Manufacturers offered support bidding for HS2 contracts

Manufacturers in the West Midlands are being urged to capitalise on the billions of pounds worth of contracts being offered as part of the development of the HS2 high speed rail network.

Royal Assent for Phase One of the line’s construction between London and Birmingham was granted earlier this year and work on the £56bn project is expected to start later this year.

The West Midlands Manufacturing Club (WMMC), part of the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centres, said this presented regional manufacturers with an unprecedented supply chain opportunity.

To help firms secure contract, the WMMC has launched a pilot rail tender supplier readiness programme.

‘Get On Track’, as the programme is dubbed, is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The pilot scheme aims to help businesses capitalise on the bid and tender opportunities arising from HS2 and other public procurement.

It is intended to give SMEs a clearer understanding of the opportunities available, improving their knowledge of the tendering process; from how to access live tenders through to the documentation and evidence required and will help transform their tender writing skills to increase success rates.

The pilot programme will consist of three, one-day classroom-based workshops, live webinars and dedicated 1-2-1 telephone support. It will be delivered by rail tender specialist, Thornton & Lowe.

Rebecca Macdonald, Business Development Manager for the WMMC, said “Located at the heart of the HS2 network, the spotlight will inevitably be on manufacturers from the region. But we recognise some may not be at ease with formal tender processes.

“The common misconception is that HS2 is only open to major players.  ‘Get On Track’ has been specifically designed to make the opportunity more accessible to Midlands SMEs; equipping them with the know-how and more importantly the confidence to tap into the wealth of opportunities HS2 can present for them too.”

WMMC is looking for 10 SMEs to participate in the pilot on selected dates during August and September, with the full programme expected to cost up to £3,000 when it officially launches in November this year.

Each pilot company will receive two free places, with at least one of those delegates being the employee who will be or is responsible for tendering within the business.

The sessions will take place on: August 24, 31 and September 7.

Interested firms have been told to email: