case study 11 v2

Spectris encouraging apprenticeships  to overcome the digital skills gap

While attracting talent from beyond our local area

14 Apr 2022
More productive
5 min read

Spectris is a family of businesses who harness the power of precision measurement to help our customers make the world cleaner, healthier and more productive. Our strength as a group comes from the expertise, innovation and performance of our brands. Together, we ensure our customers get the measurements and insights they need to solve their most challenging scientific and technical problems.

“The great resignation” started in 2021 and is an ongoing trend which is seeing workers quitting their jobs at a historic rate due to the covid-19 pandemic which led many to re-think where, how and why we work. Employers across many sectors have seen recruitment challenges and hiring difficulties. Hiring apprentices is one effective way of easing some of these pressures and at the same time, taking steps to tackle the digital skills gap, while importantly providing development opportunities for the next generation of talent.

Flagship Cyber
Flagship Cyber

One of the brilliant things about working in technology is the many routes in to and through your dream career. In 2021, inspired by the Spectris Foundation’s purpose, objectives and ongoing commitment to STEM, the Group IT team looked into how we could provide young people with the opportunity to get their proverbial foot on the corporate ladder.

After great feedback from Rory Kemp, who enjoyed a four-week summer internship with the cyber security team in 2021, we embarked on our apprenticeship journey. GK Apprenticeships helped us to ensure that we have the right structure in place and to give our apprentices the best experience possible – to combine on-the-job training with formal certifications.

While the pandemic has presented many challenges to young people looking for work, we saw the opportunity of remote working to allow us to advertise across the whole of the UK. After reviewing more than 200 applications and interviewing really talented young people, we welcomed Matt Smith and Dave Rolfe to the team in October 2021.

“Addressing the global skills shortage in cyber security and the digital skills gap more broadly is something that’s really important to us,” says Anna-Lisa Miller, Group CISO, “The pandemic highlighted this and really showed us how vital apprentices are. I’m absolutely delighted with the progress we’ve made so far, but there’s still lots to do!”

Having spent a few months getting to grips with working in cyber security at Spectris, the feedback from our apprentices has been encouraging, “my onboarding was a very smooth process. Spectris were very accommodating with my location and gave me the opportunity to have my interview online. The team made me feel welcome and really made the experience great for me!” says Matt Smith.

Joining at the same time as Matt, Dave Rolfe’s experience has been similar. “I have enjoyed learning about the different elements of Spectris while using software to maintain a safe working environment. I am looking forward to furthering my career in cyber security and applying what I have learnt not only with the course content, but also how to work as part of an effective team.”

Ian Brown, Cyber Security Director says “upskilling existing staff and hiring apprentices are really effective ways of responding to recruitment challenges. But it’s also important to remember that joining as an apprentice isn’t an easy ride. It’s a real job, providing real-world experience and lots of stakeholders to work with. Dave and Matt have lots of transferable skills from their retail backgrounds and I see huge potential for them as they retrain in cyber security.”


Upskilling and reskilling the workforce is something that Adam Forde, Spectris CIO, and his team are tackling from several angles. As well as taking on apprentices, a recently launched ‘Digital Express’ online learning experience gives access to a wide range of online technology training to all of our employees across the world.

“Almost everything that we ask our employees to do has an increasingly significant digital component or is entirely digital. We wanted to ensure that every employee has a ticket to ride on this digital train, so we created the Digital Express – a suite of training, leveraging the great relationships we have with our partners, that employees can hop on or off at any point, covering a broad range of topics, from effective collaboration, through lo-code/no-code automation, and how to become a proficient user of our key business applications.”

Providing our employees with opportunities to develop their skills and careers through progression across our global portfolio of businesses is really important to us – we believe this is critical to ensuring engaged, motivated and high-performing teams. We are very excited about increasing the number of apprentices we employ across the Group.