Connecting local suppliers to opportunities in the Construction Sector

Over 400 people today attended an information and networking session aimed at connecting local suppliers to opportunities in the construction sector under the Schools Public Private Partnerships (PPP) programme, hosted in The Heritage Hotel, Portlaoise, Co Laois.

The event, hosted by the NDFA in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, provided a platform for construction suppliers and enterprises to learn more about the schools building programme and to meet with the three shortlisted PPP consortia companies.

The three PPP consortia that have been shortlisted by the NDFA to progress to the next stage of delivery of these schools are: Amber Education Partnership which includes PJ Hegarty & G4S Solutions, BAM PPP and Carillion Construction. Attendees found out how to become a sub supplier through a series of short 5 minute “pitch” meetings. 

This is the first such event in 2014 and will be followed by further information and networking events as other projects are rolled out later this year as part of the Government’s PPP Stimulus Package. Attendees also had the opportunity to meet a team from the Department of Social Protection who provided information on the Pathways to Work initiatives such as Jobs Search Ireland and Jobs Plus. 

The Schools PPP project – part of a €1.4 billion PPP programme included in the Government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Plan – will see 12 new and replacement schools built in counties Carlow, Clare, Cork, Kildare, Louth, Meath, Tipperary, Wexford and Wicklow. In total these schools will provide accommodation for approximately 8,650 students. 

The PPP company that will be selected to deliver the programme will finance the design, build and maintenance of these schools for a 25 year period. The schools will be fully furnished and equipped (except for specialist educational equipment) as part of the PPP contract with elements of the fixtures, fittings and equipment to be maintained over the 25 year period. 

At the event, Sean Court, Project Director with the NDFA, said: ‘The NDFA welcomes the opportunity to work in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and other bodies in hosting this event. It is very important that the SME and construction sector is given access to future business opportunities and events like this are about ensuring they have all the information and support they need to fully exploit these opportunities’. 

Tom Kelly, Enterprise Ireland Head of Manufacturing & Competitiveness Micro Enterprise & Small Business, said: ‘The schools building programme provides a tremendous opportunity for enterprises in the construction sector. The building projects will be a boost to the local economy. Enterprise Ireland’s public procurement team is working with both the public sector and Irish SMEs on key procurement opportunities particularly within the national investment programme. The aim is to increase the number of Irish SMEs who win projects with the Irish Public Sector, leading to employment and providing reference sites for companies focussing on export markets’.