Share your story: MRS Training & Rescue – building a sustainable, diverse & progressive culture

Written by Investors In People

Share your story: MRS Training & Rescue – building a sustainable, diverse & progressive culture

In the build-up to The Investors in People Awards 2021, we’ve been speaking to the finalists, asking them to tell us their stories and what winning an award would mean to them.

For over 100 years, MRS Training and Rescue has been in the business of keeping people safe. As a business, they’ve been through the nationalisation of the coal industry in 1947 and the re-privation of the same industry in 1996.

As the remaining large deep mines closed in 2015, the business’s ownership structure was changed, and the business is now effectively operated as a Trust, with each employee being a beneficiary.  

Their goals today remain consistent, and they’re still in the business of ‘keeping people safe’. They continue to offer the largest mines rescue scheme in the UK, supported by an offer of industrial rescue services, consultancy and a comprehensive range of efficient accredited health and safety training, including work at height, first aid and confined space for those engaged in this safety-critical work.

Their people’s skills, knowledge, behaviours, and competence are the business.

Recognising the impact that their people have, and having confidence in them has allowed MRS to set up a works council that has representatives on the Board. They look at the issues that impact them and are empowered to develop solutions that work in the real world.  

They’ve been accredited by Investors in People for 13 years, progressing up the award levels from meeting the standard back in 2009 to the Gold standard today, with most employees agreeing that MRS is a great place to work. Plus, they’ve been shortlisted for two awards this year, which is an amazing achievement.

We spoke to CEO Stuart Hoult about why they entered, what an award would mean for them and what the future holds for MRS:

Why did you enter The Investors in People Awards 2021?

We believe in our company, we believe in what we stand for, and mostly we believe in the people who work here. The Investors in People Awards provide a clear benchmark against the very best performing companies.

Over recent years we have completely changed how we manage our people, encouraging open and transparent communication and empowering and involving all employees. We enabled change by challenging legacy attitudes and beliefs and creating an organisation with a sustainable future, and we were keen to see how our progress compares to other companies.

Are there any goals or challenges you hope an award will help you achieve or solve?

Since those early days, as part of a male-dominated industry, we have come a long way in embracing cultural change and the way we develop employees. From an inward-facing perspective, the award will reinforce that our company is making the right choices, and those choices are delivering long term sustainable benefits for all. 

From an external perspective, an award win will show others the progress we have made and further demonstrate our commitment to providing opportunities for everyone to reach their maximum potential.

Tell us what distinguishes you from other companies in the category you’re shortlisted in.

Learning and Development Award

Our people work in or train people to work in major hazardous environments. These environments can be unforgiving, and our training strategy is at the heart of ensuring that our employees are competent to keep themselves and others safe. 

Training is so integral to developing the knowledge, skills, behaviour, and ultimately the organisation’s culture that our budgeting process allows for 15% non-deployment time per year, equating to an average of 200 internal staff training days per month.

We work hard to identify unique opportunities and support their training and progression within the Company. We openly encourage progression to develop future talent at all levels from within our organisation. We have seen the benefits, and since 2016, there have been 66 internal promotions within the company.

Leadership and Management Award

As an organisation, we strive to give people the opportunity to be their best selves and provide the structure to support that personal development. The type of work we do and the environments in which we operate require that we define leadership in very different ways:

  • Our people in the operational environment are provided with the skills and knowledge to make what could be life and death decisions. Although situational, they are encouraged to take control of situations and provide confidence for customers and colleagues.
  • Our people in management roles are expected to fulfil two main objectives. The first is to support those fulfilling the operational roles, and second, to identify and put in place development plans that grow our teams for future roles.

We lead by example, and our leadership team set the highest of standards through their actions and by challenging and encouraging others. To help train the new generation of trainers, rescue workers and company leaders to keep people safe.

What does being shortlisted mean to everyone at your company?

Our people are our greatest asset and our most significant investment. For us, being shortlisted for two awards reaffirms the dedication and hard work that all colleagues have invested in making MRS Training & Rescue what it is today.

What would it mean to win?

The icing on the cake! 😊

How does being shortlisted benefit your customers?

As an organisation, we challenge ourselves to do better and to be better. All our employees take great pride in the service they give customers and genuinely care about what they do. Our specialist teams build strong customer relationships, ensuring an outstanding service will always be delivered, our standards are met, and our customers’ are exceeded.

How would you use being the recipient of this award to influence others?

Receiving this award means a lot in so many ways. Inside our organisation, it influences our leaders to build on achievements and develop employees to be their best, with the potential to become our future leaders. It also influences our employees to reach for their ambitions, knowing they are fully supported. 

Externally, it demonstrates the quality of our leadership and management, and as such, influences prospective employees when choosing their next employer. Our reputation is dependent on the quality of the employees who deliver our services; we believe that this award will go as far as to influence our customers in their choice of provider.

What can we expect to see from your organisation in the next 12 months? (And beyond!)

Our vision drives what we do, and this can be split into two distinct objectives:

1. We will work to positively influence the safety performance of the businesses we work with.

2. We will grow our business in a way that provides sustainable long-term benefits to our employees while working with clients to ensure that they will always be ’safe in our hands’.

We are now in a position where we can shape our future by increasing our portfolio of services, all by focussing on the quality of our people. So, over the next twelve months, we will be underpinning our vision and values by:

  • Expanding the national network, opening our eighth site and the second new site since 2016. Allowing us to grow bigger and deliver more.
  • We will expand the specialist rescue services, allowing the business to operate safely in confined and diverse environments.
  • Look at product innovation and consider how we can reduce the risks by using new technologies.

Delivering on our vision and values and ultimately the success of MRS in delivering its ambitions, is dependent on the talents and efforts of all our employees, led by the commitment, inspiration and flexible ‘can do’ approach of the leadership team.

As a people-based business, we can only achieve growth by getting our learning and development strategy right and capitalising on our knowledge.

What advice would you give to anyone applying for The Investors in People Awards 2022?

Do it! But make sure you read the top tips beforehand and answer the questions asked. You should also recognise that the awards only have value if you are prepared to embrace what they mean and understand what investing in people means to your organisation.

Read more of our finalist’s stories on our Awards page.

About Investors in People

Investors in People have been working with a huge range of big and small organisations from Public Sectors, SMEs, Charities, PLCs and anything in between for over 30 years. We have accredited more than 50,000 organisations and our  accreditation is recognised in 66 countries around the world, making it the global benchmark when it comes to people management. So we know we speak your language and can offer the specific kind of support and guidance your organisation needs.

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14th Nov 2023 | Old Billingsgate, London



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