CBI Wales has called for businesses to be ready to make the most of investment in major construction projects, in particular the electrification of the rail network
Construction projects such as the £1.1bn electrification of the rail line between London and south Wales are set to benefit businesses in Wales, but only if they are ready to act.
Director of CBI Wales Emma Watkins said: “Businesses need to make sure they are positioned to take advantage.”
She warned that Wales is sitting “on the verge” of a number of large scale projects. This could boost local businesses if the nation is poised ready to seize these opportunities.
The electrification of the rail network is just one of many proposed construction projects in the nation. It will see the line between Cardiff and London electrified by 2017, and between Cardiff and Swansea by 2018.
In a bid to train skilled workers, a special track has been built at Coleg y Cymoedd at Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taff. This enables apprentices to be trained without facing dangers.
Wayne Chawner from McGinley Support Services, who runs the rail training programme at the college said: “These guys are going to be working on tracks adjacent to 125 mile an hour locomotives coming past them. It’s 29 seconds for those trains to travel a mile.”
Skilled workers will also be required to develop the M4 relief road, the Hinkley Point and Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plants, and the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon. Plans need to be in place to ensure skilled workers are available to carry out these projects ahead of them starting, said CBI Wales.
Director of Construction Skills and Strategy at Neath Port Talbot College Wyn Pritchard said training providers and companies are working together to ensure there are skilled workers for the electrification projects, but not for the other schemes.