The Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC), based at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s (UWTSD) new £350million SA1 Swansea Waterfront Development, has officially opened today (Thursday 18th October). CWIC is a landmark agreement between the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and a consortium led by UWTSD. CWIC will support future workforce needs, skills development and innovation in the Welsh construction sector. The new centre will provide state-of-the-art facilities and training for individuals and construction companies, with CITB investing £6.5m. The CWIC hub will provide a Construct Zone, classrooms, dedicated IT suites and conference facilities. A dedicated scaffolding training facility will also be sited close by. Alongside the hub based in Swansea, CWIC is already delivering courses across Wales through partner colleges, Coleg Sir Gâr, Coleg Cambria, Coleg y Cymoedd and Coleg Ceredigion as well as the Building Research Establishment (BRE). It is estimated that 1,200 students will be trained through CWIC facilities across Wales each year. The official opening was attended by representatives from across the construction and education sector, including CITB Board Chair Peter Lauener, CITB CEO Sarah Beale, UWTSD Vice-Chancellor Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, and UWTSD Council Chair, The Venerable Randolph Thomas. The event also marked the launch of the Construction Skills and Innovation Roadmap for Wales. The roadmap has been produced to highlight the need for an integrated strategy for workforce development over the next decade for the sector.
CWIC, through its pan-Wales Hub and Spoke delivery model is ideally placed to oversee the delivery of this strategy in conjunction with the CITB and UWTSD.
The latest CITB Construction Skills Network research predicts the Welsh Construction industry is set to grow quicker than any other part of the UK – with over 12,000 new roles set to be created in the industry by 2022. The new centre will help meet the skills needs for future projects including the South Wales Metro, Wylfa Newydd and major construction activity that will follow, regional, city and growth deals across Wales. Last month two new Higher Apprenticeship programmes in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying were launched to meet construction growth in Wales.
The University is working directly with industry partners and in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), The Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC) and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) to deliver these programmes at The Faculty of Architecture, Computing and Engineering from October 2018. Professor Medwin Hughes, DL, Vice-Chancellor of UWTSD, said: “Co-locating and collaborating with industry partners are key to the University’s vision for SA1 Swansea Waterfront. Together, we are transforming the delivery of education to create a pipeline of employment-ready graduates across a range of disciplines and sectors. The development of the Construction Wales Innovation Centre, in partnership the CITB, BRE and FE partners, is an example of how we are exploiting of collective expertise and the latest technological advances in order to support the burgeoning construction industry throughout Wales. Similarly, our partnership with the Welsh Government and the City and Council of Swansea on the development of the SA1 Swansea Waterfront has enabled UWTSD to develop purpose-built facilities at the heart of the city connecting education, innovation, business and industry to make a positive economic contribution to the Swansea Bay City region and further afield.”
Mark Bodger, Partnerships Director CITB Wales, said: “I am delighted that CWIC has officially opened its new state of the art facilities where thousands of learners will get cutting-edge training that meets the needs of our changing industry. CWIC reaffirms CITB’s commitment to the construction industry in Wales and shows what can be achieved by working in collaboration with employers, education providers and Welsh Government. “CWIC has already made a huge impact on the sector in Wales through its partners across the nation, and the SA1 hub will help the industry to deliver and expand on its ambitions.” Jane Davidson, Pro Vice Chancellor at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, said: “The UWTSD Group has a strong tradition in offering skills solutions for the construction industry at all levels. It is now particularly pleasing to be collaborating with CITB on delivering a much wider national vision for Wales. The launch of the CITB funded CWIC is a significant initiative on this journey and will be a major catalyst for delivering the Welsh Government’s Employability Plan for Wales.”