ALMOST £650 million of contracts for the Hinkley Point C project has already been awarded to South West businesses thanks to a pioneering partnership between developer EDF Energy and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.
EDF Energy, which is building the first new nuclear power station in a generation near Bridgwater in Somerset, has been actively encouraging regional firms to join the Hinkley Point C supply chain through its link with the Chamber.
The venture has seen around 4,000 South West businesses already register on a dedicated regional supplier database.
Key to its success has been EDF Energy’s decision to work with local and regional businesses, encouraging them to work collaboratively to bid for big contracts, rather than just approaching national companies to take on some of the project’s most important jobs.
In doing so, the project is giving a decade-long commitment to supply chain partners, helping them to grow in the long run and take a share of the £200 million a year which will be put in to the regional economy during core construction.
Hundreds of new jobs have already been created by South West supply chain members as a direct result of their involvement with the project.
And as one of the largest construction schemes ever to be built in the UK, Hinkley Point C requires a highly skilled and competent workforce – not just engineers and construction workers, but also steel fixers, bus drivers, caterers and administrators, plus a whole host of other jobs.
The project is helping to revitalise the UK’s construction industry and beyond, upskilling the workforce and providing apprenticeships and training for people of all ages across a diverse range of roles.
The aim is to create 1,000 apprenticeship opportunities, with the majority provided through the project’s contract partners.
EDF Energy has already invested more than £15 million into the local area to improve education, training and skills provision, including the creation of a Construction Skills and Innovation Centre at Bridgwater and Taunton College’s campus at Cannington.
Providing realistic working environments, the Centre enables trainees to experience the actual skills, behaviours, culture and working conditions that will enable them to work safely at Hinkley Point C, which is just five miles from the college.
More information about the opportunities available at Hinkley Point C can be found on the website: www.edfenergy.com/hpc