Anyone visiting Cardiff recently will have noticed the proliferation of cranes piercing the skyline; its commercial property market is booming, with over two million square feet in development. Located at the heart of the city, the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone is a business district dedicated to financial and professional services. The 140-acre site around Cardiff Central station is being transformed. The Capital Quarter is also undergoing regeneration and plans are in place for a major new development on the site of the Brains brewery.
This economic growth is supported by the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) City Deal, a £1.2 billion collaboration between 10 of the region’s local authorities and the UK and Welsh governments. It is a deal designed to ensure that the benefits from this focused investment radiate out from the city centre to the surrounding areas. Its key priority is the development of the South Wales Metro, an integrated transport system that will transform the way people move around the region.
The UK and Ireland arm of the international credit insurance service provider Atradius has been headquartered in Cardiff Bay since 1995. Director, Alun Sweeney, is excited by the opportunities for new business the Metro will offer. He points to the importance of integrated transport systems in thriving business centres, like London, as positive examples of how: “a region-wide transport system will power future growth and help the region retain talent for the benefit of all.” And talent is crucial for future growth. He continues: Creating a larger pool of people with easy interconnected transport links across the region creates greater flexibility and thus more employment opportunities irrespective of where people live in the region.”
Cardiff remains one of the UK’s fastest growing locations for financial and business services. Part of the city’s appeal is its growing reputation for the quality of its workforce. A recent TheCityUK¹ report highlighted Cardiff’s expertise in data management and analytics – a big growth area for the financial and professional services industries. Rhiannon Williams, Human Resources Director for Target Group, backs this up. The company is a leading financial technology business that has built an internationally respected brand based in South Wales. Commenting on how the region is fast becoming a hub within the UK financial services sector, she said: “We have benefited hugely from the high-calibre people that are here. We are committed to the area and its people in the long-term as it continues to bring us nothing but success.”
There are now some 96,000 financial and professional services positions in the Cardiff Capital Region². Continuing job creation means the Metro is essential for the widening movement of increasing numbers of commuters in and out of the capital.
It is not just transport systems that are being linked up. Another important element in the development mix are the region’s universities and colleges. Working in collaboration with financial services companies in the area they are creating new and relevant course content that develops people with the necessary skills to meet current, real world business challenges. It is this kind of joined up thinking that is drawing big businesses to Cardiff, the kind of forward thinking that will continue to create exciting opportunities, not just in the capital, but in the region as a whole. Watch this space!
- Welsh Government Priority Sector Statistics 2015
- TheCityUK – UK-based financial and related professional services: Enabling growth across the UK