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From coal to the cloud: technology’s role in the future of Wales

By: Dan Brew, Jargon Group Cardiff

Rewind the clock to the beginning of the 20th century and the Welsh economy looked very different to today. Coal mining, steel production and similar industries were the

mainstay of the economy providing valuable economic opportunities and were the bedrock of local communities, bringing people together in a shared economic vision.

For various reasons over the last few decades, those industries have declined and areas of Wales have unfortunately been left behind. The technology sector in the nation is today a beacon of hope, offering well-paid opportunities for people and the nation as a whole. Wales Tech Week 2023 demonstrated this and The Jargon Group was proud to help showcase the sector, providing media relations services to the organisers ahead of and during the event.

A history of technology trailblazing

Wales has been no shrinking violet regarding its contribution to the technology sector over the years. Edward Bowen, the son of a Swansea steelworker was pivotal to the development of radar and Donald Davies from Treorchy conceived the idea of ‘packet switching’, a fundamental part of modern computer networks. Today, trailblazers from Wales continue to make their mark in a new era of technological disruption and opportunity.

The role of clusters

Semiconductors are pivotal to modern devices and Wales is home to the world’s first

compound semiconductor cluster, combining the expertise of private industry and academia. Emerging technologies as well as current technologies are heavily reliant on semiconductors and work in this area is continuing to put Wales on the world stage.

In cybersecurity, there are similar clusters combining the voices and expertise of private

industry, defence organisations, police forces, academia and government. Expertise is not only being shared in Wales but internationally to help other countries become more resilient in the face of growing global cyber threats.

Clusters are nothing new when it comes to the Welsh economy and it’s hard to travel

through Wales without seeing areas geared towards certain industries. The promise of these technology clusters represents fresh opportunities as traditional industries decline in size and as some start to fade away entirely.

Seizing the opportunities

Wales might be a small nation but it’s made and continues to make a mighty contribution to the technology sector. It’s not just technology vendors that can claim a slice of the pie but the other organisations and businesses who support them. Working together is in Wales’ DNA, today that light shines brighter than ever as people and organisations collaborate to drive change.

The technology sector in 2021 employed 20,820 according to Tech Nation with a combined turnover of £3bn. So there’s an opportunity for thousands more jobs to be created in the decades to come for people across the country, through investment and collaboration between the private and public sectors, in creating the technologies and jobs of the future.


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