Joined-Up Thinking to Begin Vital Journey to Joined-Up Prosperity; Following Their Recent Signing of a New Understanding to Co-Operate in All Spheres, Sir David Rowe-Beddoe, Chairman of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), and Enid Rowlands, Chairman of the National Council - Education and Learning Wales (Elwa), Reveal What This Landmark Agreement Will Mean for the Prosperity and Wellbeing of Wales, Now and in the Future

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 24, 2001 | Go to article overview

Joined-Up Thinking to Begin Vital Journey to Joined-Up Prosperity; Following Their Recent Signing of a New Understanding to Co-Operate in All Spheres, Sir David Rowe-Beddoe, Chairman of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), and Enid Rowlands, Chairman of the National Council - Education and Learning Wales (Elwa), Reveal What This Landmark Agreement Will Mean for the Prosperity and Wellbeing of Wales, Now and in the Future


AGAINST the backdrop of war in Afghanistan and expectations of a global recession, the signing of a co-operative agreement between two Welsh public bodies should not, in itself, be all that remarkable.

However, it is the very uncertainty created by the dramatic world events of recent weeks that make the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the WDA and National Council for Education and Learning Wales (Elwa) so significant.

The threatened upheaval in world markets and the squeezing of margins on lower value-added products make it more imperative than ever that Wales strives for a new role as one of Europe's knowledgebased economies.

The Memorandum of Understanding which was signed by both of us, is set to become the lynchpin of a relationship around which the future of our knowledge-led economy must revolve.

For the first time, Wales is creating a strategy which puts the development of its economy and the promotion of learning and skills firmly on the same agenda.

Scientists, technologists, engineers, designers, software specialists, business service professionals and managers, as well as a host of workers with solid intermediate skills such as technicians and IT administrators, will become our future currency on world markets.

The creation of this knowledgebased economy has been accepted as the only viable way forward for Wales in a world where lowerskilled jobs are already migrating to lower-wage economies.

The WDA, working with its partners, has made significant strides towards the development of key industrial sectors in Wales - sectors such as opto-electronics, biotechnology, automotive or software development.

The creation and growth of high calibre new enterprises has been encouraged by the setting up of university centres of excellence for key industries and the establishment of the Technium network in which dynamic companies find a highly supportive and expert environment in their early days.

But this trend towards sophisticated industry only underlines the urgent need to tackle our skills requirements and boost the bank of knowledge in our population.

If we are to go on promoting such industries we must ensure that we have the people on the ground to support them.

The new element to the equation is that since April this year, we now have the National Council Elwa as an all-Wales learning and skills body which gives us an exciting new opportunity for joined-up thinking on how we tackle problems.

The WDA now has a key partner body with which it can plan and co-ordinate on an all Wales basis.

This planned programme of joint working, joint planning, information sharing and duplication elimination will make a big difference to what we can achieve.

And there is much to achieve. If we are to raise Wales's wealth creation per head to the UK average we will need to achieve annual GDP growth at 0. …

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Joined-Up Thinking to Begin Vital Journey to Joined-Up Prosperity; Following Their Recent Signing of a New Understanding to Co-Operate in All Spheres, Sir David Rowe-Beddoe, Chairman of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA), and Enid Rowlands, Chairman of the National Council - Education and Learning Wales (Elwa), Reveal What This Landmark Agreement Will Mean for the Prosperity and Wellbeing of Wales, Now and in the Future
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