£20m security centre first fruit of Valleys project
THE first project under the Welsh Government’s Tech Valleys initiative will see a £20m cyber security centre in Blaenau Gwent in collaboration with French tech giant Thales.
The National Digital Exploitation Centre (NDEC) will be the first research and development facility of its kind in Wales, and will provide the perfect setting for SMEs and microbusinesses to test and develop their digital concepts.
The Welsh Government has committed £100m in funding to the Tech Valleys project over the next decade, which aims to create 1,500 hi-tech jobs.
The initial project is expected to create 11 jobs. However, its value added will be felt much wider in the economy by supporting indigenous firms to exploit digital opportunities globally and well as providing the skills and the knowledge to secure UK projects and funding - including from the UK Government’s industrial strategy.
The centre is expected to become operational in 2021
The NDEC will be delivered by Thales in collaboration with the University of South Wales (USW).
The university will run an advanced cyber institute at the centre that will provide a base for academic research, and will also operate a digital education centre that will enable SMEs, schools and individuals with the skills they need to protect themselves online.
Thales have already moved into a project office at Ebbw Vales Works site. Construction work is scheduled to start in the spring. Both the Welsh Government and Thales have committed £10m each to the project which is expected to generate significant income.
Economy Minister Ken Skates said: “I am delighted that the Welsh Government is working in partnership with global technology company Thales on a new £20m cyber centre that will be located in Blaenau Gwent and right at the heart of our Tech Valleys project.
“I am confident that through our partnership with Thales and the University of South Wales we will work to stimulate and create employment in high value technology businesses – an ambition that is right at the heart of our Tech Valleys project.”
Gareth Williams, vice president, secure communications and information Systems, Thales, said: “We are very pleased to be working with the Welsh Government, University of South Wales and Blaenau Gwent Council to deliver the NDEC. This will act as a cornerstone of our cyber security capabilities in the UK, providing a test bed for our technology, while also providing a catalyst for regeneration in the region. This facility will be a centre of cyber and digital development and education, and a connection for South Wales to major technology centres across the United Kingdom.”
Professor Julie Lydon, University of South Wales (USW) vice chancellor, said: “USW is already a recognised expert in cyber security, with our Newport-based National Cyber Security Academy (NCSA) working closely with businesses to give students real-life experience in the sector.
“This expertise in preparing students for a career in industry means we are ideally placed to support the NDEC’s aim of harnessing academic research and graduate education to develop market insight, enhance technological capability, and develop a skilled labour force in Ebbw Vale and the wider South Wales region through its educational outreach, CPD courses, and support for SMEs.
“This project will be a significant step in building the region’s reputation in the ever-expanding global market for cyber graduates and research expertise.”
> Ken Skates, the Economy Minister, has welcomed the new cyber centre