I was delighted to be part of the launch of Connect at Innovation Birmingham this week.
Connect is an alliance formed as a direct response to the opportunities and challenges set out by HS2 limited. As part of the board of directors, we are collaborating to deliver the best solutions for the project.
The HS2 vision is to enable the UK to deliver a world class transport system. It will deliver a legacy of a world class construction and infrastructure sector and highly skilled people.
The alliance is a collaborative group of world class leaders in their field. They deliver traditionally distinct services such as plant, equipment, labour, training and operated and non-operated plant. We are all committed to working together to drive forward safety and wellbeing, innovation, sustainability, technology, equality, diversity and inclusion, community engagement and skills development. As an alliance we already have over 600 apprentices between us. We aim to bring together our enthusiasm, passion and know-how with other like-minded companies through our Connect community.
As part of the labour solution, VGC is working in partnership with Fortel and Morsons to create value within our service offering. We will help to deliver the HS2 vision through practical and sustainable solutions. We will
- support the delivery of the project
- provide access to skilled people and training solutions
- deliver a legacy through apprenticeship programmes, STEM projects and targeted campaigns around areas, such as women in construction and local engagement.
Moreover we will provide the project with a flexible solution to ensure innovative, productive and sustainable workforce solutions.
The event was well attended by HS2, main contractors, local government organisations and SMEs. The exhibition space and auditorium were packed with over 300 delegates. Speakers delivered fascinating and inspirational sessions around the innovation capability maturity model, BIM and value propositions.
- Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, said: “It is vital HS2 is not just a rail link but the centre of a global industry.”
- Tim Burnhope, Chief Innovation Officer for JCB, said: “We need to challenge ourselves every day.”
- Craig Wakeman, HS2 Programme Delivery Manager at West Midlands Combined Authority, said: “The skills we need today are not the skills we will need tomorrow. Technology will revolutionise the way we work.”
- Steve Young of Winning Pitch said: “We need to focus on value not price, so we become a partner, not just a supplier’.
- Clair Mowbray, CEO of the National College for High Speed Rail, said: “We need to prepare for a high-tech future.”
These are all inspirational leaders in their fields. VGC has a culture of embracing change and driving improvements to the way in which we deliver our workforce solutions.
We are delighted to be part of this alliance and excited about the opportunities it will present us with. By working in close collaboration with the leading construction and infrastructure companies we will achieve a step change in how projects are delivered in the UK now and in the future.
Photograph: Chris Ryan, VGC Labour Solutions director (R), Stephen Burns, business development director, and Ciara at the Connect launch
Note: VGC is on the board of directors of Connect, working on setting up the governance structures before the formal launch in November 2017.