Miller Research, in partnership with Semta were delighted to be commissioned by the Welsh Government to carry out a labour market research project to understand the manufacturing and assembly labour requirements and associated skills needs of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project. The £1.3bn project aims to harness the immense power of the 7-9 meter tidal range in the Swansea Bay and will feature a specially constructed 9.5km causeway, forming a lagoon able to generate enough power for over 100,000 homes. The project will be a first of its kind in the world and thus offers Wales the opportunity to be at the forefront of this potential new industry.

Our study established a forecast of the demand for labour for the manufacturing and assembly aspects of the main components required for the project by drawing on the knowledge and expertise of the preferred contractors and the independent Tidal Lagoon Industry Advisory Group. The study estimated that around 1,197 FTE jobs would be supported during a five year build period, with a further 28 FTE jobs supported every year for the duration of the project’s life (estimated to be at least 120 years), giving a total maximum number of FTEs supported of 1,225. As the majority of jobs will be for technical / skilled labour the project is providing higher level jobs which will provide a much needed boost to the Welsh manufacturing industry. At present, it is estimated that the Welsh economy has the capability to provide around 54% of the labour (if they successfully win contracts to supply the components) which could rise to as much as 92% should sufficient investment be made. Importantly to the Welsh economy, the largest proportion (49%) of the demand is required for the fabrication of metals – an industry that Wales has a sizeable existing industry, although there are gaps in capabilities – notably the fabrication of large metal objects, hence the need for investment to maximise the opportunities in Wales. On the other hand, 20% of the demand is for steel casting – an industry in which there is currently no expertise in Wales. Clearly, investment is needed in Wales, both for infrastructure and skills investments in people, to make sure that the Welsh economy can capitalise on the opportunity.

The final report was published by the Welsh Government on the 28th July 2016 and can be accessed on the Welsh Government’s Learning Observatory. Click here to access the full report.

BBC Wales covered the release of the report which can be accessed via the link below: