CCR launches £4.73M Cluster Development and Growth Programme to nurture priority Skills, vital Academic/Industry Partnerships and bespoke Business Growth Programmes

Press Release – Other

Cardiff Capital Region has this week launched a unique Cluster Development and Growth Programme: opening up four exceptional tender opportunities for local enterprises to shape the emerging priority skillsets of South East Wales – as well as providing a ‘call-to-action’ for local businesses to become part of high-value Academic-Industry Partnerships and Business Growth Programmes, geared to ‘good growth.’   

The Programme is part-funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with each tender open to suppliers capable of delivering ambitious programmes that deliver sustainable results focused on increasing the life chances of people – and improving the success of enterprises – across the most populous Region in Wales.

Specific areas for transformative service provision include:

  • A series of demand-led Digital, Net Zero and Advanced Manufacturing skills initiatives – tailored to meet industry demand and delivered in collaboration with industry, education and academia – with each intervention geared to tackling key skills shortages, building resilient talent pipelines and supporting business growth, whilst encouraging social mobility and ‘widening access’ to people of all backgrounds.
  • A significant increase in the number of knowledge-based businesses that provide high-wage jobs in South East Wales, by engaging with predominantly SME businesses – connecting them with subject matter experts and research academics who can add real-world competitive advantage through a programme of Academic-Industry Partnerships.
  • Provision of expert scale-up support to CCRs priority clusters – via a bespoke Business Growth Programme that will help meet the near-term and longer-term growth requirements of sectors that include Compound Semiconductors, Creative Industries, Cybersecurity, Fintech and Medtech.    

All four tenders are now open for a 30-day period – with potential service providers invited to begin the process by registering their interest at:

View Notice – Sell2Wales (

Rhys Thomas, Chief Operating Officer of Cardiff Capital Region, emphasised the big picture opportunity that sits at the heart of the Cluster Development and Growth Programme:

“This is a programme for enterprises and individuals who want to build South East Wales on higher performing organisations that provide better jobs for more people – all driven by the latest skills, in the most sustainable way possible.

“The funding opens up game-changing opportunities for many different stakeholders in the fast-growing ecosystem of our Region – helping us achieve our vision for each priority sector, together with our wider Net Zero ambitions, all aligned with CCR’s Regional Economic & Industrial Plan.   

 “Ultimately, this is all about building a robust skill, knowledge transfer and business growth infrastructure – setting CCR apart as a hotbed of talent, supporting our sustainable economic growth and encouraging new inward investment.”

Rowena O’Sullivan, Head of Skills & Talent for CCR, notes the opportunity available to enterprises in a variety of sectors:

“Tenderers can bid for all four lots, or for individual lots. So there are a variety of organisations in a number of sectors that could be interested – including Skills Providers, HEIs, FEs, business development organisations, growth studios and companies running business accelerator programmes.

“Each specific skills intervention will help promote better economic inclusion by focusing on the New Skilling, Reskilling and Upskilling needs of micro-businesses, SMEs and primes operating in the CCR priority sectors – developing a much more diverse workforce, and rooting the skills provision in local places with a local context for our local populations.”


With the tender process now open, contracts are expected to start in September 2023 and run until March 2025.


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Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) is co-sponsoring the Science & Technology Village (SaTV) at the 2024 National Eisteddfod along with the University of South Wales (USW). 

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