By Cllr Andrew Morgan, chairman of the Cardiff Capital Region Cabinet, and leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council

It is hard to believe that it is just nine months since the leaders of the ten local authorities in south east Wales put pen to paper at Cardiff Airport to formalise the £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region City Deal.

The document signed at that ceremony on St David’s Day, following the Heads of Terms agreement with the local authorities, the UK government and the Welsh Government, committed to bring about significant economic growth in the CCR region through investment, upskilling, and improved physical and digital connectivity. 

With an investment of £1.2bn – split between the UK and Welsh Government, with contributions from the ten local authorities – the programme aims to deliver up to 25,000 new jobs and leverage an additional £4bn of private sector investment. A key commitment is the creation of a South Wales Metro network.

A few short weeks after signing, the CCR cabinet comprising the ten leaders agreed a £37.9m investment with IQE plc to support the development of the first compound semiconductor industry cluster in south east Wales, which is to be based in Newport. 

The programme has the potential to leverage up to £375m of private sector investment over the next five years, and create up to 2,000 high value, hi-tech jobs. Once completed, it has the potential for hundreds more jobs in the wider supply chain and cluster development. 

A state-of-the-art facility is owned by the ten councils in the regional cabinet under the special purpose vehicle CSC Foundry Limited/LDC Ffowndri and the space leased to IQE plc for compound semiconductor manufacturing and applications development, helping with the establishment of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster.

Future initiatives can apply for funding through the CCR Wider Assessment Fund. Such applications will be subjected to significant scrutiny through a bespoke impact assessment tool, which will evaluate bids against the objectives of the City Deal.

But it is not just about the money.

Another prominent development for the CCR City Deal this year has been the unveiling of the Employment and Skills Plan, which was launched by the Learning, Skills and Innovation Partnership (LSkIP) South East Wales.

The eight-point plan has been established to prioritise areas for skills investment that will achieve social and economic benefits for the CCR, with the fundamental goal of identifying employment and skills priorities over short, medium and long-term periods to develop the social and economic potential of the south east Wales regional economy. 

The plan established eight regional priorities that it is believed will shape the success of the CCR over the coming years. With these points in place, the aim of the new plan is that it will lead to a demand-led skills system driven by the needs of the industry, delivering employment and skills support. 

Both the investment with IQE plc and the new Employment and Skills Plan are important milestones for the CCR City Deal, as they demonstrate the key role the programme has in the development of the region. 

Building on the region’s sectoral strengths, its skills base, and three successful universities, the City Deal is providing a vehicle to create a regional way of working which has never been seen before in South East Wales. 

The CCR Cabinet recognises the need for collaboration and joint working to make this happen. 

Therefore, five main bodies are responsible for delivering the City Deal and the broader vision for the region: The CCR Cabinet itself, The Transport Authority, The Skills Partnership, The Economic Growth Partnership and The Business Organisation.

Two of the key business bodies are the Economic Growth Partnership and the Business Organisation.