The Welsh Government has announced plans to turn Blaenau Gwent and the wider Valleys area into a globally recognised leader for technological development.
This message was outlined in Economy Secretary Ken Skates’ Vision document for “Tech Valleys” - the planned Technology Park that he announced earlier this year.
The Economy Secretary also announced that, as part of the Tech Valleys project, the Welsh Government has agreed to lease the former Techboard Building in Rassau.
Both Tech Valleys and the Welsh Government are hopeful that the building will eventually house the iconic car marker’s first manufacturing facility Wales.
The Welsh Government will now work with the Dewan Foundation Trust, which owns the former Tech building, and invest in a multi-million-pound refurbishment project in order to attract the key sector businesses the project needs.
Over ten years Tech Valleys is expected to create at least 1500 jobs, predominantly within new technologies and advanced manufacturing. Ebbw Vale and Blaenau Gwent will sit at the heart of this.
Economy Secretary, Ken Skates said: “We have allocated £100m to Tech Valleys over the next ten years with the aim of creating 1500 jobs.
“In reality the value of overall activity will be much higher as we work to leverage in other private and public sector investors.
“And in line with our new Economic Action Plan, Tech Valleys will have the principles of growth, fair work and decarbonisation at its heart while seeking to spread the fruits of economic growth to areas that have not fared so well in recent years.
“I expect projects at Tech Valleys to include innovative areas such as the development and testing of battery and motor technology, 5G activity, and the infrastructure needed for automated and ultra-low emission vehicles, and to include a mix of short, medium and long-term activities and targets.
“On that note, I am proud to announce that as part of Tech Valleys the Welsh Government has agreed to lease the former Techboard Building in Rassau, and we will now swiftly be investing in its refurbishment to ensure the project attracts the key sector businesses the project needs to succeed.
“Indeed, we know this is a building that TVR would like to use for its planned manufacturing facility here.”
The Welsh Government expects Tech Valleys’ focus on creating higher quality jobs to provide the entrepreneurial spark to enable existing and new entrepreneurs to fulfil their business ambitions.
Meanwhile, its focus on developing advanced skills in the existing workforce and the next generation, will enable local people to live and work within their communities whilst competing on the international stage.
Mr Skates continued: “Our vision document for Tech Valleys sets out exciting and ambitious plans, and I have no doubt that these are dependent on national leadership and effective partnership working.
“We will be building on the valuable work already undertaken by Ebbw Vale Enterprise Board to progress these plans while also building on wider national and international expertise from Business, academia and the public sector.
“Through a partnership approach and sustained clever working, I look forward to us making this ambitious but achievable vision a reality to benefit Ebbw Vale and stimulate growth across the heads of the valleys.”
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