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HS2 Contractor, Skanska Costain STRABAG joint venture (SCS Railways), has launched a virtual enterprise academy to support small businesses in winning work to build Britain’s new railway.

This is the second time the academy has run and this time, the Virtual Enterprise Academy for SMEs will run from April – June.

The three-month programme has 150 free places available and will upskill businesses, giving SMEs the tools to work on projects like HS2.

Modules will cover topics including HR, health and safety, social value, carbon management innovation, the environment, risk management, finance and commercial awareness.

David Poole, HS2 Ltd’s Procurement and Commercial Director said: “The scale and complexity of HS2 means that we need businesses large and small with a wide range of expertise to work with us. The SCS Railways Enterprise Academy is a great opportunity for SMEs to receive support, prepare to win work and help us deliver this huge project.”

To get involved, businesses need to have a turnover of £1M for 2019/2020, a core business offering that aligns with the construction industry, and must demonstrate why they would like to take part in the Academy.

To date, HS2 Ltd has already awarded around £18Bn worth of contracts directly and a significant proportion of this value is expected to flow out to the wider supply chain. By the end of 2022, it’s estimated this figure will reach around £25bn. Over 2,000 businesses have already won work on the project, 70% of which are SMEs.

Andrew Hazelhurst, Skanska Costain STRABAG Joint Venture’s Head of Procurement and Supply Chain, said: “We’re essentially giving a new crop of businesses the opportunity to learn and upskill, so they’re better positioned to compete and operate in our space. We want to give every company that attends the course the requisite tools that we look for in potential partners.”

Registration for the Virtual Academy closes on Tuesday 6th April.

In order to access and apply for a place, businesses need to register on the CompeteFor portal.

HS2 Ltd and its construction partners also use CompeteFor to advertise all subcontract opportunities and businesses who set up a company profile can receive tailored alerts to opportunities that match their trade. As Britain strives to build back better, businesses of all sizes from across the UK are encouraged to get ‘HS2 ready’.

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