The businesses attended a series of virtual events run by Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and Sizewell C in January and early February to hear how they can get ready for the contracts the project will need delivered. The webinars were designed to span the entire supply chain, from civil works and construction, through to catering, electrical installation and professional services.
Sizewell C will contribute £1.5 billion to the regional economy during construction and a further £3 billion during the lifespan of the plant. More than 40,000 person years of employment will be created along with 1,500 apprenticeships, ensuring that young people will have the opportunity to be fully engaged with the project.
Steve Carroll, senior supply chain lead at Sizewell C was joined by colleague Joe Butler, finance and project analysts, in presenting the webinars, which were hosted by Gareth Davies, head of supply chain engagement at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
Mr Carroll told attendees: “Sizewell C is committed to engaging local companies to deliver this project, what we need to do now is to understand where the opportunities for you all to get involved lie, and to start having conversations about working together to make sure our legacy is to the benefit of the local economy.”
Mr Carroll also said that targets set for local spend at Sizewell’s sister project Hinkley Point C in Somerset had already been met, and that he intended to improve on those figures in Suffolk.
“Hinkley Point C has gone over and above its commitment to the local economy and to date has spent £2.7 billion with South West suppliers. Our vision is one of intelligent replication – we acknowledge the lessons learnt in Somerset, and the way they have achieved those targets, and replicate the model here in Suffolk, with the aim of doing even better.
“Beyond that, we are working with our Tier 1 contractors at Hinkley and encouraging them to become mentors to smaller companies from the eastern region wishing to win work at Sizewell.
“Through the Development Consent Order, we have made the commitment to put £125m into the Suffolk economy every year during construction. Suffolk businesses and our county’s young people have a lot to gain from Sizewell C and the success of the project will be measured by how well we deliver for the local community.”
Among the delegates was Charlie Gauvain, managing director of Eye Film, which produces promotional films and documentaries. He said: “We've always wanted to follow stories and Sizewell C and all those involved are a great story waiting to be told - we hope we can be involved in that process.”
Rob Smith, business development manager at Norwich-based Crowland Cranes, said he found the event “informative and inspirational”.
“As new members of Suffolk Chamber, we are very grateful for the opportunity to share in the future growth and prosperity throughout the area,” he said.
Gareth Davies, head of supply chain engagement at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said support for the virtual events showed a real appetite for local companies to engage with Sizewell C.
He said: “We were delighted that so many businesses from across the diverse range of capabilities that we have in Suffolk and across the region attended. It is a real demonstration of the support for the project and recognition of the significant role that both Sizewell C and local and regional businesses will play in the post-pandemic economic recovery.
“As the project matures, we will deliver more events in the coming months, including ‘Meet the Buyer’ and other networking opportunities so that we can come together and work collaboratively to deliver this significant project and maximise the opportunities it offers.”
Mr Davies added that in order to build on the facilitative role the Chamber is playing, he is recruiting more staff to his team, to offer local businesses more support in tendering, achieving the necessary accreditation and making sure they are fully aligned to work on the project.
“Sizewell C continues to demonstrate a positive commitment to jobs in the local economy and as a result, the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Supply Chain Engagement Team will bolster its ranks with the addition of two supply chain managers, increasing not only our capability but also our capacity to continue to engage across the regional business landscape,” he added.
Local companies interested in becoming involved in the project should register their interest at www.sizewellcsupplychain.co.uk
Businesses already registered are encouraged to login regularly for updates on the project, work packages, future events and to check that their contact details are up to date.