-olds work with experts from the firm to get an insight into the opportunities within the trade.

They began their tour by dropping into the Sky Sports studios, where they met presenters Kirsty Gallacher and Natalie Sawyer, who lives in Brentford and worked her way up the ladder after joining Sky as a runner.

The royal couple were also introduced to apprentice James Kilpatrick, who told them how he had got the 'amazing' opportunity after spotting an advert on Twitter.

The duchess seized the rare opportunity to experience life on the other side of the lens by taking control of the editing suite while a live broadcast continued in the background.

Video thumbnail, The Duchess of Cornwall meets pupils at Sky Academy
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She and Charles were then whisked off to meet pupils from Alexandra Primary School, in Hounslow, who were hard at work in the Skills Studios recording and editing a report on climate change.

They heard how the 10-year-olds had been learning from the pros about everything from camera work to script writing, before watching them put their new-found skills into action.

More than 25,000 young people aged eight to 18 have visited the Skills Studios, which even include their own dressing room, since they opened in 2012.

The couple's main business of the day was at the Careers Lab. Charles officially opened the centre, where 16-19 year-olds can learn about opportunities within the entertainment industry, in very modern style. Rather than unveiling a plaque, he used an iPad to launch a short video.

They also met students from Lampton School, in Hounslow, who were designing websites for Formula 1.

 

Natasha Badal introduced her team to Camilla. She explained how they had been learning about the more technical side of the job, like computer coding, as well as the personal aspects, like teamwork and leadership skills.

The 17-year-old, of Hounslow, told how she had really enjoyed learning about the profession, as well as the opportunity to greet the special visitors, and was keen to break into the entertainment industry.

The prince and duchess were finally introduced to some of the many graduates, apprentices, and talented young sportsmen and women who have been helped by Sky Academy.

Among them were teenagers from Cranford Community College, who have been running sports sessions for local primary school children as part of Sky's Living for Sports programme.

Their royal highnesses also shook hands with trio of Rio 2016 hopefuls: 20-year-old boxer Jack Bateson; 400 metre runner Louis Persent, 24; and 18-year-old long jumper and sprinter Olivia Breen.

They have all been awarded Sky Academy scholarships, which include financial support and mentoring from sporting legends like Michael Atherton and Darren Campbell to help them reach the top.

Apprentice Kiran Hussain, who is learning about business administration and HR at Sky after finishing her A-levels at Heston Community School, said: "It's a great opportunity and it's been so interesting learning about everything that goes on here."

Sabrina Sahota, 18, of The Green School, and Funmi Odunewu, also 18, of St Mark's Catholic School, have also been getting immersed into the media world at Sky, during an 11-month 'Fast Forward' placement.

Funmi, who has applied to go to university once her placement ends, said: "It's been great getting the experience of a working environment. It's opened my eyes to the different careers involved in the entertainment industry and I definitely want to pursue a career in the sector."

The prince and duchess ended their visit with one last official duty as they made their way through a throng of staff to switch on the lights of Sky's Christmas tree.