A "high-tech robotics workshop" is to be established in Cymru's 'Tech Valleys' to help "inspire local students to become the next generation of engineers, helping to provide a pipeline of talented new recruits for local advanced manufacturing businesses", Economy Minister Vaughan Gething has announced.
The workshop will be set up at Coleg Gwent with a pilot hub at Tredegar Comprehensive School, as a result of £600,000 investment by the Welsh Government.
The initiative is part of the Welsh Government’s £100m 'Tech Valleys' programme, which aims to establish the Valleys and Blaenau Gwent in particular as a "globally recognised centre for the development of new technologies".
Specialist equipment at the workshop, and associated training, will help Coleg Gwent equip learners with the training to meet the future skills needs of cutting-edge industries.
The pilot hub at Tredegar Comprehensive School will see students from the local area experience taster sessions using the workshop, helping to raise the aspirations of young people who may not have previously considered career opportunities in robotics engineering.
The initiative is part of Welsh Government efforts to "create more and better jobs closer to home, helping more young people feel confident in planning their future in Wales".
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “Our vision is to create a vibrant, world-class high technology hub in the valleys which can attract inward investors within the advanced manufacturing sector and capitalise on the opportunities arising from emerging and developing technologies.
“This will rely on a smart workforce that’s trained in all the right skills, so it is vital schools and colleges are equipped with the resources they need to prepare our future generations with the skills and experience they need to take up these high-value jobs. This will see us deliver on the objectives of our ambitious Tech Valleys programme.
“This robotics workshop is yet another way for us to make young people feel confident in planning their future in a more prosperous, fairer and greener Wales. My message to them is you don’t have to get out to get on.”
Guy Lacey, Principal at Coleg Gwent, said: "The College is playing a key role in training the workforce of the future and the investment by Welsh Government in these modern, technology rich facilities is fantastic.
“We're very proud of the strong links we have with partner schools in Blaenau Gwent and working with Tredegar Comprehensive will be an opportunity to encourage more young people to pursue technology routes in their studies."
Charlotte Leaves, Headteacher at Tredegar Comprehensive School, said: “The development of an Engineering Hub at Ysgol Gyfun Tredegar is a fantastic opportunity to enrich the curriculum and raise the aspirations of our Engineering students.
“We are excited to collaborate with Coleg Gwent on this as we aim to upskill both students and staff in 21st century Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies.
“Our aim is to ensure that students of Tredegar can learn innovative skills which will support a growing sector of top class engineers in the Valleys. We hope that the project meets its full potential and that the skills gained by our pupils will draw investment from sector leading industries thus providing well paid jobs in sustainable industries for the area.”