More than 80 North East businesses are on track to take advantage of the country’s biggest investment in national railways since the Victorian era.
They were among those attending an HS2 Supply Chain event in Sunderland, organised by the Supply Chain North East programme with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Supply Chain North East is working with HS2 Ltd, the company tasked with building the new railway, to ensure that business in the region can win contracts and opportunities to work on the project. Construction of HS2 Phase One between Birmingham and London is well underway. Around 2,000 companies have supported HS2, with 70% of contracts going to SMEs, supporting jobs and apprenticeships across the country. The project currently supports 9,000 jobs across Britain, with UK-based companies forming 99% of our supply chain.
Hundreds of Northern businesses have already won work, and opportunities for local firms to get involved will increase as the project progresses. Businesses of all sizes can win contracts through the HS2 supply chain and not just those traditionally aligned to the rail industry. Opportunities exist for those involved in archaeology, design, planning and security to name but a few.
When construction peaks, HS2 will need an estimated 30,000 people to design and build the full network, which will extend northwards to Manchester and Leeds with trains continuing up the East Coast Main Line to serve Darlington, Durham and Newcastle. This will improve journey times, create jobs and boost economic growth for the region. Together, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail will enable faster and more frequent journeys across the North.
Programme Manager of Supply Chain North East, Alan Whittaker commented:
“We were delighted to welcome HS2 supply chain team to the region to learn more about opportunities.
“Over 20 businesses in the North East have already delivered work to help build HS2, including SMEs. The event allowed companies to understand project time frames, how to engage with HS2 and tips on procurement.
“Also, in attendance was a local based SME which is supplying to HS2, a Senior Policy Advisor for rail from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and two local businesses which are supplying products and services to the rail sector in general.”
Robin Lapish, HS2 Ltd Supply Chain Manager said:
“We work closely with the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and welcomed the opportunity to engage with local businesses. We will need companies of all sizes to fill our order book and build Britain’s new railway. HS2 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to rebalance Britain and we look forward to working with more companies in the North East as work progresses.”
Supply Chain North East works with SMEs region tap into new markets, explore new opportunities, and ultimately futureproof their bread and butter should challenging times arrive and is partnership including RTC North, North East Automotive Alliance (NEAA), Generator, North East of England Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC), and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
Supply Chain North East is a multimillion programme aimed at revolutionising the way SMEs diversify their offering and embrace new markets. The programme has received more than £3m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund, which is part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
Local businesses that want to find out more about HS2 supply chain opportunities can visit www.hs2.org.uk/supply-chain.