Southeast Wales last week saw the launch of two revolutionary facilities that will help nurture and develop our skills and talent, with the awe-inspiring sbarc|spark
opening its doors at Cardiff University and 5G Wales Unlocked trialling its pioneering 5G immersive classroom in Ebbw Vale.
Beyond those major new developments, the past seven days has also seen the UK Cyber Security Council and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport reveal the significant role played by the cyber security sector in creating jobs in our region – as well as Make UK announcing news of a National Manufacturing Day that will showcase the wide range of opportunities available in a sector that’s hugely important to Cardiff Capital Region …
Wales’s biggest Innovation Hub opens its doors
A new flagship centre for ideas and inventions has opened its doors to Wales and the world, with sbarc|spark – Cardiff’s #HomeofInnovation – bringing together multi-disciplinary researchers, entrepreneurs, student start-ups and academic spinouts in a state-of-the-art building at the heart of Cardiff Innovation Campus.
Featuring collaborative working spaces, a visualisation centre, auditorium and RemakerSpace, the hub provides the seedbed in which Wales can nurture and grow tomorrow’s big ideas as the UK recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, with dedicated space for student entrepreneurs.
The centre is the vision of Cardiff University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, who sought to create a ‘virtuous circle’ for growth that would attract investment and generate wellbeing by investing in people, places and partnerships – boosting Cardiff’s reputation as a capital for job creation, a source of highly-skilled graduates and a flourishing home of innovation.
As the largest innovation facility of its kind in Wales, featuring 12,000m sq of floor space across six storeys, with commercial units and lab spaces for spinouts and start-ups, Spark is dedicated to tackling some of the biggest societal challenges of today – from public health and crime to poverty and climate change – aiming to become a home for public, private and third sector partners looking to create, test and incubate the ideas that will shape a better future.
Next-generation 5G Immersive Classroom trialled in Ebbw Vale
The potential of 5G technology for driving education across Wales was showcased last week, through an eye-opening new trial launched in Ebbw Vale.
5G Wales Unlocked is the innovation project behind the new immersive 360-degree classroom established in Blaenau Gwent’s largest town – one of a number of pilots being trialled here in Wales, demonstrating how ultrafast technology such as 5G can transform rural communities, from powering tech innovations in agriculture, to improving rural transport and education and bolstering the tourism industry.
Using a localised 5G network by project partners BT, the classroom utilises the high-speed connectivity to project inspiring and educational video content onto all four walls in a 360-degree format, providing a truly immersive experience.
Lessons can be delivered across a variety of curriculum-related themes – taking children and young people on a journey of the senses as they ‘dive’ into the detail of a plant cell or explore the surface of a planet.
Thanks to the ultrafast 5G connection, live link-ups have also been established – allowing learners to discover the fascinating history of heritage sites such as Raglan Castle, with a live virtual tour from a Cadw custodian located at the site.
The live link-ups, powered by Cisco technology, can also be used to connect classrooms across the country – meaning pupils can work collaboratively with other learners, and educators can enhance their own lessons in partnership with other schools.
Key events spotlights Cyber Security Skills in Wales
The UK Cyber Security Council last week revealed the significant role played by the cyber security sector in creating jobs and protecting businesses across Wales, as the industry’s importance grows in line with our increasingly connected and digital lives.
Two high profile events were held between the UK Cyber Security Council and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), detailing the opportunities cyber security is creating across the region.
According to a recent DCMS report, this rapidly expanding sector employs 52,700 people and contributes around £5.3 billion GVA to the UK economy – a 33% increase on the previous year.
Across Wales, there are 111 active businesses specialising in the cyber security sector, employing an estimated 4% of the UK’s cyber security workforce. And according to government statistics, the average advertised salaries (2021) in core cyber security roles in Wales is £49,600 – a significant increase on the average £31,900 full-time salary.
The two events discussed the need for both Wales and the UK to establish and embed industry-wide standards, ethics and pathways for those working in the cyber profession by 2025 – calling on the industry’s practitioners to participate in helping to shape the Council’s future strategy and engage with the government’s consultation on the sector, which closed on 20th March.
Key takeaways from both events included:
- There remains a substantial skills gap in the industry, with an annual shortfall of 10,000 practitioners in the UK
- Half of businesses in the UK have a skills gap in cyber security
- There is a deep need for more diversification within a sector where only 16 percent of employees are women and 17 percent are from ethnic minorities.
Make UK launches National Manufacturing Day
Wales’ manufacturers unveiled plans to celebrate the sector by throwing open their doors to schools, colleges and local communities, as part of the UK-wide National Manufacturing Day to be held on July 7th, 2022 – offering people of all age groups the opportunity to witness at first hand the potential careers and jobs on offer in this continually evolving and surprisingly diverse sector.
The day aims to encourage people of any age – from school leavers to experienced workers considering their reskilling options – to discover the wide variety of vocations available across our thriving manufacturing industries.
Companies in markets ranging from Aerospace and Automotive to Pharmaceutical and Food & Drink will showcase an exhilarating celebration of their production facilities and the many different career pathways that are open – allowing visitors to talk directly to current employees about the way they work, exploring the opportunities available for a highly rewarding future in one of our region’s most important sectors.
As part of the day’s celebration, Make UK has created a dedicated microsite enabling participating companies to detail the events they are planning – allowing schools and local residents to search the site using a simple postcode finder, picking out any company or type of manufacturing that may be of interest.
For the latest updates on Skills & Talent in Southeast Wales and beyond, go to www.venturewales.org