Spencer Group teams up with Hull College to hire largest-ever group of apprentices

Fast-growing local business Spencer Group has taken on the most apprentices in the company’s history, having forged a partnership with Hull College to hire 12 young people.

The dozen recruits all started on the same day after Hull-based specialist engineering business Spencer and the College worked together to create bespoke training programmes to develop the next generation of local talent for the company.

Every one of the young people, who range in age from 17 to 29, have joined Spencer either directly from studying at Hull College or were identified by the College as matching the company’s requirements in terms of skills, personality and attitude.

The College said it was a great example of how it works with local employers to shape programmes to meet their specific skills and training needs.

Spencer, which this year celebrates 25 years since it was founded, has hired six apprentices on a Technical Construction Apprenticeship programme, who it is hoped will in time aspire to senior roles such as site and project managers.

Five more apprentices have joined a Software Development Higher Level Apprenticeship programme, the only one of its kind in the UK. The software development apprentices will work on the company’s Spencer Online System (SOS) in-house project and document management system.

Finally, the company has taken on a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Apprentice, who has joined the company’s Design Team. The new recruits join two Business Administration Apprentices and two IT Services Apprentices who were already with the company.

The new recruits are:

  • Technical Construction Apprentices: Jamie Hartley, 26, of Hull; Philip Kirkwood, 29, of Hull; Keiron Musgrave, 17, of Barton upon Humber; Jonah O’Leary, 18, of Bransholme; Daniel Sach, 22, of Driffield; and Ryan Walters, 18, of Kirkella.
  • Software Development Apprentices:  Josh Barker, 18, of Hessle; Alfie Driver, 20, of Hull; Jack Hardcastle, 20, of Hessle; Ryan Palmer, 18, of Hull; and Lee Westoby, 23, of Brough.
  • CAD Apprentice: Courtney Harris, 17, of Elloughton.

Spencer Chief Executive Frank Millar said: “These appointments demonstrate our commitment to invest in the young people of our home city and in the future of our industry.

“Working with a valued partner in Hull College, we are proud to offer these young people the opportunity to gain tremendous experience in a business which operates nationally and internationally and be part of our exciting growth plans.”

Spencer Training Manager Aaron McIver said: “This group of apprentices is the most we have ever employed, but as the business grows we anticipate taking more in future years to service our growth aspirations.

“We are based here in Hull, we were founded here and one of the things we are passionate about is investing in the local community. We want to provide opportunities for local people and the talent in this area is phenomenal.

“This is a long-term programme and we intend that every single one of them will still be with us in permanent positions when they complete their apprenticeship programmes in 18 months to two years. The opportunities will be there for them to grow and develop their careers as the company grows.”

Hull College Principal Graham Towse said: “What is really pleasing is that this is a true partnership. These apprenticeship programmes have been developed with Spencer Group to create a package that directly suits the needs of the employer.

“We have worked with Spencer to identify these young people, in some cases quite early on, prior to them finishing their college courses. Spencer has been able to engage with and nurture them, so that when the company is ready to offer an apprenticeship they are already moulded to fit the role, they understand the values of the company and they can hit the ground running.

“Having met all these young people they are very confident, mature and smartly turned out. They understand the great opportunity available to them and they’re raring to go.”

Hull College has worked with Spencer to develop bespoke apprenticeship programmes for the company, combining workplace experience with technical and academic learning, using a tried-and-trusted approach to shaping its curriculum to match the specific needs of partner employers.

Mr Towse said working with the College was a low-risk strategy for employers as they were able to identify the very best and most suitable candidates.

He added: “Spencer is a forward-thinking company which is growing very fast. It recognises the value of apprenticeships and is investing very significantly in the area’s local talent.

“This is a great way to inform young people, parents and teachers about the benefits of apprenticeships and how they are a high-quality progression route, which opens up great careers opportunities.”

Mr McIver added: “We’ve had a great experience with Hull College, hence why we use them as our only supplier of apprenticeships.

“All the apprenticeships we offer are bespoke to our needs and the only way we have been able to achieve that has been through working closely with Hull College. It really feels like we’re in this together.

“Hull College understand what we’re looking for, the type of character we go for and they can meet our requirements in terms of numbers of apprentices. The facilities at Hull College are also second to none so which adds to their capability to deliver apprenticeships for us.”


“This is a fabulous opportunity. I get experience and qualifications at the same time”

Apprentices recruited by Spencer Group as part of a partnership with Hull College have spoken of their excitement at the opportunity.

Spencer Group apprentice Courtney HarrisComputer-Aided Design (CAD) Apprentice Courtney Harris is 17 and lives in Elloughton in the East Riding.

Courtney recently completed A Levels in art, photography and design technology at Hull Collegiate School.

She initially applied for a Technical Construction Apprenticeship with Spencer Group, through Hull College, but when interviewed by Spencer it was thought her skills best matched an apprenticeship within the company’s Design Team.

She said: “This is a massive company and I’m really pleased to have joined, especially as they have created an apprenticeship in CAD for me, so I’m very happy to be here.

“This is a fabulous opportunity. I get experience and qualifications at the same time. If I had gone to university I wouldn’t be getting the experience and I would also have left university with student debt, which I didn’t want.”

Spencer Group apprentice Jonah O'Leary

Technical Construction Apprentice Jonah O’Leary is 18 and lives in Bransholme, Hull.

Jonah originally went to Hull College at just 14 as part of studying for a Level 2 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment at Winfred Holtby School, Bransholme. For the past two years he has been studying full-time for a Level 3 Construction Diploma.

He said: “This is the start of a career, not just a new job. Since I finished college I have been counting down the days to start here.

“This programme gives us the opportunity to use what we have learned at college into practice in the workplace in a wide range of different aspects of construction.

“An apprenticeship shows a real commitment from the business to your development. It makes you feel really appreciated.

“This company wants to try new things, just as we do. Everyone wants to grow together and I feel really glad to be a part of it.”

Spencer Group apprentice Lee Westoby

Software Development Apprentice Lee Westoby is 23 and lives in Brough, East Riding.

Lee has just completed a full-time Level 3 Next Generation Software Developer Course at Hull College having returned to education to develop his skills in order to carve out a career. He was then put forward by his tutor to Spencer who selected him for the apprenticeship after interview.

He said: “The other option for me was to go to university, but you could go to university to study for three or four years and then come back to try to find a job like this. This way you cut out the university part and you are using the skills and earning straight away.

“This company is planning a lot of growth, so you really feel that there will be opportunities for development and progression, which I am looking forward to.

“It’s a big commitment for the company to take on so many apprentices at the same time. It’s new territory for them as well as us, so we’ll be learning together. It’s also good to have a support network of people who are going through the same experiences as you.”