'How I became the first digital accessibility specialist apprentice in the Civil Service'

Warning: Some readers may find details in this article distressing. We have listed some organisations who can provide help and support below.

This is a quote graphic about Adam Keane Digital Accessibility Specialist Apprentice at the Met Office

Who am I?

My name is Adam Keane, and in September 2022 I took up the opportunity of a lifetime by joining the Met Office as a Specialist Apprentice in Digital Accessibility – the first person to have such a role in the Civil Service.

Despite being the fourth generation in my family to be an apprentice, I wouldn’t describe myself as a conventional apprentice. Prior to starting at the Met Office, I worked in a variety of different sectors including charity, education and care. Sadly, these job opportunities were at times overshadowed by periods of PTSD, depression and anxiety, arising from trauma I experienced as a teenager.

Trauma can affect people in different ways. I've found there’s a profound stigma associated with sexual abuse. From my experience, it can induce feelings of shame and weakness. This can prevent victims from feeling able to speak about it if they want to, which may have a further detrimental impact on them.

My journey from victim to survivor has been a long one, and I’ve accessed a lot of help along the way. Previously I felt like I was living a life of solitude without solace. But I’ve learned acceptance and taking ownership of my experience. This means I can be reminded of my experience without reliving it. Every recovery is different, but my story shows it is possible.

Why I chose a career at the Met Office 

I was attracted to the Met Office, because of its reputation of being an organisation at the cusp of technological and scientific innovation – and committed to helping people to stay safe and thrive. And I wanted to be a part of that.

An inclusive approach to recruitment

I found the Met Office made a real effort to put its values into practice and be inclusive when I had my interview. As someone whose confidence has been blighted by my past – interviews were something I had always struggled with. I would worry about what questions may be asked and how I could best answer them.

However, before my interview at the Met Office, they provided me with supplementary information, including details of the panel and an idea of the questions that would be asked.  This made such a difference to me, and I felt able to present the best version of myself at interview.

A great place to work

I arrived at the Met Office able to bring my whole self to work. With my ability to learn assured and my mental health renewed, I was ready to begin building a career for myself.

Since I started, I’ve had the opportunity to visit our Library and Archives to learn more about our history, and how we have enabled people to stay safe and thrive over the centuries. Being connected to that history is part of what makes the Met Office a great place to work.

Today, we are able to utilise technology and our people to provide critical weather services and world-leading climate science. And I am proud to be part of the Met Office, and grateful to have so much support and encouragement from colleagues as I do my job. I’ve also found it reassuring to know we have a free independent and confidential 24/7 employee support service called the Employee Assistance Programme in case I need help or advice. 

How I am making a difference

My apprenticeship has provided me the opportunity to delve deeply into digital accessibility and make a difference.

We recently hosted our first ever Empathy Lab at the Met Office. This introduced staff to the subject of accessibility, raised awareness of barriers created in work environments, and explored tools to improve accessibility. Through this event I was able to use my knowledge to help colleagues better understand why digital accessibility is important and helpful to everyone. I found this event incredibly rewarding and hope colleagues will become more mindful of accessibility as we keep evolving.


If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, here are a list of some organisations who can offer help and support:


Our latest job opportunities are listed on the Met Office vacancies page.