On Monday 27th September, Andrew Stephenson, Minister of State at the DfT and the HS2 Minister, officially opened the new purpose-built INFRA Skills Training Centre in Aston, Birmingham.
The new Centre focuses primarily on rail and construction training and will assist infrastructure companies in developing and training their workforce to meet the demand for £55 billion in rail contracts by 2022. The West Midlands area is currently responsible for 49,000 railway-related jobs – the joint second-highest concentration of all UK regions outside of London.
Adjacent to the centre is a purpose-built Rail Training area with more than 80 metres of railway track, including working points, signals, RRAPs and a level crossing. An Overhead Line Span will be added in the coming weeks, making it one of the best training facilities in the country. INFRA Skills trainers work with students to ensure they gain hands-on, practical experience in learning the skills required to build and maintain rail lines.
During his visit, he also stopped by the HS2 Induction Centre, run by parent company Auctus Management Group, which provides inductions for all Balfour Beatty Vinci employees and subcontractors working on the Midlands section from Long Itchington to Stafford.
The Minister also saw on-track demonstrations from INFRA Skills sister company, RSS Infrastructure. They showcased their Welding, Track Warning Services, Safety-Critical Resourcing, and Construction and Civils capability at the newly developed Training Induction Area.
‘I’d like to pay tribute to the work of INFRA Skills in delivering the new skilled workforce that we need for the Rail sector. There is going to be a huge opportunity in the Rail industry in the years to come.’
Andrew Stephenson MP
Minister of State, Department of Transport
INFRA Skills focuses on four main areas to support the infrastructure sector: safety-critical training and assessments, apprenticeships, funded learning, and occupational health services. It provides rail training programmes from beginner to advanced levels to the highest standards, having recently retained their prestigious NSAR Gold award.
INFRA Skills is one of only a few organisations in the UK to have received the NSAR GOLD Standard for rail course delivery. This award honours high-quality professional training programmes that have enabled learners to demonstrate staff competency, qualification, and safety in accordance with national standards.
INFRA Skills has a long history of reducing the skills shortage and increasing social mobility through its Local Enterprise Partnerships, which include collaboration with colleges, prisons, charities, ex-military and government departments to assist those with disabilities or individuals struggling to find work by removing the barriers they face.