Cardiff is a progressive city which has at its core impressive economic growth and physical transformation. The city has experienced spectacular economic growth over the last 10 years and was recently ranked 4th for growth potential in the UK [Experian, 2007].
Cardiff now boasts one of the fastest growing economies in the UK and the highest growth in private sector employment over the last 10 years of all UK Core Cities. The UK Competitiveness Index 2010 ranked Cardiff strongly overall, being one of only four larger cities achieving a level of competitiveness above the UK average.
In the early 1900s, Cardiff controlled the global market for coal, its docks were the world’s largest exporter and the city’s Coal Exchange set the world price. In recent times, Cardiff’s economy has become more diverse but remains equally ambitious. Heavy industry has given way to a transformed economy, with dynamic knowledge driven sectors competing effectively at the highest level.
The city boasts an above average number of people employed in knowledge based sectors with the greatest opportunities for growth in Financial & Professional Services, Creative Industries and Life Sciences. 25% of Cardiff’s work force is employed in the Financial & Professional services sector; it has a cluster of around 100 Life Sciences related companies and is home to the largest concentration of media employment outside of London.
Cardiff is the economic driver for a city-region of 1.4 million people, with a pool of 14 million people within a two-hour drivetime. It has one of the best student retention rates in the UK, reflecting the city’s high quality employment offer and outstanding quality of life.
Located on the M4 corridor, and within easy reach of London, Cardiff attracts a highly skilled workforce at favourable costs compared to London and its immediate surroundings. Excellent local transport links enable over a third of Cardiff’s labour pool to travel into the city each day from neighbouring cities and towns.
A cosmopolitan city, its large student population and strong cultural heritage brings a unique blend of vibrancy and diversity that inspires creativity. Technology and knowledge intensive industries now employ around 47,500 people in the city supported by the world-class research at the city-regions universities.
The available labour pool is highly skilled and has a skill rating that is above the national average with 40% of Cardiff’s workforce qualified to degree or degree level equivalent.
Productivity is a key factor – the total economic output of Cardiff per job filled is above the UK average and loyalty also ranks highly.
Training support is excellently supported by the Welsh Government who has a network of qualified and quality-audited training advisors who offer a free diagnostic service and free training advice. A company can quality for further assistance on their advice.
The take-up of modern apprenticeships in Wales is double that in England and in support of this the Welsh Government offers a number of initiatives to encourage employers to recruit more apprentices. One of the most popular is the Young Recruits Programme. This is an all Wales programme that provides funding to employers offering high quality apprenticeship programmes who recruit and train additional young apprentices (16-24 yrs old).