Two South West LEPs: The Heart of the South West (HotSW) and West of England (WoE) have launched a new business support service to enable small and medium-sized businesses take up the multiple supply chain opportunities from EDF’s new build of two nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point C. The service contract allocated £1million, jointly funded by the two LEPs, over a three year period.
It’s widely recognised that the economic opportunities created by Hinkley are vast, and this new service is here to make sure that local businesses are equipped to take advantage of these commercial contracts.
The LEPs have commissioned a consortium led by SWMAS Ltd working with the Somerset Chamber and Business West, and managed by the Economic Development Team at Somerset County Council.
It’s part of the Nuclear South West (NSW) partnership which brings together the nuclear industry, LEPs, the education sector, local authorities and business support agencies. Nuclear South West aims to capitalise on the south west’s unparalleled strength and potential in the global nuclear industry.
The contract includes a Nuclear South West Inward Investment Service, which will work with firms from out of the region who are working in the nuclear market to integrate into the local economy, stimulating employment and collaborating with local businesses.
The SME Business Support Service will build on the work of Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Hinkley Supply Chain Team by focusing more resources on encouraging businesses to register as potential suppliers; working with EDF and their larger suppliers to release information on opportunities and matching this with local firms. The team will also support businesses at all levels of the Hinkley supply chain to help them develop their capability and capacity to supply the nuclear industry.
The two new services are part of the wider Hinkley Supply Chain Programme which already includes the Somerset Energy Innovation Centre and Private Sector support from the EDF Energy sponsored Hinkley Supply Chain Team.
Matt Burley, Chair of the Nuclear South West Partnership said:
“Nuclear South West is delighted to support this great and unique initiative. With this contract, HPC can develop a positive supply chain legacy far beyond the front end build timeline by investing in and supporting businesses as they access the breadth of opportunities afforded by HPC and ultimately become more competitive as a result.
“The award reflects the dedication and commitment of organisations such as SWMAS, Business West, Heart of the South West LEP, West of England LEP, the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and of course the team at Hinkley Supply Chain. The efforts of these organisations so far have helped HPC to award contracts worth over £470M to local businesses, generating over 700 jobs in the process. NSW is proud to be associated with this great work and we hope that by demonstrating the benefit of such supply chain stimulation, we can extend the interest and engagement to other, adjacent regions.”
Steve Hindley CBE DL, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership said:
“Evidence has shown that there is a compelling case for giving businesses the support they need to enable them to take up the immense opportunities presented by the largest engineering project in Europe. Businesses need advice on skills training, design, and a whole host of quality control measures required to work for the high value nuclear industry, and we’re committed to putting the services in place to ensure south west businesses can take up the challenge.
“We are very pleased that this collaboration with our neighbouring LEP in West of England means we can add value to the service, and I urge any business to register at the Hinkley Supply Chain and benefit from potentially a wealth of commercial opportunities.”
Patricia Greer, Interim Chief Executive of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said:
“The Hinkley Supply Chain Programme will help local companies to realise the tremendous opportunity that Hinkley offers for growth. It will help businesses to find out how they can access the many Hinkley related opportunities, and equip them for longer term success in the nuclear sector.”
Councillor David Hall, Somerset County Council Cabinet member for Resources and Economic Development, said: “Businesses of this size are the heartbeat of our economy and the Hinkley development is massive opportunity for them.
“It’s a huge project and obviously you don’t have to be in the nuclear industry to benefit. This new service will help more and more businesses get on board, bolstering the considerable work already underway through the Hinkley Supply Chain Programme which includes our Somerset Energy Innovation Centre.
“I’d encourage any business owner to consider what Hinkley could mean for them.”
Simon Howes, Managing Director of SWMAS Ltd said:
“We are delighted to be part of the consortium selected to deliver these important enhancements to the local supply chain engagement services we are already delivering with our partners at Somerset Chamber of Commerce and Business West. This means that businesses already engaged or wishing to engage in the Hinkley Point C project and other nuclear related opportunities in the South West will have one place to go to find out about opportunities and to get tailored support help them make the most of this once in a generation opportunity”.
“This service will support businesses to win contracts which will create and protect jobs, improve productivity and promote long-term structural change in the local economy.”
Businesses wishing to find out more about the Hinkley Supply Chain programme should contact the Hinkley Supply Chain team on 01823 443425 or by visiting: www.hinkleysupplychain.co.uk