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East Midlands Chamber News

East Midlands businesses urged to get 'Fit4HS2' in new webinar series for supply chain readiness

A new programme of practical online workshops aims to equip small businesses in the East Midlands with the tools they need to compete for supply chain contracts in HS2 and other major infrastructure projects.

The “Fit4HS2” sessions have been developed in line with the Government’s HS2 supplier guide and will cover elements such as supply chain opportunity details; best practice in tendering; equality, diversity and inclusion; environmental policies; and skills, education and employment development.

East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) will host the webinars in partnership with Leicestershire County Council and the Leicester and Leicestershire Business Gateway Growth Hub.

While they are designed with projects relating to HS2 in mind, they will also provide businesses with the practical information that can be applied to other large infrastructure schemes and the corresponding supply chain opportunities.

This will be important for many SMEs in the supply chain after the Government announced a £900m Getting Building Fund for investing in shovel-ready infrastructure schemes across the UK.

Ian Bates, sector forum and representation manager at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Many companies are eagerly searching for new business opportunities right now so it’s the perfect time to ensure they are demonstrating best practice in order to win supply chain contracts.

“Being ‘supply chain fit’ as a result of having the desired policies and practices in place isn’t just vital for those wanting to work on HS2, but it will put them in prime position to take advantage of other key infrastructure projects.

“The Government has clearly identified construction as a key driver of economic recovery via its ‘Build, Build, Build’ narrative and the Getting Building Fund strategy.

“Almost £65m of public money is being pumped into the East Midlands under the Getting Building Fund alone across 14 projects, so there will be ample opportunities for businesses in the supply chain over the coming years.”

What will the Fit4HS2 sessions cover?

Delivered online by supply chain experts and representatives from HS2 Ltd, the Fit4HS2 workshops will be practical sessions providing delegates with the opportunity to ask questions and offer takeaway leanings that can be applied to businesses.

They are free and open to all companies looking for business development opportunities in the supply chain for HS2 and other infrastructure projects.

Councillor Blake Pain, Leicestershire County Council’s deputy leader, said: “We fully support the planned workshops as it provides another opportunity for businesses to make the most out of the HS2 scheme. This is a huge project and there are opportunities for businesses to bounce back and explore new opportunities across a range of goods and services.

“We want the local workforce to benefit from HS2 and these workshops will equip businesses with the skills and knowledge they need to potentially secure involvement in HS2, as well as being fit for the future around other large-scale infrastructure projects. I’d encourage all businesses to harness the learning on offer and book on to a webinar.”

Neil McGhee, chairman of the Business Gateway Growth Hub Board, said: "As the Growth Hub for Leicester and Leicestershire, our role is to support businesses to take advantage of opportunities to grow. 

“The Government plans to bring forward large infrastructure investment following the recent announcement of the Getting Building Fund, so this is the perfect time for businesses to get ready to take advantage of any supply chain opportunities and public sector contracts in our region, including those from HS2.

"HS2 is a massive transport project that brings multiple opportunities for local businesses to win contracts and supply a whole host of goods and services, from landscaping and building materials to telecoms, photography and occupational health practitioners.

“I am delighted that we are offering these webinars so that businesses can understand the opportunities available and how to prepare in order to submit a strong bid to win the business.

"If your business is looking for new opportunities to grow, please do book on to one of the webinars to find out more."

When are the Fit4HS2 sessions?

Four free sessions are now open for booking, with more to be announced in the very near future:

(21 October, 10-11am)