Welsh small and medium-sized manufacturers have a lot to gain from British luxury carmaker, Aston Martin developing its second UK manufacturing plant in South Wales.
Aston Martin launched Phase II of the development at its new St Athan site with a special ceremony on April 6.
The former military site was officially handed over from the Ministry of Defence to Aston Martin by Secretary of State Sir Michael Fallon at a ceremony including Aston Martin president and CEO Dr Andy Palmer, and Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns and Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones.
Aston Martin St Athan is on target to commence production of the company’s new SUV, the Aston Martin DBX, in 2019.
It was also announced that contracts worth more than £60m are available to businesses across Wales following the Welsh government’s decision to open its Sell2Wales procurement channel to the luxury car maker.
It is the first time that private sector contracts have been advertised on Sell2Wales and will ensure Welsh SMEs have easy access to the raft of contracts being awarded by Aston Martin for work linked to the preparation and commencement of production
Aston Martin contracts worth several million pounds have already been advertised on Sell2Wales for Phase I of work at St Athan, with Ammanford-based construction firm, TRJ being one of the main beneficiaries.
Dr Palmer explained: “Due to its sheer size and scale, the St Athan Super Hangars represented an excellent opportunity for us to build our second manufacturing facility, within the envelope of an existing structure. It is perhaps fitting that St Athan is, like our headquarters and sports car factory at Gaydon, a former Royal Air Force base.”
The First Minister commented: “Aston Martin is already having a positive influence on the economy of Wales with more than 40 Welsh workers already employed at the Gaydon site, and we know that many more job opportunities will follow before 2020.
“The company’s move to St Athan is a major success story for Wales and I look forward to continuing to build on our working partnership with the company in order to bring maximum benefits to our economy and enhance our worldwide reputation.”
Aston Martin St Athan
Last year Aston Martin announced it had selected St Athan from 20 potential global locations it had been considering for its second manufacturing facility as part of a £200m investment in new products and facilities.
The St Athan site is expected to employ 750 workers before 2020, with a likely 3,000 more across the supply chain and local businesses in Wales. It is estimated the move will bring economic benefits worth half a billion pounds to Wales.
Phase I commenced in late 2016 when Aston Martin was first given access to part of the site and began to create the customer and staff reception areas, administration and management offices and the employee restaurant.
Phase II marks the beginning of the project that will see the three super hangars redeveloped into cutting-edge manufacturing facility.
The new plant brings employment opportunities to South Wales; a recruitment event last year attracted 3,000 applications and already the first technicians are working on the DB11 at Gaydon, training for the highly-skilled roles they will take up at St Athan in 2020.