More than 900 businesses within the North Solihull regeneration zone have signed up to a database aimed at helping local companies get involved in the transformation of the area.

Main contractors who have been awarded large contracts as part of the Regenerating North Solihull programme are utilising contacts from Solihull Council's Construction Supply Chain database and employing the services of local businesses.

This is helping to create jobs for local workers and boost the local economy.

The initiative follows on from a series of successful Meet The Buyer events hosted by Solihull Council's economic development team and the North Solihull Business Forum, which brought together main contractors and local businesses to discuss work opportunities.

The three wards of Chelmsley Wood, Kingshurst & Fordbridge and Smith's Wood that make up North Solihull are currently experiencing an unprecedented amount of development work as the area is completely transformed over the next 15 years.

The bulk is being carried out as part of the Regenerating North Solihull project, which will see £1.8 billion invested in the region and the construction of 8,000 new homes, the improvement of 12,500 more, the construction of 10 new primary schools and the development of five new village centres.

The area will also see four new secondary schools built by Solihull Council as part of the Government's Building Schools for the Future initiative. Chelmsley Wood town centre is also undergoing a £60 million transformation, with Solihull Council working with owners Fordgate and project management company Barton Willmore.

Janet Bradbury, chief executive of the North Solihull Partnership, the consortium made up of Solihull Council, Bellway, Inpartnership and Whitefriars Housing Group which is implementing the programme, said: "This regeneration project is about much more than bricks and mortar, it is also about improving the lives of the residents by boosting their educational and employment opportunities.

"There is already millions of pounds of development work being carried out in North Solihull and this figure is only going to increase in the months and years to come, presenting a fantastic opportunity for local businesses.

"In the short and long term we want to ensure that the local workforce has the right skills to take advantage of these opportunities and that local companies employing local people benefit directly from the regeneration scheme and help create a truly sustainable community in North Solihull."

Bellway Homes, which has been selected to build 50 per cent of the 8,000 new homes required in North Solihull, is committed to recruiting from the local community since it started construction work in the area almost two years ago and regularly employs 50 per cent of its workforce locally on its various development sites across the area.

Councillor Ian Courts, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration & Development, said the database should mean that contractors like Bellway, HBG Construction and Morgan Ashurst have easy access to the wealth of local expertise in North Solihull.

He said: "We are successfully working in partnership with the contractors from the North Solihull Regeneration Scheme to encourage a sustainable local economy.

"The database will help promote local sourcing and will create employment opportunities as a result of business growth. Solihull businesses can register on the database for free. We are also providing support to businesses that are unfamiliar with formal tendering processes to help them become fit to compete for work."

The next Meet The Buyer event will be taking place on February 22 at The Forum in Birmingham Business Park, where opportunities arising from the 2012 Olympics will also be under discussion.