A new action plan to help secure the long-term future of manufacturing in Wales has been launched by the Welsh Government.
Manufacturing has a long and proud history in Wales and remains the largest contributor in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Welsh economy.
The sector provides good quality employment to 145,000 people and is crucial to regions the length and breadth of the country.
A Manufacturing Future for Wales: A Framework for Action identifies the steps needed to develop a resilient, high value manufacturing sector with a highly skilled and flexible workforce able to deliver the products, services and technologies necessary for the future Welsh economy.
The plan addresses the important issues of climate change and the need to decarbonise and adapt to technological changes, including automation, digitalisation and a more connected environment.
Economy Minister Ken Skates says these factors will be vital in supporting the sector to respond to major challenges including the severe impact of coronavirus and ensuring it can grasp future opportunities.
The plan aligns with the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience and Reconstruction Mission which was launched earlier in the week and sets out how the Welsh Government will rebuild the Welsh economy so it is more prosperous, equal and greener.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “Manufacturing is going through one of the most intense periods of change in its history with the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the EU, climate change and emerging technologies all having a profound effect.
“The action plan I am launching today will be crucial in helping build communities with thriving manufacturing sectors, which contribute to a prosperous and more robust economy.”
The plan also emphasises the importance of how building local supply chains and re-shoring activities will result in opportunities for the everyday economy to flourish.
Manufacturing in Wales has already shown what can be achieved in this space through its success in producing made-in-Wales PPE at a time when international supply chains were under pressure.
Embracing the use of alternative, lower embedded carbon materials, increasing automation and digitalisation will also be key to the future success of the sector.
In all, ten themes run throughout the A Manufacturing Future for Wales: A Framework for Action. These are:
Climate change and the need to decarbonise;
Skills for the future;
Modern infrastructure for the way we work and access work;
Strengthening collaboration to increase innovation;
Developing sub-sector communities and clusters;
Strengthening leadership and management;
Improving supply chain resilience by re-shoring and localisation; and
Improving anchorage of businesses in Wales through increased research and development.
The Welsh Government will take a cross government approach to progress each of the actions identified in the plan and will progress them in partnership with industry, academia and trade unions.
A body to oversee this work and measure progress will also be established in conjunction with Industry Wales.
Economy Minister Ken Skates added: “We are committed to strengthening our manufacturing industry and ensuring it continues to play a crucial role throughout Wales. The launch of today’s plan is just the beginning and there is clearly much work to do with our partners to put it into action.
“I would like to thank everybody who has worked with us so far in putting the vision together. By continuing to work together I am confident we can ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for our manufacturing sector which in turn will help to shape a more prosperous, equal and greener Welsh economy.”