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Ken Skates MS, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales

First published:
25 February 2021
Last updated:

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

At the beginning of last year and before the pandemic hit us, my Department began work on the development of a new plan for manufacturing in Wales, a framework for action to future proof this vital part of our economy.

Following extensive consultation with industry, academia and our social partners I am pleased to launch today our Manufacturing Action Plan: A Manufacturing Future for Wales – A Framework for Action.

I would like to place on record my gratitude to Industry Wales, the trade unions and the many representatives from the manufacturing sector that have contributed to this work. 

The plan provides a focus for future proofing our manufacturing capability and identifies the steps needed to develop a resilient, high value manufacturing sector with a highly skilled and flexible workforce able to deliver the products, services and technologies necessary for our future economy. 

It addresses the important issues of climate change and the need to decarbonise and the technological changes Industry 4.0 is bringing, including automation, digitalisation and a more connected environment.

This plan has been developed in the context of how we translate our vision for a well-being economy into reality.  It is underpinned by the pursuit of three outcomes:

  1. A prosperous economy which requires a steady focus on resilience and a capacity for transformation.
  2. A green economy which demands high levels of circularity, where resources are kept in use adding economic value and where waste is avoided.
  3. An equal economy which means investing in the productive potential of all people in communities.

Aligning with our Economic Action Plan and Well-being of Future Generations goals, ten themes run throughout the plan. These are:

  1. Climate change and the need to decarbonise;
  2. Technological change;
  3. Skills for the future;
  4. Modern infrastructure for the way we work and access work;
  5. Fair work;
  6. Strengthening collaboration to increase innovation;
  7. Developing sub-sector communities and clusters;
  8. Strengthening leadership and management;
  9. Improving supply chain resilience by re-shoring and localisation; and
  10. Improving anchorage of businesses in Wales through increased research and development.

We will progress each of the actions identified in the plan in partnership with industry, academia and the trade unions, taking a cross government approach and being cognisant of the priorities in Our Economic Resilience and Recovery Mission.  We will establish, in conjunction with Industry Wales, a body to oversee this work and measure progress.

This is just the beginning and there is clearly much work to do in putting this plan into action. I am determined that we should do all we can to encourage a vibrant and sustainable manufacturing sector capable of meeting the demands of today as well as the challenges of a post-COVID, post-Brexit world and beyond.   

I will keep Members informed as we take forward the immediate, medium and long term actions identified in the plan over the months and years to come.