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New £6.5m Construction Wales Innovation Centre soon to take shape in Swansea

Work has now started on the foundations for the £6.5m Construction Wales Innovation Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David's SA1 Swansea Waterfront project.

UWTSD SA1 Waterfront development

The CITB-funded all-Wales centre, forming part of the University's £300m overall development, will draw in students from local schools and colleges to experience the construction industry first-hand.

The Hub and Spokes (Coleg Cymoedd, Coleg Cambria, Coleg Ceredigion, Coleg Sir Gar and the Building Research Establishment) will deliver bespoke, specialist training across a range of construction trades. The start of work on CWIC comes at the mid-point of the construction of SA1 Swansea Waterfront phase one's academic building and library, which has made significant progress over the past 12 months.

A range of local sub-contractors have been employed to work on the waterfront development by Kier Construction, who have been appointed to oversee phase one of the development, including Swansea-based AB Glass, who are providing the windows and glazing.

Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader, was given a tour of the development site along with UWTSD representatives including Dr Jane Davidson, Pro Vice-Chancellor for External Engagement and Sustainability.

Cllr Stewart said: "While a number of regeneration projects are forthcoming in Swansea, including our exciting redevelopment plans for the city centre, several schemes are now ongoing, so things are already happening for the benefit of Swansea as a city.

"The University of Wales Trinity Saint David's SA1 Swansea Waterfront development will add further vibrancy to SA1, help attract even more investment and boost Swansea's status as an innovative city of learning, so the council wholeheartedly supports all the terrific progress that's being made on site.

"Forthcoming projects like the digital indoor arena, new shops and restaurants on the Swansea Central development site, our plans for the Civic Centre site, Kingsway's transformation into an employment district and the potential for the world's first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay mean thousands of construction jobs are in the pipeline for Swansea, so UWTSD's Construction Wales Innovation Centre will equip the workforce of the future to play a part in schemes of this nature in coming years. 

"This builds on all the work the council does to employ apprentices in departments including our corporate building and property services team, with many young trainee tradespeople now working on projects including the construction of the first new council homes in a generation."

Gerald Naylor, CWIC Director, said: "This is an exciting new phase for the Construction Wales Innovation Centre (CWIC), having already successfully started the course delivery phase throughout Wales. When opened in September 2018, the 'Hub' will not only be the administrative centre but also a key part of the delivery including bespoke training, industry promotional activities and product demonstration and testing."

Mark Bodger, Strategic Partnerships Director for CITB Wales, said: "The Construction Wales Innovation Centre will transform construction training not just in Swansea, but across Wales. Since September last year, over 500 learners have completed courses at CWIC's 'spoke' colleges, with courses including plastering, street works and heritage roofing. This next generation of construction workers will help build the homes and infrastructure the country needs to grow in the years and decades to come."

The new UWTSD SA1 Swansea Waterfront development will benefit from spectacular views of Mumbles, Swansea Bay and the heart of the city centre. Other developments planned for the site include a box village initiative, which will covert shipping containers to provide flexible, affordable space for start-up companies. It will be enhanced through the City Deal and will further contribute to other innovative schemes planned across Swansea.

A September 8 deadline for businesses to submit bids to become a partner with the University for a joint venture at the 23-acre development site is also now fast-approaching. Eight acres of the site have been set aside for the creation of the new academic development, with the remaining 15 acres earmarked for residential and commercial uses, with the possibility of incorporating the university's tenanted commercial properties within the waterfront area. The next phase of development of SA1 will create significant further benefits to the local economy, including opportunities for local businesses and suppliers. This will build on the success already achieved in phase one, with £18m of contracts secured by Wales-based businesses. 

Dr Davidson said: "UWTSD is transforming its educational offer to transform the lives of those we work with, whether that is students, staff or employers. The university is uniquely placed to contribute towards the regeneration of Swansea and we are proud that our commitments are being delivered on time and on budget. We stand ready to work with the council and other partners in the further transformation of Swansea and the region. There is so much talent here, and working together we can realise our joint ambitions for this wonderful, vibrant city." 

Businesses interested in the Joint Venture are able to register their interest at www.sell2wales.gov.wales under the notice ID JUN201454

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David's SA1 Swansea Waterfront development, with the first phase providing a home for the faculties of architecture, computing and engineering, education and communities, as well as a new library, will open in September 2018.


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