The Rt Hon Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister of Wales, recently opened Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's £13.6M centre of excellence for engineering in Llangefni. Canolfan Sgiliau Technoleg Menai (Canolfan STeM) is Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's largest capital build to date and features the highest quality, most state-of-the-art engineering training equipment in Wales. Dafydd Evans, Chief Executive Officer of Grŵp Llandrillo Menai said:

Our core purpose at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai is to support the economy of North Wales by equipping local people with the skills and qualifications needed to ensure the competitiveness and success of the region.

As part of this, we have a Growth Strategy for Engineering and are committed to promoting development in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) across all our sites in Rhyl, Rhos-on-Sea, Glynllifon, Pwllheli, Dolgellau and Llangefni.

With a wealth of employment opportunities expected to be created by energy and infrastructure projects being proposed for North Wales, we identified an opportunity to make Coleg Menai's Llangefni campus a nationally recognised campus for supporting industry.

This formed part of our overall masterplan for Llangefni, which has seen an overall investment of £20.35M between 2016 to 2019.

Disciplines taught at Canolfan STeM include Welding, Fabrication, Automotive (light and heavy), Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic, Control and Instrumentation (CandI), Operations and Maintenance (OandM), Aeronautical and Plumbing. Spanning 4612m2 over three floors, Canolfan STeM features workshops, Mechanical Systems and Electrical Training, CAD Suites, IT based training classrooms and a second floor glazed refectory featuring breathtaking panoramic views of Snowdonia.

The centre also offers bespoke training facilities for Computer Aided Manufacturing and Automation and Robotics, as well as the only Flow Loop Simulator in the the UK. Canolfan STeM was funded by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai alongside its partners, Welsh Government, who contributed £6.8M toward the scheme, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (£2M) and Horizon Nuclear Power (£1M). First Minister Mark Drakeford said:

It's a privilege to officially open Canolfan STeM, which will be a great asset for Anglesey and the wider area.

It is crucial Wales continues to develop a skilled workforce, which enables us to develop, in turn, a highly-skilled economy. I am particularly pleased that Canolfan STeM will allow its students access to some of those fields essential to our future economic prospects.

The Welsh Government has invested almost £7m in this project through our 21st Century Schools and Education programme, demonstrating our commitment to the area and to improving skills.

There are many challenges ahead, which we will face together, but developments such as Canolfan STeM are an investment in the future of Anglesey and North Wales.

To acknowledge the generous support received for the project, Canolfan STeM's main workshop has been named the NDA Workshop. NDA Chairman, Tom Smith, said:

Our socio-economic strategy is a fundamental part of NDA's mission to decommission and clean up the UK's nuclear legacy.

The new facility will provide first-class training for people in North Wales for generations and I'm honoured that the College has chosen to recognise our contribution by naming the workshop after the NDA.

Canolfan STeM will provide training to learners of all ages, from school enrollments to full / part time higher and further education courses, to work based learning and commercial clients. Recruitment is currently underway for courses from September 2019. Duncan Hawthorne, Chief Executive Officer of Horizon Nuclear Power said:

Grŵp Llandrillo Menai's new Canolfan STeM in Llangefni is testimony to the excellent partnership working between the Grŵp, Horizon Nuclear Power and other key investors. A legacy for 'home grown' engineers of the future to be trained in world-class facilities.

During construction, the project created high value contracts and supply chain opportunities locally in North Wales, with 81% of products and services procured from within the region and over 85% of the overall workforce being from North Wales.

Dafydd Evans concluded:

We're extremely proud of Canolfan STeM. Only by creating opportunities for learners can we secure our future prosperity. We are confident that Canolfan STeM is a major step forward in helping us achieve our vision of providing a skills base that will attract investors into North Wales.

We're now recruiting for courses from September 2019 and would strongly urge learners with an interest in STEM subjects to come and take advantage of the world-class facilities and training we have on offer.