Blaenau Gwent Council welcomes the £9 million investment awarded as part of the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund. The investment will allow the Council to develop its High Value Engineering (HiVE) facility, a world-leading training and education establishment based in Ebbw Vale.
The funding will help ensure young people will have the relevant education and skills to access highly paid, highly skilled jobs required by the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Sector and the Digital and Enabling Technologies.
The Council led a successful bid working in collaboration with Coleg Gwent, industry partners and the Welsh Government Tech Valleys Programme. The funding will be used to repurpose a redundant factory as a hi-tec education and skills facility geared to the needs of Industry 4.0.
The vision for Tech Valleys is to create a vibrant, world-class, high technology focus for Welsh-based manufacturing companies of all sizes spanning many key sub-sectors, including digital, cyber, AI, robotics, manufacturing providing employment that is challenging, rewarding and valued. The programme aims to encourage the adoption of digital technologies and developing high value advanced technologies that support cutting edge industries such as 5G, battery technology and research into automotive and autonomous vehicles.
HiVE will be located on a 1.96-acre site in Ebbw Vale, the site of the former Monwel Hankinson Building on Letchworth Road. The 21,808 sq.ft. building will be located close to Ebbw Vale town centre. The ambition is to deliver a high-quality teaching space with the capacity for up to 600 students complete with classrooms, study areas and a range of workshop spaces, kitted out with state-of the-art robotics and manufacturing equipment available for use by both post 16 students and businesses taking on new technologies.
In addition, across Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valley region, primary and secondary schools will have access to HiVE and will be able to have guest lectures, demonstrations and develop an understanding of the world of work through real world experiences and access to equipment outside of a school's limited capability.
The facility will be available to all residents across Wales and will have the remit to encourage Learners and Students from under-represented groups in to STEM careers.
The Tech Valleys Programme has committed £3.97 million to HiVE as part of Welsh Government’s long-term strategy to ensure all learners of all ages across all settings are supported with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed through their lives and careers.
Councillor John Morgan, Cabinet Member for Place and Regeneration at Blaenau Gwent Council commented:
This is great news and I welcome the funding to enable us to work with our partners to construct and develop a state-of-the-art education and training facility here in Blaenau Gwent. I am sure that this will be a catalyst to create highly skilled local jobs and long-term economic growth for the area’.
Guy Lacey, Principal of Coleg Gwent said:
‘This is really good news and will allow Coleg Gwent, through our close partnership with Blaenau Gwent Council, to provide the skills that are needed for the future. We aspire to make the HiVE project one of the most advanced and successful manufacturing and engineering training centres in the UK.’