THREE development programmes supporting key strategic themes of housing, skills, and digital connectivity within the Cardiff Capital Region have been agreed.

The programmes underpin the objectives and vision of CCR City Deal.

Details of the development programmes are as follows:

Regional Housing Investment Fund – recognising the need for more homes to be built in the region, the fund aims to support house building, ranging from larger builders and developers on stalled housing sites on former industrial sites, through to small builders, community builders, custom builders and regeneration specialists, on small sites across the region.

The fund also aims to help stimulate the SME building sector across the region by providing loan development finance and launching a Custom Build Scheme, releasing smaller plots of public sector land with a full package of support for SMEs to deliver new homes in the communities.

Skills for the Future Project – this project supports the skills and employment theme and will provide region-wide school engagement with pupils and parents to offer careers advice and guidance, support for businesses to address barriers of participation, including a skills investment fund and a commitment to support delivery of more than 10,000 additional apprenticeships, graduate internships and upskilled employees in the private sector.

The project builds on the creation of the CCR Skills and Employment Board to help develop a skilled workforce and tackle unemployment, and to ensure skills and employment provision is responsive to the needs to local businesses and communities.

Digital Strategy – underpinning the theme of Connecting the Region, the digital strategy proposes the development of defining the region as a 'smart city region' driving innovative and disruptive solutions to attract private sector partnership and investment.

The digital strategy incorporates eight digital and connectivity elements, which includes Welsh connectivity, regional connectivity, community fibre connectivity, regional and community WiFi, mobile 5G access, maximising the potential of Open Data.

Councillor Debbie Wilcox, CCR portfolio leader on skills development, and Leader of Newport City Council, said: “The unique selling point of the Skills for the Future project is fourfold. Such additional employment and training will enhance innovation, productivity and economic growth in the Cardiff Capital Region while school engagement will ensure that regional skills supply becomes more aligned with the skills that employers in the region are demanding.

“Investment in developing the skills of the current and future workforce of the Capital Region is a priority for the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and vital to improve both competitiveness and inclusion.”

Councillor Anthony Hunt, CCR portfolio co-leader on business and innovation, and leader of Torfaen County Borough Council, said: “Digital connectivity and capability is a fundamental requirement to develop a vibrant, modern and prosperous capital city region that is genuinely competitive on a global scale. The availability of world class digital connectivity is a major factor in attracting the sort of businesses that we need in the region to provide sustainable, high wage jobs.

“Existing businesses in the city region have much to gain in supporting the development of the sort of digital ambition outlined in the digital strategy, and it is anticipated that, as business cases are developed on each phase by the CCR City Deal, we will be able to lever in a considerable amount of private sector investment.”

The CCR City Deal aims to unlock significant economic growth across the CCR, which includes the ten local authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Torfaen and Vale of Glamorgan.