Manufacturing

A new manufacturing plan to energise the industry and help it meet the future challenges is being developed by the Welsh Government.

Economy Minister Ken Skates will speak about the new plan at the Automotive Summit at Hensol Castle later today.

It will be a partnership between industry, academia and government and will focus efforts on future-proofing Wales’ manufacturing capability.

The plan will identify the steps needed to develop a resilient, advanced manufacturing sector and a workforce with strong, up to date skills to deliver the products and technologies for a connected and sustainable economy. The plan is expected to be published in April 2020.

The summit at Hensol Castle, ‘The Road Ahead for Manufacturing in Mobility’, brings together key players to discuss how best to protect and grow manufacturing in the Welsh automotive industry, as the way people travel changes in response to environmental and technological developments.

The automotive sector in Wales benefitted from growth in production in the UK between 2010 and 2017, but the industry now faces fundamental challenges, especially following recent announcements by Ford to close its Bridgend base and by Honda to close its Swindon operations, which will have an impact on the Welsh supply chain.

Economy Minister Ken Skates said:

Our determination to develop a manufacturing plan is a real statement of intent from the Welsh Government on the actions needed to be taken by industry and government to adapt and change to meet future needs and opportunities.

“The automotive sector, which is being discussed today, faces change on multiple fronts. Mobility is set to become cheaper, more convenient, a better experience, safer and cleaner. Wales, as in the global industry, needs to respond deftly to these developments.

“Any one of those trends is disruptive enough but when taken together they add up to an outright transformation. Electrified, autonomous and connected vehicles will require new designs, new technologies, new supply chains and new thinking.

“With change comes opportunity and we are working hard to position Wales as a location for the new technologies the sector will demand.

“Aston Martin chose Bro Tathan Business Park to become the home for its electrification programme and we want to build on that success by encouraging others to follow.

“By building on Wales’ existing industrial and academic excellence, we can play a vital role in the next generation of robotics and automation, low carbon mobility and energy generation.

“Our new plan will be key to the future of the manufacturing industry and the Welsh economy and I am keen to hear views from across the board about how we shape it.”