EDF Energy Somerset Chamber of Commerce SWMAS Business West
  1. Turquoise Thinking Wins Market Research Contract at HPC

    February 11, 2019

    Turquoise Thinking, a Barnstaple, Devon based Market Research firm have been selected by Hinkley Point C (HPC) to run their twice a year site-based Workforce Survey. Some of the information necessary to do this is easily accessible within IT systems, but other data, such as the type of accommodation people working at site temporarily live in, can only be collected by asking people.

    The survey has been running since December 2016 and previously utilised different companies that HPC worked with to do the various tasks that it involves; designing the questions, running the software, conducting the survey face-to-face at HPC analysing the results and then producing the reports before presenting them to the management team.

    Barry Horgan who co-ordinated the tender said: “We realised that it was time to bring these disparate activities under one supplier, to give a more seamless service.

    “The companies involved before were all experts in their field, but none were true market research firms and so we were looking to partner with someone to help better understand what the survey results were telling us.”

    Over 1,400 people responded to the last survey in May 2018; the results of which gave EDF valuable information on the types of accommodation people are living in, as well as providing information on bus usage that had led to the altering of timetables to better suit the travel patterns of the workforce.

    Theresa Bryant, Resource Planning Manager for HPC was very pleased that firms from Devon, Bristol and Bath were tendering alongside a global firm based in London. She explained: “Like our other locally based partners across the Project, this really shows that there is huge talent and expertise in the South West that is ready and able to provide a high quality service to the HPC Project.”

    She added: “All of the bids were of a high quality and we were impressed with the innovative ideas and approaches that were suggested, particularly by Turquoise Thinking whose proposal offered the best value to the project.”

    The joint Managing Directors of Turquoise Thinking, Mark Harvey and Lisa Ollerenshaw said: “Turquoise are delighted to have been selected to partner with Hinkley Point C to conduct their regular workforce survey. This type of world-class project rarely lands on our Devon doorstep, so we count it a real privilege to play a small role in such a gargantuan undertaking over the coming years. Our analysis will deliver the insight required to ensure a happy and productive workforce as they deliver low-carbon electricity and lasting benefits to businesses and communities in the South West.”

    Guy Hazlehurst, Construction Workforce Development Manager, believes that long-term collaboration with a firm like Turquoise will be good for HPC. He says: “We are required to produce reports during the life of the construction project, so we are looking forward to the relationship developing between the first survey and reports we work together on in November 2018, right through to the last one before Unit 2 goes live.

    David Eccles, Head of HPC Stakeholder Engagement says: “The team will be using a range of innovative methods to get maximum response rate from a very busy workforce, such as kiosk tablets in public areas and giving people the option to complete the survey in a wider variety of locations, perhaps including at ‘Toolbox Talks’ which take place every day on Site. It only takes a few minutes and gives us vital information on the living and travel patterns of the workforce along with suggestions on how we can improve working conditions at HPC.”

  2. South Wales Company wins contract ensuring stability and a platform for future growth

    February 11, 2019

    Based in Bridgend, Vessco Engineering are a Tier 2 supplier that has won the contract to manufacture two large pressure vessels for Tier 1 contractor GE Power Systems, who are supplying the two turbine islands for Hinkley Point C power generation.

    Due to their size, these pressure vessels are thought to be the largest that have been made in the area for many decades. When asked what the contract win means to Vessco, Managing Director Julian Vance-Daniel said: “It means stability for 4 to 5 years as an absolute minimum. We also expect it to be the platform for our future growth in the nuclear industry and it will help us to grow in other industries as well.” He expects their customers in the oil and gas industry will notice their achievements and he feels it will place the company in a good position for many years to come.

    “The rewards for Vessco are potentially huge, running into many, many millions of pounds. We will double or treble in size as a result of our work in the nuclear business. The HPC project is vast – £20 billion worth and whilst the spend to date is considerable, they still have 3/4 left to spend,” continued Mr. Vance-Daniel.

    He stated that there are lots of opportunities for SME’S throughout the region but he stressed the need for businesses to understand the culture of the nuclear industry and to take professional advice. “There are many organisations out there who will help. We have had help from Fit For Nuclear, the Welsh Government and also from the HPC Supply Chain Team,” he explained.

    Approximately 8 years ago when the UK was looking at the need for nuclear generation, Vessco identified the requirement for pressure vessels and pressure equipment in the nuclear industry and the company decided to look for new business opportunities in that sector.

    “We were a very small business and the companies we were approaching at the time were amongst some of the biggest companies in the world. Because we had considered the market early on; we were able to slowly get things ready for entry into the nuclear market. EDF, the Hinkley Supply Chain team and GE were very well advanced in their preparations,” explained Mr Vance-Daniel.

    Vessco also involved with The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) in Sheffield and the Hinkley Supply Chain Team. “We listened to what they had to say and we made the improvements they suggested,” said Mr Vance-Daniel.

    Nick Golding, Programme Lead, Hinkley Supply Chain Programme said: “They’ve put in the hard work and look at what their rewards are. It’s a long-term contract which is giving them stability for over 5 years. Winning this contact puts them in a great position to capitalise not just on the HPC project but also other nuclear projects across the UK.  All companies should be looking at Vessco and should try to follow their example.”


  3. Flamgard see nuclear new build as an opportunity for strategic growth

    December 12, 2018

    Founded in1981 and based in South Wales, Flamgard specialise in fire and gas protection for high integrity industries, mainly nuclear, oil and gas. Moving into the nuclear new build industry was a natural progression for the company who saw a clear opportunity for strategic growth in the future.

    Shuresh Maran, Business Development Director, Flamgard Calidair said: “We already had a lot of work in the nuclear decommissioning sector so moving into new build was again a natural progression. The nuclear new build sector is a lot larger compared to decommissioning. When you look at nuclear new build, you have to adhere to the latest standards required in nuclear decommissioning.”

    Due to the nuclear decommissioning work they have already undertaken, Flamgard had their documentation and quality processes in place. The next step was to secure funding for their product research. As they had already passed the performance criteria required, they looked for funding assistance from the Welsh Government, which resulted in a collaboration with Swansea University through the Astute Programme, designed to stimulate growth in the manufacturing sector across Wales.

    Offering advice to other companies who are considering moving into the nuclear sector, Lee Bramald, CEO, Flamguard Calidair said:”We recommend going for it as there are some huge projects coming up in the nuclear new build sector and there are a lot of companies in the local area who, if they stick to their guns and push it, can win some amazing contracts.”

    Flamgard have recognised the opportunities at Hinkley Point C and are looking to win their first contract, in the knowledge that they will then have a far greater chance to secure further work on other nuclear projects.

    “It is a catalyst for the future, not just for the nuclear markets but for all our markets, to really push for innovation. We have always been a forward-thinking company. This has given us extra inspiration to push the boundaries of our technology.” Lee added.

    Shuresh suggested the first point of call is the Hinkley Supply Chain Team who he said can then point companies in the right direction for assistance with funding, research and product development. Referring to Flamgard’s journey he added;”This is your flagship project – all the quality and engineering experience you gain trickles down to everything that you do and it changes the culture of your business when you put safety and quality right at the very top.”

    Nick Golding, Programme Lead, Hinkley Supply Chain Programme said: “Flamgard are one of the few companies who have already started this journey. They recognised very early on the challenges that they faced. They have brought in skilled staff, resourced this appropriately and have shown drive and determination as well as positivity, in line with the HPC Project values, to try to access these opportunities and show themselves as a benchmark for other companies in the region.”

    To find out more about Flamgard, click here

  4. Determination and perseverance are the key

    December 12, 2018

    When the directors at Bridgwater-based Aspen Services first heard about the scale and complexity of contracts at Hinkley Point C (HPC) they were initially sceptical about the scale of opportunities that could be available to local businesses.

    With the help and support of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce and the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Supply Chain Team, they are now reaping the rewards.

    Founded in 2001, Aspen Services is a specialist when it comes to commercial catering facilities, delivering top level design, installation and ongoing repair and maintenance to a wide range of customers including educational establishments and leisure outlets such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.

    “We serve anywhere that has a commercial kitchen or catering operation,” says Gary Druitt, Director and Project Manager at Aspen Services.

    The company currently employs 28 people, with 10 vans out on the road carrying out repairs and maintenance. Although based here in the South West, it is very much a nationally-focused business, with household-name clients throughout the UK such as supermarket chain Lidl.

    Gary continues: “We’ve also just finished a project for the MOD at RAF Lyneham and have an excellent reputation for looking after customers of all shapes and sizes.”

    Five years ago, Aspen’s management attended its very first HPC supply chain meeting in Minehead and around the same time joined the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.

    “It was all part of our statement of intent that not only were we committed to supporting the HPC project, but also a demonstration that we were ready to do whatever was required to start bidding for the work packages,” says Gary.

    “In truth, we were sceptical at the beginning as we thought the work would go to much larger companies rather than local people. But we could see the opportunities so we reached out to find out more.

    “It was the beginning of a very long, but very rewarding, journey,” he adds.

    Because of the nature of its work, Aspen has always been thorough when it comes to health and safety but for a contract at HPC it had to undergo many more processes in order to gain the necessary accreditations, including ConstructionLine, Exor and CQMS Safety-Scheme.

    “I can’t tell you how many meetings, seminars and networking events we went to,” continues Gary. “It was a long, hard slog, but we were learning every step of the way and through the Supply Chain Team we were making all sorts of new connections to the project until, finally, we were in a position to go for some of the work packages.”

    In the last two years Aspen Services has won no fewer than three contracts:

    • Central Production Kitchen – supply and installation of catering equipment in new facility at Junction 24
    • Supply and installation of catering equipment for the coffee shops in East West and North Buildings on HPC
    • Maintenance contract for the catering equipment at Hinkley Campus (at HPC) and Sedgemoor Campus (in Bridgwater)

    Gary says: “It goes to show how determination and perseverance are the key to success with HPC. My advice is to network as much as possible and look to the Supply Chain Team for help and guidance.”

    Today, the after effects of the work Aspen has won at HPC extends beyond the construction project itself. Aspen’s achievements are benefitting the company’s business development activities outside of Hinkley and into other markets.

    “We’ve definitely moved up significantly in terms of the value of projects we can now confidently bid for,” Gary says.

    “We’re very proud of what we have achieved in the last five years and now, thanks to HPC, we’re ready to take our business to new heights.”

    To find out more about Aspen Services click here

  5. An amazing insight into the companies supplying HPC

    November 7, 2018

    Today as much as 50 per cent of North Somerset public relations and communications specialist ORION PR’s revenue comes from HPC-related work.

    It started in 2015 when ORION director Louie Hadley registered to receive bulletins about the HPC project and to find out about the work packages available.

    “I immediately signed up to the online portal to list my key services,” he says. “After that I familiarised myself with the project and read as much as I could about how to try to win work there.”

    Established five years ago, ORION PR works with local and national organisations, creating bespoke editorial content for use across their

    marketing activities as well as helping clients win industry awards and valuable media coverage.

    A year on from registering on the portal the Hinkley Supply Chain Team itself contacted Louie and asked if he would quote for ongoing copywriting projects that demonstrated how local companies were winning work with HPC as well as targeting regional businesses that had yet to sign up.

    “It was a huge boost to know that not only were my details being accessed from the database, but that smaller businesses could indeed win work connected to such a mammoth project” he says.

    Since then Louie has interviewed and photographed dozens of South West business owners, learning about their success stories when it comes to supplying HPC and writing those up as case studies for use across the Supply Chain Team’s marketing activities both online and off.

    “It’s been a fascinating experience,” he says. “I’ve met so many people across so many sectors, it’s given me an amazing insight into the diverse range of businesses that are now supplying HPC and the hard work and sacrifices they’ve gone through to do so.”

    The experience has also opened doors for further HPC-connected work, as well as expanding ORION’s business network contacts right across the South West, so much so that almost half of the business’s revenue is linked to the project.

    “Like many business owners based close to Bridgwater I had been watching developments at Hinkley with interest but never really thought it would lead to any opportunities,” he continues.

    “I’m delighted to have been proved wrong and would encourage others to thoroughly research the project and find out about the kind of work being carried out there.”

    He added: “The work won’t come quickly or easily, but there is lots of support to help you position yourself to be ready and capable of grabbing that opportunity when it arises.”


    For more information about Orion PR click here


    • The Hinkley Supply Chain Programme

      The Hinkley Supply Chain Programme is a funded support programme developed to help South West and South Wales based SME’s (small/medium enterprises) who wish to target upcoming Hinkley Point C (HPC) opportunities. The Heart of the South West and West of England Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and the Welsh Government Read more →

    • The South West Hinkley Supply Chain Team

      EDF Energy continue to fund the Hinkley Supply Chain Team managed by Somerset Chamber of Commerce which is identified as the single point of contact for both the regional supply chain seeking contract opportunities and main contractors seeking capable suppliers. Some 4000+  suppliers are registered on the portal with their Read more →

EDF Energy Heart of SW West of England LEP North Somerset Welsh Government