How did you find out about INFRA Skills Ltd?
Having always been fascinated by design and engineering, I attended the University of Central England to complete a degree in Industrial Design. Once I had attained my degree, I worked hard to gain my teaching qualifications and started to use my knowledge to tutor others. My career quickly progressed, and within a short period of time I was promoted to Head of Faculty within my specialism. After working in education for a number of years, I began to comprehend the unrealistic expectations that surrounded the education system, and soon decided it was time for a career change.
Around the same time, a series of events within my personal life left me experiencing severe turmoil and grief. I fell into a place of uncertainty, and subsequently started to struggle with my mental health. I needed something to focus my mind on, and decided I would search for a new career that I would both enjoy, and that would challenge. Having a design and engineering background I started to consider a career within the rail sector. I registered with the job centre and initially I was looking into engineering apprenticeships, so they advised me to attend an apprenticeship event at Wolverhampton Civic Hall.
Whilst attending the event it seemed a lot of the apprenticeship opportunities were out of my reach, with providers explaining to me that I would be deemed overqualified for an apprenticeship. Meeting Rachel Green, Business Development Manager for INFRA Skills, she discussed with me the different training opportunities they could provide. We spoke in depth about the Construction Gateway Programme, in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, and how this would be a suitable route for me to take towards a career in rail. This 4 week fully-funded training programme, targeting the locally unemployed, seemed like a fantastic opportunity to gain qualifications and experience within both rail and construction. The prospect of employment afterwards was also enticing, and I decided to take up the opportunity to start an exciting new career.
How did you find the training with INFRA Skills?
The training took place at the INFRA Skills office based in Aston, with on-track experience at both Adderley Park and the Severn Valley Railway in Bewdley. The training of my particular cohort was conducted by both Steve Cox and Jordan May, and through their interactive teaching style they kept us all engaged throughout the programme. Both trainers were highly experienced, displaying their abundant knowledge of the rail sector, as well as being able to provide different means of learning support suitable for various individuals within a diverse group of learners.
Throughout the course we were also given the opportunity to accept shifts working for RSS Infrastructure Ltd (RSSI), making immediate use of the competencies we were completing. A couple of weeks into the programme I was offered a P-way shift in Dorridge, alongside my trainer Steve, and Brian Hopkinson, RSSI Rail Manager. I was given great feedback for my work, and throughout the duration of my course, I continued to excel in different roles working within RSSI.
Once I had completed the programme, I was immediately offered a position working within RSS Infrastructure, having proved myself to be both hard-working and reliable.
How are you finding working for RSSI?
Since joining RSSI, I have been working within various divisions including; the Track Access and Lighting division, the Arboriculture division and the Fleet division.
Having worked alongside Graham Talbot, Head of RSSI Arboriculture, he was impressed with my skillset and work ethic. He asked me to complete my Chain Saw Ticket, and to consider joining the RSSI Arboriculture division. I have already put in a number of hours towards this qualification, and I am looking forward to completing it, having another skill to add to my growing list of competencies.
The effort I put into both the training programme and any shifts alongside RSSI was clearly noted, and this in turn has supported my progression with RSSI.
What are your plans for the future?
I am really excited about the prospects of progressing within RSSI, including working my way up to become a ‘White hat’, and then hopefully becoming a team leader. As well as this, the opportunity to gain more arboriculture qualifications and work within the vegetation department also looks promising.
Long-term I have a number of options that I am considering pursuing within the industry, including applying for an apprenticeship with Colas Rail, so I can eventually become qualified to work as a Hand back Engineer or an OLEC3 Engineer. These roles particularly hold a lot of responsibility, but I know that with my dedication and attention to detail I will be able to absorb the information needed to progress to this level.
I have also recently applied to become a local councillor for the Black Country Party, and through this platform I want to become an advocate for the Railway and transport links within the area.
I am so grateful for the opportunity both INFRA Skills and RSS Infrastructure have given me. I can’t fault the training programme, especially as it is providing not only recognised qualifications, but also the prospect of employment. I am keen to say this is the best job I have ever had, and it has opened my eyes to the breadth of different roles within the industry.
Please click ‘play’ to watch Dinesh’s video testimonial