What were you doing before you joined RSS Infrastructure?

I was a solider in the 1st Royal Irish Inventory Regiment from 2001-2007, touring in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Botswana. When I signed off from the military I began my transition into civil life, working for Chasetown Civil Engineering for 4 years.

After deciding on a career in rail, I undertook my Personal Track Safety training, and it has now been 5 years since I joined RSSI. I completed my IWA qualification and then went on to do my COSS training. I became a TCM with a gang of 9 at high output for around 2 years, progressing on to becoming the Works Manager for the last 3 months of the project. I moved onto Gwep, where I worked as a COSS for around a year, finally going on to become a PC Supervisor at ABC Walsall.

How have RSSI supported you?

In February last year I was offered the position of Rail Accounts Manager, where I have been ever since. RSS Infrastructure have provided me with an opportunity to advance my career, not only with the training provided whilst working on the tracks, but by also giving me the chance to succeed within an office environment, which is an undoubtably different role.

What are the next steps for you?

I am proud of my career progression and I hope to carry on advancing within the company, knowing that RSSI will support me all the way.

What were you doing before you joined RSS Infrastructure (RSSI)?

My 10-year career in the British Armed Forces as a Royal Engineer included 5 years in Maidstone as part of the 36 Engineers regiment as well as an additional 5 years at Wimbish in the 33EOD regiment. Joining the military gave me the opportunity to explore and discover a variety of different cultures and countries around the world including; two tours in Afghanistan as well as Northern Ireland, Canada, Belize in South America and Cyprus.

In 2013, I decided to take those skills that I had learnt within the armed forces, such as adaptability, safety consciousness, determination and pride in my work, and begin my journey into the rail sector, where I initially started working on P-WAY and in railway construction. In 2017 I successfully completed the OLEC2 qualification but was not able to fully utilise those skills I had learnt until joining RSS Infrastructure in 2018.

How has RSSI supported your development?

Joining RSSI has already opened the door to new and fantastic opportunities within the RSSI OLE division where I continue to be an instrumental part of the Great Western Electrification Programme, where I am able to utilise my OLEC 2 qualification for the creation of new OLE structures. I have also worked with the Track Access team helping clients to increase productivity and provide safe access for road rail vehicles through the installation of Road Rail Access Points in Wembley.

What is the best part of your job?

The OLE department continues to also work alongside myself to fully realise my vision through additional OLEC learning, which gave me an in-depth overview of AC and DC systems, Main Parts Steel, and Small Parts Steel (SPS) across both OLEMI and newer Series 1 and 2 systems. Through a tailored career progression programme designed by Senior Management, I have recently undertaken the Controller of Site Safety (COSS) certification course with INFRA Skills, fully funded by the organisation

What are the next steps for you?

The company’s highly skilled arborists were able to complete the works on schedule within the agreed timeframe of 3 days. The teams extensive experience in delivering this type of works helped to provide the client with a solution that met both their budgetary requirements as well as focusing on the key safety elements needed to ensure that the entire workforce was protected at all times. The quick turnaround also reduced the amount of site disruption and increased client productivity allowing for a speedy delivery of the regeneration project for Wednesbury to Brierly Hill extension.

What were you doing before joining RSS Infrastructure (RSSI)?

I was working in construction, when I saw people working in the rail industry from afar. I quickly became interested in this route of employment, but was unsure of how to delve into this line of work. Luckily, I had a contact who had gone through training with Infra Skills, and they pointed me in the right direction.

What have you achieved since joining RSSI?

Since working with RSSI I have never looked back, having partaken in various training courses to expand my qualifications and skills. Although I did my apprenticeship externally, I repeated my PTS with Infra Skills. Since then I have taken part in numerous courses to advance my skills even further including; lookout, Points Operator, LXA, safe works leader and a COSS course.
I am currently working on the Gwep Project, supervising the de-veg team for the next 10 weeks.

How have RSSI supported you?

I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and also Asperger’s, this didn’t faze the training staff who were more than willing to assist me with any extra help or support. This meant assistance with reading, as well as general support and advice from the staff, even after I had completed training.

I really enjoy working in the industry because of the versatility of the people you come across, no two people being the same. I would love to see more women working in the rail industry and it’s great to see RSSI trying to achieve this.

What are you plans for the future?

I am currently qualified as a COSS, Machine Controller Slinger and a Crane Controller and now I am planning to complete my training to become an Engineering Supervisor. To do so, I hope to gain the best understanding possible of the areas I would be overseeing in this role, and plan to undertake more training, gaining valuable knowledge which will help me in the future.

What were you doing before joining RSS Infrastructure (RSSI)?

Leaving school, I found myself working in the service industry in a fast food restaurant. Knowing that this wasn’t a career I saw progressing, my step-father Dave McDonough who is Training Manager for Infra Skills, told me about the opportunities available at RSS I. In 2014 I started training through Infra Skills, and went on to work for RSS where I am still today. Since joining RSSI have gained a number of qualifications including; Lookout, COSS, Small Tools, ATWS and Zollner.

How have RSSI supported you?

RSSI is a great company, and have always looked after me. They appreciate that I want to constantly upskill myself, and support me in gaining additional tickets, even recommending specific training courses they think would be beneficial to me.

I have always been looked after, both on and off the track. The training provided through Infra Skills is always informative and extremely beneficial, as well as being an experience I look forward to.

What are you plans for the future?

I am currently interested in the partnership between RSSI and Speedy Hire, and their opportunity to train on machinery such as the cembre and robel. I am keen to gain as many tickets as I can, because the more qualified I become, the more of a desirable candidate I will be.

I really enjoy working in rail, and it would be great to see more women joining the rail sector, as it is such a male dominated place. For me it is all about constantly advancing within my career, and not coming across many women in my line of work, I am aiming to become the first women ES. I want to prove that women are just as capable as men, and that we do have a place in this industry, maybe even encouraging more women to do the same.