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Wales’s pioneering cyber centre has met its key milestones and is forging ahead with its first major business win, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates will announce at a ceremony today to mark the first year of the £20m National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC).

First published:
24 February 2020
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

In line with the Welsh Government’s commitment to regenerate the valleys and develop the Foundational Economy, the Minister will also reveal that the NDEC has already injected £1m into the local economy with 20 of its 53 local suppliers based in Ebbw Vale and has employed over 90 per cent of its start-up staff from the local area. 

The Welsh Government and technology leader Thales each committed £10m to establish the centre.

Leaders from business and Welsh public life will also be present for the announcement that Thales has won substantial work with GE Steam Power, one of the world’s leading power companies, on the cyber security of its core facilities. Key elements of that work will be brought to Wales, to be done by the team in the NDEC.

The NDEC is intended to deliver advanced R&D, engage local people through education outreach, and open up cyber trust expertise for major employers and small businesses in Wales, in partnership with the University of South Wales.

Speaking about the NDEC’s success so far, Economy, Transport and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said:

A year on from our announcement that Thales would be coming to Ebbw Vale to develop the NDEC with us, I’m delighted the project is meeting its milestones, has already injected £1m into the local economy and will be working to deliver a part of a  major new contract for Thales.

The NDEC’s initial capability is now open for business, with a state of the art Cyber Range and business facility, and a growing education programme with links to local businesses. 

From PhD students to apprentices, staff to suppliers, the NDEC is acting as a catalyst for technology growth and economic success in the valleys. It is at the very heart of our Tech Valleys initiative which will help transform the South Wales economy to one of R&D, innovation and long term prosperity. This centre provides a fantastic basis on which to deliver all of this.

Eluned Morgan, Minister for International Relations, said:

Establishing the NDEC helps raise Wales’s profile on the world’s digital technology map and I am really pleased to hear Thales is bringing its recently secured contract with GE Steam Power to Ebbw Vale. 

This is further evidence that Wales’ reputation continues to grow as a tech nation and a cyber-security hotspot, and being able to call Wales home is having significant benefits for Cyber firms.

I look forward to discussing further opportunities for Thales’ relationship with Wales when I meet their Cyber Security CEO Laurent Maury in the US this week.

Victor Chavez, Chief Executive of Thales UK, said:

We see Wales, and the National Digital Exploitation Centre in particular, as a vital part of Thales’s growing presence in the UK. The NDEC is critical to developing digital security capabilities to bring both national and international work to Ebbw Vale. These skills are at the heart of securing critical Operational Technology systems such as those being developed by GE Steam Power to ensure resilience in today’s cyber environment. NDEC is a unique facility for Wales and we intend to make the most of this innovative partnership between government, industry and academia.