Automotive supply chain firms in the West Midlands were told to take advantage of the £3 trillion market in low-carbon technology at a business forum.

And they said there was a new sense of optimism in the last quarter, with news of increased work, employees being taken on and evidence of work returning from overseas including China.

The business forum, held by supply support network Accelerate was held at Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and attracted dozens of component makers from the West Midlands.

It was the first supplier forum of the year and featured presentations from MAS-WM chief executive Simon Griffiths.

Automotive component suppliers were encouraged to embrace low carbon technologies, a marketplace worth an estimated £3 trillion, as well as advanced manufacturing in new areas like rail, nuclear and renewable energies.

Companies were also urged to apply for the R&D Tax Credits, which can be backdated for over two years and offer manufacturers the chance to receive payments for work around new technical products and processes.

Rachel Eade, the Accelerate programme manager, said: "It was another excellent turnout from suppliers and the emphasis was very much on embracing new opportunities as the automotive sector continues to emerge from the downturn. Whilst times are still tough, it does appear the general business picture is being reciprocated in industry and, especially pleasing, is that West Midlands manufacturers are bringing back work to the UK."

The Accelerate meeting was run in partnership with Manufacturing Advisory Service-West Midlands (MAS-WM) and Business Link West Midlands.

The next supplier forum will be held in March at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.