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West Midlands Region shortlisted for prestigious National Rail Awards

The Black Country, Greater Birmingham & Solihull and Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnerships working as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority have been shortlisted as a finalist for two awards at the prestigious National Rail Industry awards.

The West Midlands joint entry has been recognised by UK rail chiefs for their pioneering work in developing a first-of-its-kind virtual 3D rail project, OnTrack WM. OnTrack WM will help nurture the valuable skills regional firms need to tap into supply chain opportunities aligned to the West Midlands £multi-million rail industry projects.

The National Rail Industry awards is one of the most coveted in the profession and a well-recognised badge of excellence among rail transportation peers across the wider U.K. The winners will be presented at a high profile dinner on Thursday 9 February 2017.

The West Midlands entry has been recognised for its forward-thinking strategy to nurture the essential skills that future industry will need through the formation of a community Building Information Modelling (BIM) framework, which has earned them a shortlisting in the Digital Pioneer category.

BIM is transforming industry taking it out of the 2D analogue age and into the 3D digital. BIM is, first and foremost, a business process which exploits technology so that stakeholders involved in every tier of the supply chain can mutually benefit.

The West Midlands creative procurement approach has been nominated for a second shortlisting in the Innovation award for their partnership work to develop the ground-breaking OnTrack WM – a digital representation of a high-speed rail project to showcase the regions talented rail transportation supply chain.

OnTrack WM will form part of the Black Country LEP’s innovative High Value Manufacturing City, an interactive platform to support the advancement of leading manufacturing and engineering opportunities. Like OnTrack WM HVM City articulates inward investment opportunities, drives supply chain development and integration and supports major contract delivery though the development of virtual models.

The West Midlands LEP’s were commended and praised by the judges who have stated that “no other region is doing as much to innovate within procurement, collaborating with partners to position the West Midlands as a pioneering adopter of BIM and creating virtual 3D supply chain portals (OnTrack WM). These are ground-breaking initiatives embedded with a real-life BIM framework, to train, support and develop the technology and business-winning skills of its indigenous supply chain”.

Stewart Towe, Chair of Black Country LEP said: “OnTrack WM is a truly innovative way to align our world-class manufacturing base to £multi-million rail sector supply opportunities. With real major procurement opportunities and HS2 getting underway soon. OnTrack WM will help to forge links with buyers / designers and improve specialist rail supply chain skills, presenting regional firms with great potential to rise to new work-winning challenges.”

Martin Reeves, Chief Executive West Midlands Combined Authority said: “Under the leadership of the Black Country LEP and with their expertise in supply chain development, the three LEPs are working together to pioneer new initiatives as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority. To be shortlisted in two key categories is testament to the skills, experience and dedication in the West Midlands to drive growth across key sectors in order to realise opportunities for business and people.”

More than eight hundred rail infrastructure engineers, construction peers, business leaders and innovators from across the rail transportation sector will gather at the Battersea Evolution, South London, to celebrate best practice applied across the UK’s landmark rail projects.

View the full list of national finalists that will line-up at the awards ceremony on 9th February in London here

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