Levelling Up Fund: Hi-tech education facility for Welsh students

A hi-tech education facility will be built in Blaenau Gwent thanks to a £9 million funding boost from the government’s levelling up fund.

The council’s High Value Engineering facility will be a ‘world-leading’ training and education site built within a repurposed factory building and is part of a collaboration between Coleg Gwent college and the Welsh Government Tech Valleys Programme. 

Cllr John Morgan, the Cabinet Member for Place and Regeneration, said: ‘This is great news and I welcome the funding to enable us to work with our partners to construct and develop a state-of-the-art education and training facility here in Blaenau Gwent. 

‘I am sure that this will be a catalyst to create highly skilled local jobs and long-term economic growth for the area.’

group of people using laptop computer

Located on a 1.96 acre site in Ebbw Vale, the facility will cater for up to 600 students and include state-of-the-art robotics and manufacturing equipment for both the post-16 students and businesses wanting to learn new technology. 

Students from primary and secondary schools across the region will also have access to the ‘HiVE’ learning facilities to allow them access to demonstrations and guest lectures outside of their school’s existing capacity. 

Blaenau Gwent Council’s successful bid is part of the country’s Tech Valleys scheme which was launched to ‘create a vibrant, world-class, high technology focus for Welsh-based manufacturing companies’ in a range of sectors including AI, robotics and manufacturing. 

The programme also encourages the adoption and development of digital tech such as 5G and autonomous vehicles, an additional 3.97 million has been committed by the scheme to the HiVE project. 

Principal of participating college Coleg Gwent, Guy Lacey, said: ‘We aspire to make the HiVE project one of the most advanced and successful manufacturing and engineering training centres in the UK.’ 

The government recently announced a wide range of funding for projects as part of the Round 2 bids of the Levelling Up Fund that is designed to invest in infrastructure projects that ‘improve everyday life.’

Bringing better tech education to Welsh schools was also the focus for a recent scheme by broadband firm Ogi which expanded its pilot ‘Science Made Simple’ for students in years five to nine.

Photo by Annie Spratt


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