Business Environment in Deeside

Business Environment in Deeside Banner

Skills & Academia

man using computer

More people in Deeside work in manufacturing than in any other field – including retail and the whole of the public sector - playing a big part in achieving Welsh productivity levels which are higher than the UK average.

But it’s not just about heritage here, it’s also about developing new, advanced manufacturing materials and techniques, through innovation, research and collaboration between industry and academia, supported by the Welsh Government and local authority.

This collaboration can be seen throughout the Zone, as the local academic institutions and public sector have worked alongside major companies including Airbus, Tata Steel, Toyota and UPM for decades to drive manufacturing skills and expertise.

The Zone’s Advanced Composites Research, Training and Development Centre, for example, helps thousands of Airbus employees to develop their skills and was the result of a partnership between Glyndŵr University, Airbus, Coleg Cambria and the Welsh Government. Today, not only does it support thousands of Airbus employees in skills development, it also works with businesses and academia on R&D projects.

Our Sustainable Envelope Building Centre, which focuses on developing low and zero carbon solutions for the built environment, is co-funded by Tata Steel, the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI) and the Welsh Government. It also works closely with other Welsh technology companies and helps develop supply chains for the installation and maintenance of any solutions that emerge.

New businesses are supported here through apprenticeships and bespoke training from our established partner colleges and universities.

Coleg Cambria already delivers bespoke workforce training and development for companies across the Zone and has even developed a dedicated Centre for Aerospace Training in response to local employer demand.

Our ambition to remain at the cutting-edge of advanced materials and manufacturing means that investment is sustained and future-focused. We are planning a new Advanced Manufacturing Institute in the Zone, for example, which will focus on the commercialisation of new technologies, and developing the engineers and technicians needed to apply them.

So you can expect a highly skilled talent pool born into a manufacturing tradition and developed through constantly evolving productive environments. And you can choose among a working population of over 2 million living within a 30-minute commute.


North Wales is a major manufacturing and engineering location with considerable strengths in the aerospace, automotive, food, paper, electronics and green energy sectors. Deeside itself has one of the largest concentrations of aerospace manufacturing companies in the UK,

Some of the UK’s top manufacturers are located within the Zone, with many, such as Airbus, sharing a site with their supply chain companies.

Manufacturing is so long established here that it’s in the area’s DNA, but the Zone’s focus is firmly on the future and developing cutting edge materials and technology for advanced manufacturing.

This is already happening through innovation and research taking place throughout the Zone, such as at the Advanced Composites Research, Training and Development Centreand there are plans to develop an on-site Advanced Manufacturing Institute for the commercialisation of new technologies..

Who’s already here

The Enterprise Zone is already the preferred location for many of the UK's top companies, including:

  • Airbus - The single, largest employment site in the UK is one of only two sites in the world capable of building ‘big wings’ for modern commercial aircraft. Its 6,500-strong workforce works alongside a further 2,000 who work for associated subcontractors and suppliers on the same site.
  • Toyota - Shotton is the only Toyota location outside Japan that manufactures hybrid engines.
  • UPM - One of the largest UK-based manufacturer of newsprint, now produced from wholly recycled sources.
  • Tata Steel - Its main operations in energy-saving building technologies are at its Shotton site, including the new Sustainable Building Envelope Centre.

Quality of life

view in a factory

Deeside is on the Welsh-English border in the county of Flintshire, with its diverse mix of market towns and villages.

On the doorstep are cities, coast and countryside, ranging from the historic charms of the English city of Chester just eight kilometres (five miles) east, to the mountains and shores of Snowdonia to the west.

With its castles and coastline, the area includes some of North Wales’s most unspoilt natural environment, as well as a wealth of cultural and sporting activities, such as the National Centre for Ice Sports and Wales’s first indoor extreme sporting arena, the Evolution Extreme Centre based at the Deeside Leisure Centre. 

The Clwydian Range, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which forms the backbone of the county and features ancient forts and fascinating landscapes, is perhaps best enjoyed by walking Offa’s Dyke, the footpath that follows the Welsh border with England.

All this is underpinned by an affordable cost of living, where average selling prices for residential properties are some 33% below the UK average.

Within the Zone, the Northern Gateway site will provide a mix of new housing and community facilities, presenting a truly sustainable development of high quality but affordable accommodation.

Visit each Zone to find out more: