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Skills development at the heart of the Compound Semiconductor cluster’s growth

20th January 2022

Skills is a key focus of CSconnected Strength in Places Fund (SIPF), a £43M 55-month project part-funded through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund and which is focusing on strengthening an emerging regional cluster in South Wales around advanced semiconductor materials, research and manufacturing.

The skills element of the project has deliverables in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and in the coordination of education and outreach initiatives. Both are essential to help overcome the skills barriers that are currently limiting the growth of the CS cluster.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

A new report is available which identifies the short to mid-term CPD needs and demand from the compound semiconductor industry in South Wales. This CPD Scoping Report forms an important first-stage deliverable in the CSconnected SIPF skills work package that seeks to resource and accelerate the development of skills initiatives that will create the skilled workforce of the future for the region.

CPD is about up-skilling existing employees, re-skilling professionals from related sectors (potentially those made redundant) and providing new skills in latest research and technology developments. It also supports outreach and engagement initiatives through activities to upskill teachers, careers advisors and youth influencers, who are all essential to feeding the pipeline of the future workforce.

The report focuses on current gaps in provision and makes a series of recommendations about which CPD activities should be now prioritised for development.

Skills development will be essential to enabling growth of the CSconnected cluster with the number of jobs expected to more than double over the next three years. An aim is for CPD activities to reach more than 1,000 semiconductor professionals by 2025, including employees from supply chain organisations.

The "Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scoping report - CSconnected Strength in Places Fund" was first made available in November 2021 by Cardiff University's CPD unit after consultations with the CSconnected industry partners to better understand how to support the growth of the semiconductor cluster that is placing Wales at the epicentre of the global connectivity, electrification and net-zero revolution.

CPD priority topics

The CPD topics being developed in the first half of 2022 are:

  • Introduction to Compound Semiconductors (with content also covering semiconductors and photonics)
  • Cleanroom Protocols
  • Practical Cleanroom Skills (semiconductor manufacturing technologies in etching, wafer cleaving and wire bonding)

The intention is for these priority CPD courses to be available from summer ’22. They will be offered out on a chargeable basis and will be available to both individuals (looking to re-skill into the sector) and organisations (who are already embracing/plan to embrace compound semiconductor technologies). 

If you would like to find out more about the CSconnected SIPF CPD activities, please contact Kate Sunderland:

Kate Sunderland
CPD Project Manager – CSconnected
+44 (0)29 2087 9119

Outreach & engagement

To further support the delivery of the CSconnected SIPF skills package, Cardiff University and CSconnected are scoping the design and delivery of a range of outreach activities that will be undertaken over the next four years to increase interest in STEM related subjects and careers. CSconnected SIPF is also represented on the Cardiff Capital Region Regional Skills Partnership (CCRRSP) board that support the delivery of a shared CCR employment and skills agenda for the City Deal and Welsh Government.

If you would like to find out more about outreach & engagement activities, contact Chris Meadows:

Chris Meadows
Director - CSconnected.
+44 (0)29 225 10182

About CSconnected

CSconnected is the collective brand for a growing number of advanced semiconductor related activities in Wales, home to a unique community of academic institutions, prototyping facilities and global, high-volume manufacturing capabilities that collaborate across a range of research and innovation programs. CSconnected is uniquely positioned to develop a global advantage in a sovereign, key enabling technology which will allow Wales and the UK to increase trade globally in critical sectors such as 5G communications, autonomous and electric vehicles, advanced medical devices, and consumer electronics of the future.

In 2020, CSconnected received government funding provided through UK Research and Innovation’s flagship Strength in Places Fund (SIPF). The 55-month CSconnected SIPF project has a total value of £43million, supported by £25million of UKRI funds. It builds on Wales's regional strengths and integrates research excellence with a unique regional supply chain in compound semiconductor manufacturing.

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