It has this week been announced that a substantial £38m has been invested in a facility to make compound semiconductors; the technology behind robotics, 5G and the globe’s latest technology focus – driverless cars.
Set to be developed in Newport, the facility has been financially supported by the ten local councils in the Cardiff Capital Region, with this foundry expected to create close to 2,000 skilled jobs in the next years. According to the firm, these will all be highly paid jobs, with the going rate predicted to be around £65,000 a year.
With a mission to ‘boost Wales’ global reputation’, this money follows a £12m investment from Welsh Government back in 2015, and while the facility will be owned by the councils, a £375m sum is to be generated through private sector investment. This will allow for the £8m required to refurbish the Newport base, £30m to kit it out with all the technology needed, as well as money for further development projects and salaries.
While some smaller firms are already using semiconductors from silicon, the aim for this investment is to create a network of companies and help them progress further, positioning Wales as a world leader in making and developing such pioneering technologies.
First Minister, Carwyn Jones says:
“The announcement is great news for Wales – and the first of many new exciting projects set to make a real difference to the economy of south east Wales and, ultimately, to people’s lives.”
Chairman of the City Deal regional cabinet, Rhonda Cynon Taf council leader Andrew Morgan, said the foundry was the “first tangible demonstration” of the partnership in action.
In addition to the great things these semiconductors will give way to, details on the investment itself have also been divulged. According to sources, the investment is by no means a grant or loan, but a commercial investment, with the original investment plus interest to be rewarded back to the councils over the lifetime of the project.