Hundreds of jobs will be created in Pontypridd after it has been named today as the location for the new South Wales Metro headquarters.
Operating under the name of Transport for Wales, it will be located at the Taff Vale building, said Economy Secretary Ken Skates, and it will oversee the £1 Billion electricification, Metro and rail infrastructure over the coming decades.
The news comes ahead of a major speech this afternoon in which he will say that Wales must grow its regional economies and unleash their potential to drive balanced economic growth across the country. The Economy Secretary will be meeting rail engineering students and addressing a business audience at Coleg y Cymoedd later and will set out his vision for a prosperous and secure Wales.
Speaking ahead of his speech, Economy Secretary Ken Skates said, “I’m incredibly proud that during the last Assembly term the Welsh Government directly supported almost 150,000 jobs across the country, with many more in local supply chains.
“That has helped us secure a lower unemployment rate than England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and a faster rate of employment growth than the UK average.
“However as an economy we still face major challenges, particularly in addressing the regional differences in our economy and ensuring that the benefits of economic growth fall more fairly across Wales.”
|He went on, “As we approach the challenges of the future I believe we need to take a new approach by developing the competitive edge of each region of Wales more fully. This will mean empowering each region to develop its own specialised sectors and more distinct economic identities. Allied to this we need to change our economic development structures in government to work in closer partnership with those regions, utilising drivers, such as skills, transport connectivity, procurement and digital infrastructure to accelerate economic growth in those areas.”
The way to address these regional differences is not to turn one area against another, but to work together to ensure the fruits of growth are shared by everyone, it’s a question of fairness, he said.
“This is great news for the town but it needs to be the start of something bigger. We need to work with partners in the local authority, the private sector as well as local colleges and universities to ensure this injection of jobs becomes a spark for wider local regeneration and prosperity.”
Later today he will meet young people training at the rail engineering centre at Coley y Cymoedd, a £3m partnership between Welsh Government and the college and a great example of the partnership working and forward thinking that is key to regional economic success.
“We face major economic challenges which will only be increased by our exit from the EU, global instability, welfare cuts and UK Government austerity. Our response must be to work together and to develop more resilient regional economies if we are to build a stronger and fairer economy for everyone in every area of Wales,” he concluded.
|The Welsh Government will shortly publish four over arching strategies setting out its direction over the Assembly term and which Mr Ken Skates is leading and calling the Prosperous and Secure strategy.
The development of the new rail franchise for Wales from 2018 and Metro development is a big opportunity for Wales. To reflect this it is intended that the key players in rail passenger services will work together, under one roof, to deliver for the people of Wales.
The new contract will be operational from mid October 2018, and the combined team will be able to move into the new facility soon afterwards. Pontypridd is a key node on the Metro network so ideally located for staff, visitors and suppliers to the two organisations.
Because the Welsh Government is in the middle of the tender process it is unable to be specific about how many staff, or which roles, will be based in Taff Vale.
The name of the building reflects the town’s historic and important role in development of the South Wales railways which took coal from mines in Rhondda and Taff valleys where they met in Pontypridd and onto Cardiff and Barry in the late 1800s and early part of the 1900s.