Armed Forces Week 2019 – Brian Hopkinson Case Study



What Was Your Role Within The Armed Forces?

“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”.


What Are The Benefits of Joining The Reservists or Armed Forces?

“For me, it was a great way to start a career that really interested and engaged me, the skills learned in the Armed Forces are extremely valuable in all kinds of careers and industries during and after your services. To go into something as hands on as the Army, and to learn those kinds of skills in a fast paced and intense environment, really helps you focus your objectives and prioritise how to tackle problems”.


Why Is It Important For The Businesses Community To Demonstrate Support For The British Armed Forces?

“Absolutely, support for the Armed Forces has come on leaps and bounds in the last few decades, with schemes helping Soldiers with funded training or to help transition from the Armed Forces to start a civilian career directly with businesses. Organisations that partner with businesses are so valuable for Ex-Forces members because they are thrown into a different world when it comes to finding a new job and career, so any help or guidance is crucial”.


How Has RSSI Supported You In Your Journey?

“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 undoubtedly different role. 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”.



Armed Forces Week 2019 – Tom Kennedy Case Study



What Was Your Role Within The Armed Forces?

“I was a Lance Corporal Chef for 10 years during my time with the Armed Forces, I was stationed in the Officers Mess and had the privilege of being the private Chef for the barracks Colonel, Regimental Sergeant Major and Technical Quarter Master. During my time I learned a lot of essential skills that helped me effectively manage my team and also sharpened my organisational skills, which later proved very valuable with my rail career”.


What Are The Benefits of Joining The Reservists or Armed Forces?

“The Reservists are great for people who want to get a sample of what Army life is like, I know quite a few people who started off as a Reserve and then committed to have a successful career with the Armed Forces. I joined the Army when I was 18 years old to learn new skills and travel the world, so for me it was certainly more then just a job, it was my life”.


Why Is It Important For The Businesses Community To Demonstrate Support For The British Armed Forces?

“I didn’t go into the rail sector straight after leaving the Army, I first went into the Automobile Industry with Jaguar Land Rover, I started out as a welder and then moved to another car company where I created paint jigs for different automobile pieces. I knew someone who worked weekends for SkyBlue and wanted to get into the rail sector from his experiences and recommendations, I quickly got skilled up and also started weekends whilst still working during the week, I shortly got offered a full-time role with SkyBlue and the rest is history”.


How Has RSSI Supported You In Your Journey?

“I started at RSSI, when they were known as Rail Safety Solutions, around 8 years ago. I was brought in to help, the then small company with my rail experience and managerial skills, as they started to expand and grow from just a Track Warning Systems company with limited contingent labour capabilities. The company has supported me with my expansion and growth as a Senior Rail Supervisor by giving me the training and opportunities I need to be the best on track, and the best infront of clients”.



Armed Forces Week 2019 – John McDonough Case Study



What Was Your Role Within The Armed Forces?

“In the British Army, my role was a Logistic specialist in Supply, where I supported the British Army logistically at home and overseas for 8 years. I’m currently an Volunteer Adult Instructor for the Army Cadet Force, were I teach children and teenagers from the age of 12 to 18 years old valuable skills of the British Army and life skills and qualifications such as the Duke of Edinburgh.”


What Are The Benefits of Joining The Reservists or Armed Forces?

“Army life is no walk in the park, but the many benefits the Armed Forces offer to recruits makes joining up a great option for many young people who desire to learn new skills and progress through the ranks on a promising career path.”


Why Is It Important For The Businesses Community To Demonstrate Support For The British Armed Forces?

“RSSI recognises the invaluable contribution Armed Forces individuals make to the community and their business, they also recognise that those individuals, previously employed by the Armed Forces Such as myself, can contribute a wealth of transferable skills and experience and that it is therefore important for RSSI as a business to support their integration into the civilian workforce in any way they can.”


How Has RSSI Supported You In Your Journey?

“RSSI has supported me in employing me as a Fleet Co-ordinator using my Knowledge gained with in the Army of fleet and supply, they have also enabled me to continue giving 100% commitment to the Army Cadet force. I have gained Qualifications such as PTS which enables me to when if needed on track, RSSI is a company the respects, supports and encourages the active members British Armed Forces and also Veterans such as myself.”



RSS Infrastructure and INFRA Skills Nominated For Two Rail Partnership Awards



RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI) and INFRA Skills Ltd has been shortlisted for the ‘SME of the Year’ and the ‘Investing in People’ categories in the 2019 Rail Partnership Awards. The awards are part of a partnership between Network Rail, Rail Media that recognises the outstanding work organisations are doing to deliver a better railway.

As part of the ‘SME of the Year’ award submission process, the company provided evidence that demonstrated how it is driving excellence and innovation in several award category areas such as safety, sustainability and community engagement as well as detailing successful partnerships.

Furthermore, in connection with the ‘Investing in People’ category, the company was asked to provide evidence of how it was developing people through investing in talent, skills, apprenticeship schemes, training and leadership capabilities.

Commenting about the awards, Richard Toy, CEO of RSS Infrastructure Ltd, said “With Control Period 6 on the horizon and the announcement of Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan, it is an opportune time to start forging new partnerships with organisations that are developing revolutionary ways of thinking and breaking down barriers. The ground-breaking initiatives that RSS Infrastructure and INFRA Skills have been nominated for, as part of the Rail Partnership Awards, will aid Network Rail in meeting its key objectives by increasing safety, reducing the skills/age gap as well as improving productivity and diversity ensuring that the sector is able to cope with the increased demand on the infrastructure.”

RSS Infrastructure Become Newest RoSPA Member



RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI) are proud to announce they are now members of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

RoSPA, don’t believe in the phrase ‘wrong place, wrong time’.

They do believe that accidents are the biggest threat to an individual’s life, either in the workplace or day-to-day. More than 14,000 people die as a result of accidents across the UK each year, while thousands more are maimed and millions are injured. Businesses could potentially be ruined. Families devastated, and children could grow up without parents, or parents without children.

RSSI continually strive to be at the forefront of safety excellence in the infrastructure sector. Not only are RSSI the UK’s only provider of Track Warning Systems, a system that has evidently shown to be safer and more efficient than traditional methods used in the rail sector, but they are also continuously pushing the boundaries on new safety systems, methods and procedures that are being utilised by their clients.

The new membership with RoSPA will help strengthen RSSI’s mission of safety and security within the infrastructure industry.

For more information on RoSPA, please click on:

Auctus Management Group Shows Its Support for Mental Health Awareness Week



Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year the theme is ‘Body Image’. We all have mental health, just like we do physical health, but sometimes it can be hard to know how to look after your own mental health and wellbeing. Our mental health doesn’t always stay the same and can fluctuate depending on different circumstances and lifestyle choices. This week is about being open about our Mental health, and trying to diminish the stigma that is associated with talking about our Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Auctus Management Group Ltd (AMG) and its subsidiary businesses are putting initiatives in place to try and reduce the negative impact that a working environment can have on a person. As well as ensuring their staff feel that their workplace is a safe and comfortable environment to seek out help if they need it.
There is also strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive, and addressing wellbeing at work can increase productivity by 12% according to the Mental Health Foundation. High levels of fatigue from working long hours can result in lower standards of performance and safety, as well as having an effect on the individual’s wellbeing. With this being said, RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI) have a fatigue monitoring system in place which commences during the rostering process, where the in-house CRM is used to calculate the travel time to and from site, shift duration and work type. Any concerns with travel exceedance or shift duration (14 hours from door to door) are automatically flagged ensuring that workers cannot be rostered to shifts or projects unless adequate measures, such as local accommodation, are put in place to ensure that ‘Everyone [returns] home safe, everyday”.

RSSI have also taken precautions to make the transportation of workers to the site safer. They have become the first company in the rail sector to utilise a specialist Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS). The warning system is a dash-mounted device and focuses on the driver’s retina and measures their ‘blinking pattern’ sounding audible warnings if signs of drowsiness, fatigue and/or attention is diverted from the road.

As well as this AMG have encouraged a number of staff members to undertake a Mental Health First Aider training course, aiding staff with the understanding of Mental Health and wellbeing and to provide them with the knowledge and confidence to administer the first means of support to anyone suffering from mental ill health. There are now 12 ‘Wellbeing Champions’ for AMG, RSSI and INFRA Skills Ltd, who meet regularly to discuss and arrange appropriate well-being initiatives for implementation. The Champions will also help to drive the well-being message across the workforce and highlight any concerns.

Mental Health issues can range from every day worries, to life-long conditions. Support systems such as AMG’s ‘Well Being Champions’, are crucial within the workplace to aid the nationwide campaign to support those experiencing mental health issues.

For more information about Mental Health Awareness Week visit:

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With The Force Atlantic Team Rowers


RSS Infrastructure Ltd previously announced that they are proud to be supporting the British Armed Forces ‘Force Atlantic’ rowing team as a ‘Gold’ sponsor for the ‘Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge’, otherwise known as the ‘World’s Toughest Row’.

The Force Atlantic team are the first official British Army team to enter the event and they have the daunting task of getting the boat safely to the other side whilst overcoming a series of obstacles including; contending with the mental anguish that the ordeal will bring as a result of the solitary lifestyle whilst on board as well as sleep deprivation, salt sores, and physical extremes inflicted by the race.

We attended the Rannoch Adventure Open Day to get an exclusive interview with the team.



– Please find the transcript of the interview taken from the video below –


1. What was the motivation behind your decision to take part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge?

Lt. Col Richard Hall MBE:

“The motivation behind this was that we all work at the Army Foundation College, which is a unit that really enhances and brings to life an emerging career for young people that are joining the Army.

What we are trying to do is really leverage the opportunity advantage that the Army Foundation College gives, and take on some challenge that we thought is really eye catching and cutting edge to a degree, and I think the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge represents something that is quite unique, but it is also quite accessible. You don’t need a lot of knowledge of ocean sailing or ocean rowing at all, what you need is a lot of strength, determination, resilience and mental fortitude.

This is the thing that the Army is good at, it is what we sell ourselves on, so that is why we decided to choose this challenge. Having someone like Kian, who is an 18 year old member of the team, he’s still in training right now and he’s a really important member of the crew, and I think that’s what we wanted to do is to demonstrate that young people join the Army have joined something that is expeditionary in nature, that develops them, and really as an employer, that can maximise the opportunities for everyone.”


2. Could you tell us how you have prepared for the event?

Captain Chris Hames:

“Yeah sure, the preparation for the whole thing from the initial phone call from Rich saying ‘do you want to do a physical challenge?’ what do you say to that, ‘yeah of course I do’, ‘Let’s row the Atlantic?’, ‘Yeah ok!’.

Initially, you think that there are a few little bits and pieces to do, but it snowballs so quickly, the general organisation for starters, it takes up a good 80% of your day at times. There is the physical challenge and the physical preparation, and there’s the mental resilience preparation, and then there is everything else, from getting the boat, getting the team together, to team dynamics and getting sponsorship, it is absolutely immense. The key things we are featuring at the moment are the physical preparation, the mental resilience preparation and actually getting out in the boat.

Physically, it’s lots of weight training, lots of ERG rowing and as soon as we get the boat in August, we are going to be out in it whenever we can, and practising the drills in the boat like; man overboard, radio drills, eating on the boat, going the toilet on the boat, literally everything we can possibly do, that is going to put us in a good state come La Gomera.

Mentally, we’ll have big group team meetings, speaking openly and honestly to each other about how we feel, what are our worries, why are we doing the event itself, everyone’s got their own personal agenda which link in with the whole team ethos, and that is where we are at, at the moment.

We can’t wait to get on the boat in August, and of course we can’t wait to hit the start line, it is getting to the stage where it has taken up so much of our day, with trying to do our day jobs as well, that let’s get on the start line and let’s have that first day when we are out to sea, and we’ve got nothing else to worry about, apart from the four of us in the boat, looking after each other, and getting across to Antigua in good order and that is where we are at really now.”


3. What challenges do you expect to come across whilst out at sea?

Kingsman Kian Helm:

“The main challenges will be hunger, it will be quite hard to get into the routine of eating properly and keeping hydrated throughout because we will be rowing quite a lot. Another challenge is the wildlife around us, getting used to it, and the weather, the weather will be a massive one, as well as the salt sores all over our hands and body.

There are going to be quite a lot of other challenges like sea sickness, how are we going to cope with it, the row is going to be really mentally hard for us all, and trying to keep up with each other as a team, putting up with each other. It’s going to be a really good challenge for us all I think, I’m looking forward to it.”


4. How will your Military background benefit you as you journey across the Atlantic?

Lt. Marc Woolacott:

“So obviously the major training is really good at exposing you to physical and mental challenges, and as you can imagine this row with definitely be a physical and mental challenge. To be honest, the physical side, being in the Army is a given, you’re expected to be physically tough, but mentally it’s very lucky that we are exposed, I say exposed but you never get comfortable dealing with stressful situations, but at least you are exposed to them, and you are able to recognise the sort of stress picking up and have sort of practised methods if you like, to deal with those.

Things like lack of sleep, and learning how you operate when you haven’t had much sleep and still know you have got a job to do, is very useful and transferable skill for sure. I am also an Army diver, which is quite useful, so every week we will have to go underneath the boat and clean it, I think that might be me, so that’s another skill that will be useful for this.”


5. How will the sponsorship from RSS Infrastructure benefit your cause?

Captain Alexander Walsh:

“Oh enormously, so first and foremost, it’s a competition, not only competitive in terms of survival against the ocean, but competitive against other teams who are racing against us. In order to be competitive, we need to be well funded, to get the best kit, such as Rannoch’s R45 model as well as the kit we will be eating from, sleeping in and surviving with.

Not only that, RSS Infrastructure have also offer fantastic exposure within the industry and the local area to RSSI’s operations, which will give great exposure to our charity the Army Benevolent Fund who do a fantastic job in supporting both veterans and serving soldiers from the British Army.”


To find out more about the Force Atlantic, please click:

RSS Infrastructure ‘Gold’ Sponsor The Force Atlantic Rowing Team



RSS Infrastructure Ltd have announced that this year the company is proud to be supporting the British Armed Forces ‘Force Atlantic’ rowing team as a ‘Gold’ sponsor for the ‘Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge’, otherwise known as the ‘World’s Toughest Row’.

As the premier event in the ocean rowing calendar, the ‘Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge’ brings together teams from all walks of life united by the same objective: to take on the unique challenge of crossing over 3,000 miles of treacherous ocean. Around 30 teams from across the globe will begin their journey in the village of San Sebastian in La Gomera and will finish in Antigua.

The Force Atlantic team are the first official British Army team to enter the event and they have the daunting task of getting the boat safely to the other side whilst overcoming a series of obstacles including; contending with the mental anguish that the ordeal will bring as a result of the solitary lifestyle whilst on board as well as sleep deprivation, salt sores, and physical extremes inflicted by the race.

Speaking about how the team met and their motivation for taking part, Captain Alex Walsh, Project Officer, said: “The team of four met through a mutual desire for adventure and a commitment to support the Army Foundation College. This institute has helped to transform the lives of over one-thousand 16-17 year olds who come from disruptive backgrounds; often from broken homes, failed by their schools and disengaged from training, education and employment. However, through a structured programme, which is renowned for providing the best soldier basic training system in the world, these young people are molded into leaders who ultimately help to protect and service our way of life.

Our primary aim, therefore, is to demonstrate the travel, adventure, competition and challenge opportunities that the Army lifestyle offers to young people. We are also raising money for the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.  This incredible organisation has a vision that all soldiers, veterans and their families should have the opportunity to avoid hardship and enjoy independence and dignity. Please help us to raise money for this worthwhile cause.”

Richard Toy, CEO of RSS Infrastructure Ltd, said: “We are immensely proud of our partnership with the British Armed Forces and the ‘Force Atlantic’ team. Through this sponsorship we hope to do our part to alleviate the pressures that both those serving and ex-service experience on a daily basis. RSS Infrastructure believes that all employers should adopt a company culture that is respectful of the dedication shown by those working within the Armed Forces. 

As a forces-friendly employer we have adopted a number of policies and procedures aimed at supporting those leaving the Armed Forces and transitioning to ‘Civvy Street’. The company has also developed a bespoke training programme which is tailored to the needs of service leavers and offers an extensive array of competencies needed to operate within the infrastructure sector. This support has ultimately led to the company being awarded the silver Armed Forces Covenant award for the Employer Recognition Scheme.”


To find out more about the Force Atlantic, please click: 

RSS Infrastructure Retains 5* RISQS Rating

RSS Infrastructure (RSSI) Limited, a subsidiary of Auctus Management Group Limited, are proud to announce that it has once again retained the highest accolade of ‘five stars’ for the seventh year in a row in the Railway Industry Supplier Qualification Scheme (RISQS) audit, formerly referred to as Link-up.

This award is testament to the company’s continued commitment to offering its clients technological innovations as well as developing bespoke solutions that deliver increased levels of safety and productivity.

As part of the audit the company demonstrated competency in a variety of different areas including the inclusion of the company’s new online induction portal. Part of the company’s mission is to provide an ‘incident-free workplace’ through innovative methods of enhancing workforce safety. To aid in this objective, the company has developed an interactive HSQE Induction which aims to deliver a clear and consistent message whilst providing an extensive overview of how to develop and ensure safe working practices. Through a series of learner driven exercises, which covers a variety of safety orientated topics including, but not limited to; Health, Safety and Environment, Legal Responsibility, Moral Obligations, Policies, First Aid, Fire Safety, Drugs & Alcohol, Medication, Risk Management, Management of Fatigue, Working Hours, Management of Competence, Work Safe Procedure, Accidents / Incidents / Near-Miss / Close-Call, COSHH, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Manual Handling, Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS), Briefing & Communications and Network Rail – Life Saving Rules. After successful completion of the induction topics section each learner must pass an assessment before they can commence work. This ensures that learners have correctly understood the content resulting in a workforce that, at all times, embody and uphold the company’s high standards of working.

The audit also assessed the company’s ‘Fatigue Management’ procedure. High levels of fatigue can lead to reduced levels of productivity, efficiency and result in workers inadequately perceiving risk and accepting lower standards of performance and safety which can cost lives. The company’s fatigue monitoring commences during the rostering process where the in-house CRM is used to calculate the travel time to and from site, shift duration and work type. This ensures each rostered team member is matched geographically to the location of the works and has the right skillset for the task required. Any concerns with travel exceedance or shift duration are automatically flagged ensuring that workers cannot be rostered to shifts or projects unless adequate measures, such as local accommodation, are put in place to ensure that ‘Everyone [returns] home safe, everyday”.

As part of its commitment to protecting its workforce, the company demonstrated its ‘Safety Dashboard’ which demonstrated the safety statistics for the previous 12 months, which indicated that there had been one minor injury and RIDDOR event during this period. Furthermore, during the recruitment stage the existing competences of the candidates were recorded. Where there were identified gaps in competencies suitable training would then be arranged through INFRA Skills Ltd, sister company to RSSI.

Key personnel from RSSI worked in collaboration with the RISQS Auditors to ensure that the company passed with no non-conformances raised this in turn ensures customers are receiving a product/service that is delivered to an exceptional standard as well as being safe and reliable.

This customer-orientated model has been fundamental to our client’s success by providing a range of dedicated teams who are experts in their fields and provide ground-breaking solutions that allow customers to complete projects on time and to budget, resulting in an unrivalled reputation for quality, safety and reliability. This has led to the company being the preferred supplier to rail companies for both tier one and two contractors.

Richard Toy, CEO of Auctus Management Group Ltd said, “This fantastic achievement is testament to the commitment and dedication of those working at RSSI and Infra Skills for delivering ground-breaking solutions that are helping to provide a lasting legacy which will shape the future landscape of the rail industry. We have achieved this through a series of initiatives that focus on technology that helps to improve safety, productivity and by designing processes and procedures that ensure workers are engaged in safe practices both on and off site.”

“The recognition that we have received for demonstrating our compliance with the Network Rail Sentinel, IMR and Safe Work Planning standards illustrates how our robust procedures ensure customers benefit from a company who is compliant with the highest of industry standards.”