INFRA Skills Listed in Innovation 50 Report

Innovation 50 Report

Mills & Reeve, a Midlands law company, has published a report listing 50 of the region’s most creative businesses as part of its biennial “Innovation 50” campaign, which honours the region’s R&D royalty, industry pioneers, and rising stars.

The report highlights innovative success stories from across the region and features 50 businesses across five categories: Business intelligence and performance; Communication; Development and Inclusivity; Healthier, Safer Lives and Place and Environment.

INFRA Skills and sister company, RSS Infrastructure, are both proudly featured on the list alongside other Midlands based businesses. The companies were among a small minority of infrastructure and training companies that made the cut, due to their innovation and approach to improving safety procedures in one of the most safety-conscious sectors in the UK.

INFRA Skills submitted evidence of their ‘INFRA Card’ system, a QR-based cloud database that allows organizations to assess a worker’s competencies while eliminating plastic waste and the opportunity to falsify credentials.

The company also provided proof of their ‘Journey into Rail’ programme, which was designed to be delivered on a roll-on, roll-off basis during a four-week period. The curriculum includes a variety of learning approaches, such as e-learning and tutor-led delivery from the Birmingham-based Head Office. The fully-funded course includes comprehensive training as well as Network Rail approved D&A and Medical assessment (both required prior to enrolling on the course), Full Rail approved PPE (helmet, gloves, goggles, safety boots, Hi-Vis over trousers, Hi-Vis all-weather jacket, Hi-Vis vest), All Learning Materials, Sentinel Card and Non-Sentinel Competency Certificates/Cards), All Learning Materials, Sentinel Card and Non-Sentinel Competency.

Learners are guaranteed an interview with RSS Infrastructure after successfully completing the course. They also offer a specialised training facility based at Seven Valley Heritage Railway in Bewdley, as well as using existing track infrastructure in the Birmingham area, to allow learners to put their theory into practice. They provide a safe environment in which trainees can learn new skills and ensure that they are “work-ready.” The arrangement in place also aids in the preservation of the 16-mile heritage property, ensuring that it may be enjoyed by future generations.

Because of the success of the aforementioned programme, over 180 people have completed the course and are no longer relying on benefits. They are also contributing to the rail sector’s growth and ensuring that projects are completed on schedule.

RSS Infrastructure’s innovative safety products and procedures have helped them become a multi-award winning business in recent years. In the submission, the company highlighted their industry-first safety procedures like the Driver Awareness Warning System (DAWS), a dash-mounted warning device that alerts drivers of fatigue with its revolutionary retina-based scanning system. 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 the 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 skill set for the task required.

RSS Infrastructure has also created an interactive HSQE Induction that seeks to provide a clear and consistent message while also providing a comprehensive overview of how to develop and maintain safe working practices. Through a series of learner-driven exercises that cover a variety of safety-related topics such as Health, Safety, and the Environment, Legal Responsibility, Moral Obligations, Policies, First Aid, Fire Safety, Drugs & Alcohol, Medication, Risk Management, Fatigue Management, Working Hours, Competence Management, Work Safe Procedure, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), among others.

Following an expert panel’s examination of each company’s submission, a select group of business leaders from across the East and West Midlands picked the final 50 from this year’s applicants, which saw a 10% increase in entries over the initial campaign in 2017. The jury evaluated entries on their originality and impact, with the top 50 businesses earning a place in the report.

Steve Allen, Head of the Birmingham office at Mills & Reeve, said:

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do at Mills & Reeve. From pushing boundaries in our own products and services – earning us a place in the 2019 FT Innovative Lawyers Top 50 and wins at the Legal Week Innovation Awards – to celebrating those that are making waves in their markets, we’re on a mission to encourage and recognise forward-thinking business activity that solves problems.

We launched the Innovation 50 in 2017 to celebrate Midlands businesses at their most enterprising, confident and creative. Two years on, and the buzz around the region has only grown – with the quality of 2019 entries showing that we more than live up to our national reputation. From social enterprise to telecoms and business support to agritech, the 2019 Innovation 50 is leading the way with fresh ideas and standout execution. We’re proud to launch the latest report, and look forward to seeing the journeys that these businesses take in the coming years.”

Richard Toy, CEO also commented:

“We are delighted to be featured in the report, we pride ourselves at being at the forefront of innovative projects that change the approach the infrastructure sector faces. The procedures our in-house team work on help not just our company, but our clients and partners too. We aim to increase safety, productivity and inclusivity, and decrease environmental and traditional problems that the infrastructure sector has been known to have.

We are proud members of the Midland Metro Alliance, Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and have numerous partnerships with Birmingham based universities and businesses, we made our start in Birmingham over 10 years ago with many of our Directors, Department Heads and workforce being based in the Midlands, so we pride ourselves on our name being synonymous with the area’s growth.”

The 2019 Innovation 50 applicants were judged by an expert panel including:

  • Paul Bassi CBE, CEO REI PLC
  • Anita Bhalla OBE, Chair, Performances Birmingham
  • Victoria Copestake, Business Development Manager, Enterprise Loans
  • Andrew Dawson, Director and Co-Founder, Curium Solutions
  • Paul Faulkner, Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
  • James Fry, Partner and Head of Life Sciences, Mills & Reeve
  • Susan Hallam MBE, Founder and CEO, Hallam Internet
  • Mark Hipwell, Pre-Construction Manager, HS2, and GBCC Future Faces President
  • Kath Preston, Enterprise Consultant, Aston University
  • David Varnham, Parker, Banking and Finance, Mills & Reeve
  • Keith Webb, Deputy Regional Manager, Corporate Banking – Midlands Region, HSBC UK
  • Tracy Westall, Executive Chair, Curium Solutions

To view the full 2019 Innovation 50, visit: and to follow and share the campaign on social media @innovation_50 #MRInno50

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