INFRA Skills Ltd are delighted to announce they have been shortlisted for the ‘Proactive Educational Provider of an Apprenticeship Programme’ because of their continuous investment in the future generation leaders within the infrastructure industry. INFRA Skills have spearheaded the movement to increase the quality of rail apprenticeships by becoming the first company in the UK to deliver the Level 3 Rail Apprenticeship Standard. Working in partnership with Colas Rail, who act as the employer, they have designed a bespoke apprenticeship programme that provides learners of all ages with a route into the rail sector. Honing in on their scientific, technical, engineering, mathematical and design skillsets, this programme will give the candidates the best opportunity to gained varied knowledge and skills surrounding the rail sector.

The Education Awards is an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding contributions that various companies make to the education industry. With 16 awards up for grabs, the category winners will have the chance to work with the sponsors on a live community project.

With so many upcoming major projects on the horizon, it is crucial that the rail industry acknowledges the challenges it faces in terms of; a lack of diversity, aging workforce, skills shortages and resources being underutilised. With this being said INFRA Skills are heavily investing in their apprenticeship scheme, knowing such programmes are key to ensure a successful future within the industry.

As part of this joint initiative, INFRA Skills supported both Colas Rail and the apprenticeships, by developing a series of Level 3 Diplomas that cater for both the employers and learners needs. These diplomas cover a number of core areas and cater for a variation of disciplines across the sector including; Track, OLE, Traction Rolling Stock and Signalling. In addition to this, Behavioural Based Safety, Asbestos Awareness, Hazard Awareness and Equality & Inclusion training is also included within each Level 3 Diploma.

Apprentices enrolled on the Trailblazer’s scheme will also be offered a free membership to the PWI, which will allow them to use ‘MPWI’ after their name and also illustrates their commitment to professional development. After attaining their Level 3 qualification, each learner will have gained enough track experience to register with the Engineering Council as Engineering Technicians, certifying them as ‘EngTech MPWI’.

In conjunction with the ‘on the job learning,’ apprentices are given track experience through the company’s dedicated training facility based at Seven Valley Railway. The apprentices also benefit from the company’s partnership with the Armed Forces allowing them to develop their lateral thinking, team-building and communication skills by taking part in the ‘Exercise Industry Challenge.’

As a leading voice within the industry, The National Skills Academy (NSAR) supported INFRA Skills in their vision, realising the significance of how this standard would make Rail Apprenticeships more flexible and focused on the needs of employers. By delivering an apprenticeship that meets the industry’s needs, INFRA Skills are helping to ensure that the sector can remain sustainable and grow. This collaboration ensures that learners can acquire real progression opportunities through Colas Rail, and so far, a total of 54 apprentices have progressed through the training using the new standard, and a second cohort has been commissioned for delivery.

INFRA Skills have also been recognised for their long-standing history of working to improve working conditions and reducing the skills gap through their partnerships with local agencies, colleges, charities and government departments. Creating bespoke ‘Journey into rail’ programmes, INFRA Skills helps those with disabilities and individuals struggling to find employment, by reducing the number of barriers facing them when seeking work. This fully-funded programmes encompass a wide range of learning techniques including e-learning, tutor-led delivery as well as on-site practical experience at their dedicated training facility at the Severn Valley Railway, Bewdley. The success of these programmes has been undeniable, with a guaranteed interview upon completion of the training, over 170 people have gained employment with either RSS Infrastructure or one it’s partners since 2018.

INFRA Skills are extremely grateful to have been recognised by the Education Awards for their hard work and dedication to the future of the industry. We wish them and all the other nominees the best of luck for the upcoming awards!