The Hinkley Point C power station project has smashed its target of spending £1.5 billion with businesses in the South West, five years ahead of schedule. New figures released in the project’s latest Socio-Economic impact report show that £1.7 billion has now been spent with more than 1,100 companies across the region. The report can be read here.
Somerset has benefited from £368 million of the spend, whilst the Bristol area has seen £448 million. £147 million has been spent in Gloucestershire and £59 million in Devon.
The report shows that:
•640 apprentices have now been recruited so far, from steel fixing and crane operations to commercial management and hospitality• More than 10,000 jobs have been created to support the project so far and it is on track to hit a target of 25,000 by the end of construction
• 11,000 people have been trained and assessed in Somerset at the Construction Skills Centre. New facilities such as a Welding Centre of Excellence are being established to help to overcome nationally significant skills gaps
• Spending across the UK is also increasing as construction progresses – boosting the UK’s industrial capacity and creating new jobs. For example, spending on contracts in the Midlands and across the North of England, for example, has already reached almost £1.1bn.
The target for spending in the South-West was set during the planning of the new nuclear power station in 2012 and was reached early thanks to a continued focus on using local suppliers. Hinkley Point C has worked with organisations like the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, SWMAS and the Local Enterprise Partnerships to help a large variety of local businesses into the supply chain. Firms range from catering and hospitality suppliers to steel fabrication, electrical engineering and logistics specialists.
Hinkley Point C’s Managing Director, Stuart Crooks said: This report charts another year of success for Hinkley Point C in delivering on our ambitious targets for social, economic and environmental benefits. As the country and our region emerge from the current crisis, we will serve as a catalyst for national recovery – both through this project and the follow-on project at Sizewell C.”
Stephen Henagulph, Chief Executive of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “We’re extremely proud to be playing our part in this hugely important infrastructure project and to help secure a legacy for Somerset’s highly-skilled and diverse business community through collaborative working with EDF.
“To have Hinkley Point C on our doorstep is a huge opportunity and to be able to ensure local businesses can prepare for and win contracts for the project has been hugely rewarding for the
Hinkley Supply Chain team, which is overseen by Somerset Chamber.”
Karl Tucker, Chair of the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (HotSW LEP) said: “We welcome the news that the regional investment target for Hinkley Point C has already been beaten. The LEP invested some £30m into training, skills and workforce development to maximise on its economic benefits through projects such as the National College for Nuclear, the Institute of
Technology, the Welding Centre of Excellence and road and rail infrastructure and innovation. With our partners at the West of England LEP we invested £1m in the Hinkley Supply Chain which enables local businesses to secure contracts from its development and operations;
“We’re also one of the major stakeholders in shaping and growing the regional nuclear cluster through Nuclear South West – a partnership between three LEPs, the academic sector and the nuclear industry network – which generates the on-going legacy that Hinkley Point C brings to the wider community.
“We look forward to continuing to work with these partners in the post-COVID-19 climate; in which clean energy will play a significant role in boosting the national economy.”
Cllr. David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure at Somerset County Council, said: “This is a much needed financial boost to our region at what has turned out to be difficult and unprecedented times. I am incredibly proud and impressed at how Somerset businesses have seized the opportunities the HPC construction project has presented – the economic and skills boost to the region is vast and will undoubtedly create an industrial legacy for the region.
“It is extremely promising to see this target being exceeded in such a short time and shows the power and potential of the construction project. I have said it before but it really is the biggest boost
to the economy of the region for a generation and looks set to get even bigger in the years to come.”
Hinkley Point C is providing more than a financial boost with the project’s multi-million pound investment into skills provision and training facilities focused on developing the UK’s wider
engineering and nuclear capability. In collaboration with local and national partners, including colleges and the industry training boards, Hinkley Point C is helping to overcome critical national
skills shortages whilst opening up new, sustainable, career opportunities for people in the South West and throughout the Country.
The collaborative work across the South West has also been a stimulus for additional funding into skills development and training. To date, well over £40 million of additional funding has been
accessed as a direct result of the initial support provided by EDF.
The proposal for a near identical project, Sizewell C in Suffolk, would bring similar UK-wide benefits – not only to the UK supply chain, but also through employment opportunities, skills and training provision, the creation of 1,000 apprenticeships and investment in local infrastructure.
Molly Fox – Health and Safety Apprentice
16 year-old Molly lives in Minehead and recently finished college in Taunton, but was uncertain of what career path to take. In November 2019, Molly started a Health and Safety Apprenticeship at Hinkley Point C.
“When I finished my GSCEs, I was completely stuck on what I wanted to do. My aunt works in health and safety and throughout the summer of 2019 I did a few days’ work with her. I thoroughly enjoyed it and realised soon after that I wanted to pursue a similar job role.
“I decided to take the role here at HPC because it may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve actually been able to pursue the career I wanted to do and I feel as though this would have been a
struggle anywhere else. HPC offered me the job role I exactly wanted to do.”
Tom Keirle – Lifting Apprentice
Twenty-seven-year-old Tom from Bridgwater never thought that he would go from being a shop worker to operating a tower crane. But having pursued a Lifting Technician Apprenticeship with
Bylor, he is now well on his way at HPC.
“This opportunity is something that I never would have dreamt about. I worried that going from my previous job back into an educational environment would be difficult but it’s been great. If there was anyone out there, of any age, who wants to try something new, or go for a complete career change – I would thoroughly recommend going down the apprenticeship route. Being able to say that I was part of one of the biggest construction projects to grace the UK for a generation – that’s something pretty special.”
Mike Morgan Electrical Services and COMA
Using the advice and guidance offered by the Hinkley Supply Chain Team, Mike Morgan Electrical Services combined with two other local companies – Wessex Water and Hydroline Solutions – to form the Construction Operations Management Alliance (COMA). The venture won a major £50 million contract for the maintenance of the construction utilities at HPC.
Mike Morgan, Managing Director at Mike Morgan Electrical Services, said: “HPC has really established us as a company. We’ve grown by 70% a year for the past three years and plan to grow
by 20% year on year for the next three. Our turnover has increased six-fold and we’ve also gone from 12 to 68 people. In turn, this has allowed us to provide a great place for apprentices to learn
their trade – we have 14 in training now.”