What were you doing before you started the training with INFRA Skills Ltd and BMET?
“I was working as a Graphics Installer for a printing company, completing installations for exhibitions and events all across the UK. The company was put under new ownership, consequently meaning that the management of the workforce changed. I soon decided that this line of work was no longer for me, and started to search for a new career.
I signed on with Handsworth Job Centre, where they told me about the construction and rail training that was available through a partnership between BMet and INFRA Skills. I had previously been interested in working within the rail industry, but at the time I didn’t feel ready to change career paths, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get my foot in the door. I attended a group information session with BMET representatives including Tony Holder, and INFRA Skills’ Business Development Manager Rachel Green. The training programme was explained to us in detail including; what the programme included, what was expected from us and what the intended outcomes were.
This session was also attended by representatives of the HM Treasury – the Governments economic and finance ministry. The HMT representatives were made up of; Beth Russel, Katharine Braddick and Phil Duffy, who came to network with other visitors and supporters of the West Midlands Combined Authority. They gave us a short introduction about who they were, and spoke us about their aim to support job seekers and help local people develop additional skills.”
How did you find the training programme?
“We started off the training at Erdington Skills Centre where we completed our Health and Safety Level 1 and our CSCS qualification. Tony was on-hand to assist us with any queries we had throughout this section of the training. He was extremely helpful, and it was clear that he wanted to make sure that we were getting the most out the training being provided.
Once we had completed the 3 weeks with BMET we moved onto the rail training with INFRA Skills, which took place at their office in Aston, as well as some on-site training at locations within the West Midlands. During my time with INFRA Skills’ we gained a lot of valuable qualifications including; PTS, Small Tools, OLEC1, First Aid at Work amongst many others. Jordan May conducted our training, and he made it both interesting and enjoyable. He was really down to earth, and went out of his way to help us throughout the training, as well as the revision that was involved.
I was part of a great group of people who were also taking part in the training programme, this along with the fantastic tutoring, made us all get thoroughly involved and take as much knowledge and experience from the opportunity as we could.”
What are you doing now?
“During the group information session, we were told we would have the opportunity to take part in a number of interviews after we had completed the training. Before I had even finished the programme, I was offered shifts with their sister company RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI), which involved working in Wales on a relay shift. RSSI were extremely impressed with my work ethic and commitment to the job, and offered me more work within a gang.
The practical part of the training programme gave me a real insight into what working on the railway would be like, and I think this is one of the reasons I was so successful when I completed my first shifts with RSSI.
I have now been working with RSSI for a couple of months, and within the first 3 weeks I had already progressed from a ‘blue hat’ to a ‘white hat’. I have gained an abundance of experience, that has developed my understanding of the railway even further, and since completing the training programme I have been working on a variety of shifts across the UK.”
What are your plans for the future?
“RSSI have already supported me with gaining my Lookout Initial competency, and I am hoping I can continue to expand the breadth of my rail qualifications including my COSS, OLEC2 and eventually work towards gaining some Crane Controller tickets.
I am going to continue to work to the best of my ability, knowing that RSSI will support me to progress my career. I am so grateful for the opportunity given to me though the funded training programme, and think that it’s a fantastic platform for those seeking employment to gain stable employment.”