Lee Waters, AM and Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport at Welsh Government was recently welcomed to Torfaen by Councillor Anthony Hunt, Leader of Torfaen council. The minister visited a number of businesses in the borough, meeting with local business leaders and their staff with a view to discovering more about the SME sector, the local economy plus skills development.
Businesses visited include Flamgard Calidair, GOS Tool & Engineering and Pro Steel Engineering; also attending the site visits were Dawson Evans, Group Leader for Economy, Culture & Regeneration and Dave Leech, Head of Economy & Skills at Torfaen County Borough Council.
Steve Edwards, Managing Director at Pontypool headquartered Flamgard Calidair, which produces bespoke, high-quality HVAC equipment for use all around the globe commented
“Flamgard has always endeavoured to take an active role in the community, so we are always happy to welcome local authority members and government ministers. We discussed the strengths of the SME sector in our area with the minister, and what we can do to lend more support. I’m glad to say our conversations were very productive!”
“In partnership with local authorities and other progressive local businesses, Flamgard is looking to help create an industry-lead apprenticeship program for the region to help young people develop skills, and boost innovation and productivity in South Wales.”
The group also visited GOS Tool & Engineering based at Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate, Blaenavon which employs 120 people. Market leaders in Road Rail Vehicles in the UK, Rail Trailers in the UK and Germany and Flash-Butt Welders in the UK and Australia, they also place annually over £1.5m of sub-contract work to local engineering companies. GOS have also have won several awards for their designs and a joint award with The University of South Wales for the Network 75 Graduate Engineer Scheme.
Neil Gregory, Director at GOS stated,
“We are committed to continue the development of the business in Blaenavon and are delighted to at last see major investments in the South Wales Rail infrastructure. This will not only help our UK customers but also South Wales generally.”
Pro Steel Engineering was established in 2012 and is based at the Polo Grounds, New Inn, Pontypool. The firm specialises in the fabrication, painting, strengthening, maintenance and installation of structural steelwork across numerous sectors and have recently started exporting to Europe and North America. Director and co founder Richard Selby showed the group around the site which has worked on projects including the transformation of the Olympic Stadium and recently the creation of a giant, bespoke Welsh dragon for the new International Convention Centre, Celtic Manor Resort.
“I am passionate about providing opportunities for young people, and delighted to have been instrumental in funding and creating a bespoke apprenticeship scheme within the business. It was a great opportunity to meet with the Minister and discuss matters that affect the local SME sector, including skills.”