Scottish firms offered inside track on how to bid for £10bn HS2 contracts

26J-HIGH SPEED RAIL LINKA conference is being held in Edinburgh today will offer the opportunity for Scottish businesses large and small to compete for over £10 billion worth of contracts on offer with the HS2 project.

The event will help companies become HS2 ready and provide specific technical information on how to compete for the contracts, including design and construction plus a wide range of other services such as signalling and telecommunications.

So far, over 160 businesses have signed up to attend the conference that will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Scotland’s engineering industry will be ideally positioned to take advantage of the construction phase of the project when it commences in 2017.

HS2 Ltd chief executive, Simon Kirby, will be speaking at the event.

He said: “Britain’s high speed rail network is a major, long-term project offering a huge opportunity for Scottish companies to develop the necessary staff and skills base that will position them to bid for the billions of pounds worth of contracts available throughout the supply chain during construction.

“To deliver a project of HS2’s scale and complexity requires the right companies with the right skills. I’m extremely pleased that so many firms across Scotland have signed up to find out more about how they can benefit from this huge UK infrastructure investment.”

UK transport minister for HS2, Robert Goodwill, will also be attending the event.

He said HS2 provided a “fantastic opportunity” for Scottish companies, as it will create “some of the largest value contracts” in the history of construction in the UK, providing job opportunities across the supply chain.

Mr Goodwill added: “With billions of pounds worth of contracts on the table, we hope Scottish businesses will take full advantage of this event, which will set out how firms can compete for work on this vital infrastructure project.”

Keith Brown, cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment and cities, will present his vision of a high speed rail line for Scotland, built by and boosting Scottish industry.

Addressing the conference, Mr Brown will highlight the opportunities that the construction of a high speed line to Scotland and the North of England would bring to business in Scotland.

The speech comes ahead of the delivery of a study, commissioned by Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport, which will supply details on potential route options to Scotland at the end of this year.

Mr Brown said: “Scotland has a reputation for excelling in the delivery of major infrastructure projects and I want to see our businesses and workforce realise the full benefits that HS2 can bring to Scotland. We have the ambition and opportunity to see Scotland benefit from HS2.

“Our record in delivery speaks for itself with major projects such as the Borders Railway, the longest stretch of new railway line to be built in the UK in over 100 years, alongside massive engineering investments such as the Queensferry Crossing, AWPR and A9 dualling, representing some of the biggest and most significant transport infrastructure projects anywhere in Europe.

“The construction of these has given a huge boost to the local and national economy and has seen Scottish firms benefit from contracts and subcontracts.

“Not only are the effective transport connections that a high speed rail network entails vital in ensuring that our businesses are able to compete and grow, but Scotland’s world class supply chain can also play a key role in delivering this project, building skills, capability and jobs for the next generation.

“Part of my commitment to seeing the construction of a high speed rail link to Scotland will be the input of the Scottish supply chain, including architects, project managers and engineers. Not only is it vital that we take advantage of the wealth of talent and skills we have at our disposal now, but that we can also use this opportunity to secure them for future generations.

“Scotland has the skill set and the experience to deliver high speed rail and I am committed to seeing our industry and engineers at the heart of a high speed rail network built in Scotland to serve Scotland.”

Bryan Buchan, CEO of Scottish Engineering, the support group for the engineering industry in Scotland who is attending the conference, added: “Scotland’s strong engineering base, particularly the specialist metal machining sector, puts a large number of Scottish companies in a position to contribute to the supply chain for HS2. Two major players in Scotland, Progress Rail and Network Engineering (part of Babcock International), for example already have specific expertise in railway construction and servicing. The precision machine houses that support the oil and gas industry can also bring the expertise needed to deliver this major engineering project.”

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