We're always looking to attract the best people to Sky. In fact, our commitment to developing fresh talent through our graduate schemes has led to us being named by The Times as one of the top 100 graduate employers.
This year, over 50 graduates joined Sky through our award-winning scheme, which provides the opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience across a range of business areas. We also launched our first finance graduate scheme in Scotland, sponsoring successful candidates through their Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualifications. And because technology is such an important part of our future, we've set up our own 'software engineering academy', which will train graduates in web and mobile technologies.
We also take on over 50 modern apprentices every year in a range of different roles, from our installation engineers to our customer service teams. And we've recently announced that we'll expand our award-winning apprenticeship scheme to include roles in our broadcast operations, drama and news teams.
But it's not just about attracting the best new talent. We're just as committed to helping everyone who already works for Sky to develop their potential. Our online Development Studio is open to all staff and provides access to a huge range of learning resources and courses, linked to a new performance development system. It has helped improve development and performance across the company and its success was recognised this year with a Broadcast National Training Award.
Our future success as a company depends on our ability to bring through the next generation of leaders. That's why we've built on our existing leadership development programmes by working with Henley Business School to introduce a new scheme for senior leaders currently in roles directly below our executive management team.
For a number of years, we've worked to achieve greater representation of women in senior positions. Our Senior Women's Development Network offers opportunities for mentoring and support between women from across the organisation. And to help new mothers and their families enjoy the first months of their children's life, we've doubled the period of paid maternity leave and halved the qualification period this year. We were proud to be named by The Times as one of the Top 50 Employers for Women this year.
Development isn't just something that we want to happen inside our four walls. As an industry leader, we have a wider opportunity to support the development of the whole broadcasting sector. For example, we're pioneering the introduction of 3D TV with the launch of Europe's first 3D channel. But, instead of keeping everything we've learnt to ourselves, we want to help the sector to grow. So we organised an industry-wide conference to share what we've discovered about 3D content production with other companies and, at the same time, learn from them too. And it is helping the whole industry to develop faster.