Modern Welsh manufacturing is a highly skilled, premium quality, innovation-driven business. We cannot compete purely on price with Eastern Europe and the far East; what makes Welsh manufacturing cost-effective is that it’s the best in the world.

Expertise in key market segments

Wales has strength in depth, right across a diverse manufacturing sector, but particular expertise in advanced materials and composites, aerospace and defence, automotive, opto-electronics and process engineering.

Obviously, there is considerable, and hugely beneficial, overlap between these related businesses, their supply chains and their research and innovation partners. The partnerships therein are crucial.

Academic and cross-industry collaborations

HPC Wales, for instance, is a unique collaboration between Welsh Universities, Government and Fujitsu. Under its commercial auspices, Cardiff University chemists are studying how metals supported on oxides operate as catalysts – for the automotive industries.

In turn, Welsh opto-electronic business – employing 5,000 highly skilled people with a turnover of £1 billion – feed the aerospace and automotive sectors at which we are so dominant. In instrumentation, sensors, lasers, fibre-optics, thin film coating, photovoltaics, optical storage, photonic materials and holography, Welsh businesses set a standard for the world to emulate.

Green fuel technologies

At a time when every economic strategy on the planet has “green tech” in its opening paragraph, Welsh car industry spin-offs are setting the pace in alternative fuels (including hydrogen research and technology).

Airbus Broughton

Aerospace, of course, is the jewel in Wales’ manufacturing crown. Nowhere is advanced material and composite technology more crucial. And nowhere in the UK (and few places in the world) is it done more successfully or on a bigger scale than at the Airbus wing centre in Broughton.

The Welsh can walk tall in the weightless economy, but there is still a pride here in making things. And we set a standard for the world to beat.