Business Environment in Cardiff Airport and St Athan
Skills & Academia
The local and national industrial heritage means your workforce here is highly skilled and experienced in manufacturing and engineering: aerospace, defence and automotive have been key industries for over 50 years locally, with particular expertise in MRO, engineering and training, while productivity levels are higher in Wales than the UK.
The Zone has well-established links with our universities, who produce over 2,000 engineering graduates every year and whose commercially-focused academics are already collaborating with businesses here on industry research.
World-class aerospace education is literally on the doorstep with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)-approved training providers operating from a purpose-built centre next to the airport.
The International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT) is one of the UK’s leading aerospace education and training providers, with a worldwide reputation for excellence.
It operates from a purpose-built facility adjacent to Cardiff Airport, less than 5 miles away, and is one of only a few UK centres to have gained CAA and EASA approval as a Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Training Organisation.
Just an hour away at Swansea University, the Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre is conducting world-leading research in structural materials to improve the efficiency and environmental sustainability of gas turbine engines. The centre is also helping to train the next generation of world-class materials scientists and metallurgical engineers in structural metallics.
Alongside the availability of local talent and experience, your investment in people here is worthwhile: graduates tend to stay and research shows our workforce is particularly loyal.
Cardiff Airport & St Athan Enterprise Zone is a leading UK aerospace location, with a 50+-year track record in this and the defence industries.
With major defence and aerospace operators already here, the local technical expertise is rich, with particular experience in MRO, while the supply chain is established but with room for more.
Local engineering and manufacturing skills are embedded, which means businesses in these fields have a ready workforce, and our on-site airport offers quick connections for international travel and cargo.
Who’s already here
Some of the world's biggest aerospace and defence companies have bases here in Wales, including Airbus, GE Aviation, British Airways, BAE Systems, EADS, General Dynamics and Marshall.
Within south east Wales, British Airways has three MRO facilities, including British Airways Maintenance, Cardiff (BAMC), one of the largest in the UK based here within this Enterprise Zone and responsible for major maintenance and cabin interior conversions of BA’s entire long-haul fleet.
GE also operates one of the largest engine MRO facilities in the world here in south east Wales, and Nordam Europe undertakes the repair and maintenance of control surfaces, engine reversal thrusters and nacelles.
Aston Martin is on its way here, following the luxury car manufacturer’s announcement in February 2016 that it had chosen the St Athan site from among 20 global locations to produce its latest SUV model - the DBX. Full production is expected to begin in 2020 with the creation of 750 new jobs and a further 1000 in the supply chain.
Quality of life
Living close to this Zone, in the semi-rural Vale of Glamorgan, offers the best of both worlds: the area’s towns and villages are packed full of traditional charm and character and set along beautiful coast and countryside, while being on the doorstep of our capital city.
Cardiff is the number 2 city in the UK for employees’ quality of life¹ - one of the reasons we have a particularly loyal workforce and that graduates tend to stay once they get a job here.
The city regularly features in the UK and Europe’s best cities to live in surveys², is a UK top five retail location³, with its impressive St David’s shopping centre and Edwardian and Victorian arcades.
It is a ‘city of parks’, with more green space per person than any other core UK city. With world class venues such as the Principality Stadium and the Millennium Centre, Cardiff hosts major events, from international sport such as Ashes test cricket, FA Cup Finals and international rugby World Cups to international arts festivals.
Cardiff has been described as the ‘epitome of cool’ by the Lonely Planet travel guide, with the city centre and the bay combining to offer a sophisticated urban lifestyle with mountains, coast and countryside all on the doorstep.
Best of all, this is underpinned by an affordable cost of living, with excellent state and private schools and a wide variety of quality housing that makes Cardiff one of Europe’s most liveable cities.
¹ source: Cushman and Wakefield
² eg, UK’s best city to live in (Moneysupermarket survey 2014); top UK city for quality of life, European Commission’s 2013 Urban Audit
³ Source: Going Shopping 2013: the definitive guide to shopping centres
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