Through a partnership with Birmingham-based SME Legacy Consultants and Aston-based Legacy Centre of Excellence, HS2 is aiming to inspire and empower SMEs and local businesses right across the city.
As part of a pilot initiative, the three organisations teamed up to host workshops for small business owners at the Legacy Centre of Excellence in Aston. The sessions provided coaching and support with tender writing, as well as opportunities to meet with, and learn from, contractors and small businesses already working on HS2.
HS2’s Head of EDI, Mark Lomas said:
“We’re proud of the diversity we have attracted across our supply chain, but we’re not complacent.
“There are thousands of small businesses, particularly in more deprived parts of the city, that need a helping hand to understand how to get ‘HS2-ready’. Through our engagement with community leaders, we’re getting into the heart of those communities and we hope that leads to even more BAME-owned businesses benefitting from this once-in-a-generation project.”
Around 30 local businesses took part in the first three-week programme. Among them was local business owner Taran, who runs a virtual / augmented reality development company in Digbeth. He was aware that HS2 is coming to the city, but didn’t know that he could register an interest in becoming an HS2 supplier.
Taran Singh, Director – Taran 3D:
“I attended all three workshops, and it has really helped me to understand what we need to do as a business to win work on HS2. If major projects like HS2 want to secure more diverse supply chains, then programmes like this are really important.”
349 businesses in the West Midlands have delivered work on HS2 so far, and there are thousands more opportunities to come. Exciting milestones ahead include the launch of the region’s first tunnel boring machine and the construction of its two flagship stations in Birmingham and Solihull, which will support the creation of even more local jobs and new business opportunities.
But HS2’s contract opportunities are extensive and stretch beyond opportunities associated with traditional site-based construction, as HS2’s Senior Business Engagement Manger, Matt Hadlington explains:
“The ripple effect of HS2’s construction can be felt far and wide, and that’s a message we’re keen to spread to local business owners – you don’t have to be a construction company to benefit. There are potential contract opportunities for caterers, accommodation providers, sign writers and digital specialists – and we’re working with community leaders to get that message out there.”
To deliver the business engagement programme, HS2 partnered with Legacy Consultants who specialise in driving diverse recruitment within large organisations. They promoted the sessions to local communities and secured a cohort of businesses who all have the potential to get involved and add value and innovation to the delivery of HS2.
Nathan Dennis, Senior Consultant from Legacy Consultants said:
“We were delighted to partner with HS2 and the Legacy Centre of Excellence to deliver a programme that reached out to businesses within the community.
A Project like HS2 has the potential to have a huge positive impact on people from many different backgrounds, but unless we reach out through programmes like this one, those benefits may not be realised. Feedback we have had from businesses has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to seeing how they use their newfound skills to get involved in projects like HS2”.
For more information about joining HS2’s supply chain and how you can play a role in building Britain’s future, visit hs2.org.uk/building-hs2/suppliers-and-businesses/