Economy Minister Vaughan Gething met global technology company Thales to see first-hand how work on the ResilientWorks test bed environment for electric and autonomous vehicles and energy infrastructure is progressing.
ResilientWorks is set to be an industry leading magnet project, creating new, high-skilled jobs and economic opportunities whilst attracting organisations from start-ups to major international companies to help develop the next generation of low carbon technologies.
The Welsh Government’s partnership with Thales is part of its £100m Tech Valleys investment programme. The programme has a commitment to create 1,500 sustainable jobs focused on Blaenau Gwent and hinterland by capitalising on opportunities arising from the fourth industrial revolution, encouraging the adoption of digital technologies and developing high value advanced technologies that support cutting edge industries.
Facilities will include research laboratories, a test track and a model street complex. Start-ups, SMEs, international companies and governments will all be able to use the new facility to robustly test emerging cutting edge, technology which in turn will help to build public confidence in innovations including the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles.
ResilientWorks will be located next to the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC), a cyber-security centre of excellence partnership between Thales, the University of South Wales and the Welsh Government.
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said:
The next revolution will be powered by knowledge. Tech industries rely on a smart workforce that’s trained in all the right skills and the local education system is already preparing the next generation for high-skill, high-value jobs.
“The facility is set to be a unique capability for UK Industry, bringing together critical national infrastructure, autonomous vehicles, and power systems in integrated testing and research.
“We believe ResilientWorks will be a genuine magnet project to spearhead Wales’ electric and autonomous vehicle efforts and secure energy drive in the heart of Tech Valleys. We stand ready alongside our industry partners to capitalise on the opportunities arising from emerging and developing technologies.”
Gareth Williams, Vice President Secure Information & Communications Systems, Thales said:
“We intend our Ebbw Vale campus to be a magnet for industry and public services and even at this build stage we have really significant interest in ResilientWorks from major players in the power and automotive industries. They’re attracted by the unique combination of capabilities we’re developing here.
“The Minister is visiting us on a day in which we’re also hosting Wales’s Technology Leadership Council and a strategic planning session for one of our key partners in the power industry, while our education team are out in local schools and colleges.
“What we’re doing at Ebbw Vale, in partnership with government and universities, is making the valleys a centre for global technology and providing the foundation for Thales to grow further in Wales.”
Councillor Dai Davies, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development commented:
“I’m pleased that the Economy Minister was able to visit Blaenau Gwent today to see this exciting development for himself. Electric vehicle technology is going to certainly help meet the challenge of reducing carbon emission in the longer term and it is great that this development work will take place here in Ebbw Vale.
“I am confident that this partnership approach will help develop highly skilled local jobs for the future and this can only benefit our local community and economy.”