Hi-Tech Skills Are the Key to the Future, Says the Duke of York

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), July 11, 2008 | Go to article overview

Hi-Tech Skills Are the Key to the Future, Says the Duke of York


Byline: Aled Blake Business Correspondent

CONTINUOUS training and skills are crucial to continue transforming Wales' economy, the Duke of York said yesterday.

Speaking on a visit to some of the nation's hi-tech employers, Prince Andrew argued that being the pioneer in old heavy industries is a thing of the past. Instead, he said lifelong learning is the key to being successful in the future.

In an exclusive interview with the Western Mail at the UK headquarters of EADS Defence & Security Systems in Newport, the Duke said: "This part of Wales has relied on a large proportion of steel and heavy industry. EADS is one of the larger employers in the region. Look at the difference in skills brought into this part of Wales because of the needs of a hi-tech company like EADS.

"It is working in areas of technology that the UK is interested in, in terms of intellect, in terms of training and skill and these skills are transferable - globally.

"If you think of knowledge, knowledge is a very wide description of what the UK is about today. It's about the skills of our people, the education of our people in order to give them that capability in order to do the sorts of things that we want to be good at in this country. We would dearly like to be as good at manufacturing as we ever were. But that is not possible.

"Things have changed in Wales over the last 15, 20 years. But you only have to look at the amount of inward investment that the Welsh Development Agency has been able to attract to Wales and to see how successful that has been in all sorts of areas that require reskilling.

"The universities in this part of the world are very good at delivering what's required for what's coming.

"I talk to a number of government ministers and officials at a UK level. They are trying to create the conditions so that the next generation of our young people are prepared to go into the work environment.

"The Government is not looking in the short term, over a normal political cycle, they are looking over a period of 25 years when a person has to go through a whole system, including university."

The Duke pointed to EADS in Newport as a prime example of the need to remain on the ball in training and education.

EADS is creating more than 100 jobs in a pounds 35m expansion at its South Wales plant. The centre already employs around 1,200 people.

Its new wing was officially opened yesterday by the Duke - who is UK Special Representative for International Trade and Investment.

The company said the investment consolidates its presence in South Wales, with planned growth of 20% year-on-year at its Newport site.

EADS Defence & Security (DS) is a systems and services solution provider for armed forces and civil security worldwide. …

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