Economy Minister Edwina Hart today announced the launch of Industry Wales - a new pan-Wales company geared to assist Welsh technology and manufacturing companies to prosper, grow globally and create jobs.
Industry Wales, which is wholly owned by the Welsh Government, brings together three leading Welsh industry forums - ESTnet, the specialist network for electronics, software and technology in Wales, Aerospace Wales and The Welsh Automotive Forum. Together the three forums have approaching 400 member companies that between them employ 45,000.
Industry Wales will build on and work alongside the sector panels, other government departments and organisations to integrate and align initiatives to help ensure maximum benefit, focussing on four key areas:
- Supply chain
The new organisation will provide a single voice for technology and manufacturing businesses to influence government policy and shape delivery. It will broaden its reach by engaging with new members and will work to extend the scope and influence of Welsh businesses by integrating with UK and European projects.
Industry Wales will promote globally the value of Welsh technology, innovation and manufacturing both as a place to invest and as a world class supply chain partner
The Minister said: “Automotive, aerospace and the software and electronics industries are key to the economy, creating jobs and wealth. I welcome the formation of Industry Wales, a pan-Wales organisation, positioned to reflect and leverage the rapidly increasing interdependencies between the technology and manufacturing base, and provide a mechanism to respond to the needs of businesses competing in these sectors”.
“It will play a key role in developing and supporting the growth of companies in Wales as well as helping to attract new business and inward investment to Wales. There are significant opportunities for closer integration between these three industries, and others sectors too, as Wales competes for business globally.”
Industry Wales CEO Robert Kathro, who joins from the private sector, said: ‘There is an urgent need to revitalise the Welsh and UK economies and rebalance them towards engineering, technology and manufacturing which is where Industry Wales is focussed.
“We have many successful companies in Wales and the aim is to build on this by helping existing companies, of all sizes, to grow and attracting new businesses and new industries to Wales. It is a privilege to lead Industry Wales and I am very aware of the critical nature of the task ahead of me.’
Gareth Jenkins, who has been asked to chair the Industry Wales Board which will be composed of senior individuals from each of the three industry forums, said:
“Industry Wales brings together the strengths of the Sector Panel approach with the long standing expertise of the Sector Forums. We have established a successful private public sector partnership over the last two years and we now need to focus on delivery against key strategic objectives.
“We have key challenges ahead on addressing the skills gap, boosting R+D activity and bring business back to Wales. It is important that the next round of European funding is utilised to meet these challenges. Industry Wales in partnership with Welsh Government intends to play a major role in addressing these challenges.”
The three industry forums will continue to address the needs of their members by fostering strong networks within and across industries and supporting the creation of business relationships.
They will remain as the key focal points for their respective industries, and, working with Industry Wales will continue to create opportunities for knowledge sharing, innovation and collaboration and extend the global reach and visibility of Wales’ industrial capabilities.