INFRA Skills 2018 – A Year In Review20/12/2018
INFRA Skills Ltd, the UK’s premier safety critical and non-safety critical training provider, deliver training and assessments for infrastructure professionals enabling them to be more productive, and safe at work. INFRA Skills’ training is delivered by an experienced and friendly team, with a wealth of experience in industry and commerce. Their national training is accessible and effective, and through this they have gained industry-wide recognition for creating a training package that exceeds the professional standards required to work in infrastructure.
It’s been an exciting year for the company as they have continued to expand both their brand and training capabilities. INFRA Skills’ have seen countless success stories come through the business over the last 12 months, developing their skillsets and assisting people to find employment within the industry.
INFRA Skills Ltd are now a Gold accredited NSAR rail training and assessor provider, and can deliver courses accredited by City & Guilds, CITB, ILM, Highfields and most recently LANTRA. These accreditation’s mean that the company has met the strict guidelines laid down by each awarding body, in that, all assessments undertaken through INFRA Skills are fair, valid, consistent and meet the requirements of the qualification standards. As well as this INFRA Skills, only last month, successfully completed a RISQS audit to allow the company to provide medical services and alcohol and drug screening.
In a sector with a skills shortage, aging workforce, a lack of diversity and resources being underutilised, INFRA Skills are doing all they can to aid the rail sector in meeting their productivity and infrastructure targets for the next 5 years. Their long-standing history of working in partnership with local agencies, colleges, charities and government departments supporting; black minority ethnic groups, women, ex-offenders, ex-armed forces, young people, those with disabilities and individuals struggling to find employment is a way in which they are aiding this. Working with a number of different organisations such as; The Black Country Impact project, Birmingham City Council and Talent Match, INFRA Skills offer an all-inclusive rail training programme over a period of 3 weeks. This course is designed to give learners mandatory rail qualifications, sector knowledge and experience to enhance their opportunities to achieve sustainable employment within the rail sector. Made up of a combination of e-learning, tutor-led delivery at our Aston site and practical training on live local tracks around Birmingham and the Severn Valley Railway in Bewdley. Through each unique course learners will be given the opportunity to gain various rail and construction competencies, upskilling local people, tackling one of the biggest challenges facing the West Midlands today. With their newly-gained knowledge, confidence and skills, individuals will be given the opportune chance to develop a successful career path.
INFRA Skills have also recently partnered with two local colleges to deliver a unique training opportunity that will provide learners with the opportunity to expand their skillset and improve their employability. The Construction Fund Pilot, funded by the West Midlands Combined Authority took place over a period of 4 weeks – working alongside both Dudley College of Technology and the City of Wolverhampton College with a group of 10 individuals taking part in each course. By the end of the course 17 learners had completed the training and went on to have interviews conducted by RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI).
With the apprenticeship levy being introduced in April 2017, INFRA Skills Ltd are working hard to produce high quality programmes that show a more flexible approach to rail apprenticeships, focusing on the sectors requirements both today and in the future. Partnering with Colas Rail, the UK’s first Level 3 Trailblazers Rail Apprenticeship scheme was launched. Training Manager Dave McDonough, was instrumental in the design and management of this bespoke apprenticeship programme, providing learners with a route into the rail sector, honing in on their scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical and design skillsets. This apprenticeship scheme is a huge accomplishment, and a total of 54 successful learners have completed the training since 2017. The success of this programme has seen INFRA Skills Ltd expand their Rail Engineering apprenticeship programme to now include a technician’s competence in the discipline of Traction and Rolling Stock.
Investing significant resources this year, INFRA Skills has developed a cross-platform Mobile Assessment Application, designed for assessing the competency levels of its workforce using its bespoke bronze, silver and gold question sets. The use of this assessment tool means clients can be assured that personnel have been trained to the highest possible level and remain compliant with the latest industry standards. The applications intuitive design allows the training divisions assessors to conduct assessments anywhere within the UK, even in remote areas where a 3G or 4G connection is not available. The app also has many additional functions including; a camera, e-signature and sketch functionality as well as providing the opportunity to geo-tag the location and timestamp the data. This bespoke application is now being used by INFRA Skills colleagues to assess all of Buckingham’s and RSS Infrastructures SWL’s and COSS’s.
INFRA Skills are not only trying to combat skills fade, but also manage reoccurring problems that are taking place within the industry. Monitoring non-sentinel based competencies has been an issue that continues to impact on workforce safety, as well as putting businesses at risk. INFRA Skill’s latest innovation looks to provide a solution in the form of INFRA-Cards. These industry-leading smart cards work through the use of the latest mobile technology that enables users to scan a QR code which has been printed directly onto each card. Each QR code is unique to the competency card holder and when scanned delivers a complete overview of their skills, competence and qualifications. The QR code can be universally recognised by any QR reader from the Apple App Store, Google Play or Windows Store. With their assessment application and INFRA Cards, INFRA Skills are leading the way with technological innovations to improve safety and productivity within the industry.
When RSSI, sister company to INFRA Skills announced the acquisition of Carillion Welding, a training opportunity for a whole new division arose. RSSI Welding operate a purpose-built welder training facility based in Doncaster, and will now be able to provide training, apprenticeships and staff development courses. The Welding trainers have extensive experience within this field, and are accredited by the Institute of Rail Welding (IORW) and Network Rail Standards to deliver all welder competencies. The division can also offer training in both welding processes Thermit and Railtech, as well as giving learners the ability to gain TW1/4, RT1/5, Groove Welding, MPT, and LPT qualifications. Dale Rourke has been a fantastic addition to the training department, and this expansion of RSSI has provided a whole host of new opportunities for INFRA Skills.
Over the course of this year INFRA Skills has continued to grow, welcoming new additions to their expert training team. In May, Julian Wild joined the organisation; his vast amount of experience and competencies has seen him become a valued member of the training team. Andy Getting’s is the most recent addition to the training department, and his expert knowledge has allowed him to take a lead in the ‘Bronze, Silver Gold’ COSS Assessments for Buckingham’s and RSSI, and in the new year he will be assisting Dave McDonough with the Colas Cohorts. As well as the expansion of the team, Steve Cox has been promoted to the role of Quality Manager within the company. Working for INFRA Skills Ltd since April 2016, Steve has collated an excellent level of knowledge, and will now be accountable for the quality assurance of all learning and assessment programmes.
In November INFRA Skills Ltd, along with RSS Infrastructure Ltd, were awarded the ‘Professional Services’ Award at the Birmingham Post Business Awards 2018. Acknowledging all their hard work and expertise in the rail and construction industry. For the award submission INFRA Skills Ltd showcased their local partnerships, as well as demonstrating their ability to deliver apprenticeship schemes on behalf of various clients, such as their Level 3 Rail Apprenticeship standard in collaboration with Colas Rail. This was a huge success for both companies, being presented with such a prestigious award commending their commitment and dedication to the delivery of ground-breaking solutions, that are helping to provide a lasting legacy which will shape the future landscape of the West Midlands.
The evolution of INFRA Skills from Auctus Training Solutions took place in July this year. Being part of the INFRA Family along with RSSI, they share a common goal, ‘To empower people and industries to create a safer and more productive word’. The company rebrand included a new logo and colour scheme which is a visual reflection of the business; an inspiration for their behaviour and growth of the business. The company values are extremely important to INFRA Skills; grounded, inspirational, credible, passionate and friendly and they are demonstrated continuously through all of their work. The company rebrand has been a huge success, and to end the year on a high INFRA Skills and RSSI have moved to bigger premises in Birmingham. As both companies have expanded, the need for more space was imminent, and this new journey will provide them with the means to continue to expand both businesses and their potential.
It has been a fantastic year for INFRA Skills; from a complete company rebrand, to their team expansion as well as a highly accredited award win. With the success of 2018 and the move into new premises, it seems that the possibilities are endless for the company, and we’re confident that 2019 will bring yet more accomplishments for INFRA Skills.