HC Deb 02 March 1981 vol 1000 cc6-7
5. Mr. Roy Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has received calling for the establishment of a centre of excellence in Gwent; what reply he has sent; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Roberts

The initiative launched by my right hon. Friend in regard to the education and training needs of high technology industry has met with an encouraging response. Several colleges have expressed interest in the idea of a centre of excellence in this field and called attention to their own facilities.

Mr. Hughes

Will the Minister bear in mind that two microchip establishments are now to be situated in south Gwent, and that we hope that there are more to come? Would it not be useful now if an appropriate course, together with equipment, were to be established at the Gwent college of higher education? Can the Minister say what is being done about this important matter?

Mr. Roberts

I am glad to see that the hon. Member for Newport (Mr. Hughes) supports our initiative in trying to establish a centre of excellence. We have met members of industry and of educational institutions to seek their ideas on this matter. I have proposed to the chairman of the Gwent county council that we should meet soon to discuss the matter further.

Mr. Rhodes James

Will my hon. Friend take note of the example of Cambridge, where the key factor is the link between industry and higher education, and where it is of mutual benefit to both? Will he agree that if this can be made at the initiation of the project it will be to the advantage of all?

Mr. Roberts

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. We are particularly anxious to provide the necessary back-up facilities in Wales, so that we can support any industries—microelectronic industries or other modern industries—which come into the Principality.