Our Region In Action – The latest in Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusion and Connectivity

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Our Region in Action

Early summer has brought major news in each of the four areas identified as key CCR goals – with the University of South Wales revealing a record year for innovation and enterprise … ACT announcing a bespoke Higher Apprenticeship in Environmental Management … Welsh Government launching the flagship ReAct+ Programme to offer personalised support into work … and world-leading Thales joining the management board of the Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales in Ebbw Vale …

 

INNOVATION

USW celebrates record year for innovation in enterprise

The University of South Wales (USW) is celebrating another huge year of success in nurturing student and graduate entrepreneurship, through a range of enterprise programmes that has seen expansion of USW graduate incubators to each of its three campuses.

Ongoing support from both the Welsh Government and Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCW) has helped set a record of 3,500 USW students being introduced to entrepreneurship – through awareness-raising activities that include roadshows, shout outs, inspirational talks and competitions that encourage students to consider starting their own business.

The results have been impressive to say the least, with USW recording the highest number of graduate start-up businesses in Wales during 2021, according to the Higher Education Business and Community Interaction Survey.

The scale of success is testimony to the USW approach that views innovation and enterprise as integral to everything students do, driven by a 2030 strategy to change lives and the world for the better.

One of the most successful new initiatives has been the appointment of an Entrepreneurship Champion within each of the 10 academic schools at USW, focusing on building enterprise into every course and spotlighting business business ideas from across the institution – with a record £30,000 of funding distributed to student and graduate businesses through a mixture of £250 test trade pots, awards of £250-£1,000 made by the Bright Ideas Den, and £1,000-£5,000 funds awarded by the Springboard Pitching Competition.

Beyond all that, the Cardiff Start-Up Stiwdio reopened it doors to graduate entrepreneurs, through a refurbished space at USW’s Newport Campus, with a further Stiwdio planned to be established on the Treforest Campus in the summer of 2022, to support science, computing and engineering graduates looking to start or develop their own business.

 

SUSTAINABILITY

Bespoke Environmental Course unveiled for Welsh Business Community

Business leaders across the Cardiff Capital Region can now complete a tailor-made qualification in environmental management, thanks to South Wales training provider ACT, which has designed a pioneering new qualification focused on addressing the practical corporate challenges of climate change.

The COP26 climate change summit spotlighted that businesses worldwide have a huge part to play in working together to protect our planet – with the Welsh Government leading the way in setting ambitious targets for our firms in the race to zero.

ACT’s Higher Apprenticeship in Management with a focus on Environmental Management is aimed at business leaders across Wales, and is aligned with the Welsh Government’s pledge to make Wales a Net Zero Nation by 2050.

Those who enrol on the course will learn how to monitor and manage the impact of their company on the environment; as well as how to carry out environmental audits on firms – becoming equipped with the knowledge and skills to draft and implement plans for environmental sustainability.

ACT has seven training centres throughout the region, including Barry, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Ebbw Vale and Pontypool, offering a diverse range of qualifications across more than 30 industries.

 

INCLUSIVITY

Flagship NEET Programme launched to help more people into work

As Wales experiences a near-record low rate of unemployment, a new flagship Welsh Government programme has been launched to provide personalised support to people who are not currently in education, employment or training (NEET) – with a focus on helping individuals who face difficulties and barriers to securing or staying in sustained employment.

The new ReAct+ programme puts power back into the hands of people so that they can find the support that’s right for them – ensuring that flexible training is available alongside bespoke help in searching for a job, building on the success of the current ReAct programme by providing a direct application process, financial support and free expert careers advice.

ReAct+ will provide people with a clear pathway from the Working Wales employability service into sustainable work, with a particular focus on helping vulnerable groups take advantage of job opportunities through a new online application process, tailored personalised budgets and bespoke support system.

The aim is to help those people who currently feel a long way from the job market, recognising the unique barriers faced by every individual and delivering the bespoke support that’s needed by every individual, whether that be help with childcare cost, travel costs, mentoring or skills support.

Support will include:
● Up to £1,500 of training
● Up to £4,500 to help with childcare or other care costs
● £300 to help with travel costs that make training possible
● Personal development support of £500 to help remove barriers to work – including mentoring to increase personal confidence and resilience
● Access to wage subsidies when training.

Employers taking part in ReAct+ receive help towards the first year’s wages of new employees, as well as funding for job-related training – on a new programme that is a key commitment in the Welsh Government’s Employability and Skills Plan launched earlier this year, designed to ensure that no person gets left behind in a journey towards a fairer and more equal Wales.

 

CONNECTIVITY

World-leader Thales joins Board of Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales

The Cyber Resilience Centre for Wales (WCRC) has announced that global cyber security and technology leader Thales is the ninth organisation to join its management board.

Thales, which co-founded the National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) in Ebbw Vale in partnership with Welsh Government and in collaboration with the University of South Wales, researches and develops innovative technological and c connectivity solutions for organisations in many different sectors, providing significant support and funding to universities and research institutions across Wales, as well as employing 1,100 people in high-value jobs.

This major new development comes at a time when cyber crime is a growing concern across the world, with the latest data threat report showing that one in five businesses would be willing to pay ransom for their data. Embracing the strengths and expertise of a world-class cyber expert such as Thales is sure to bolster still further CCR’s vision of being a catalyst for innovation and technological growth – reinforcing our region’s capability to combat cyber crime and build a resilient economy where businesses of all sizes can enjoy a secure and prosperous future.

To discover more about the latest in Innovation, Sustainability, Inclusivity and Connectivity across Southeast Wales, go to www.cardiffcapitalregion.wales

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