Ogmore has seen so much economic change over the years, once agriculture was the mainstay that supported a small local population, the industrial revolution changed everything. Coal, across the area, created many jobs, attracting thousands of incomers who built new communities where once only a handful of farms existed. Tondu was at the forefront of the Iron industry.
These heavy industries are now but a memory albeit a recent one, but their legacy of villages in the Llynfi, Garw and Ogmore valleys remain. The town of Maesteg at the head of the Llynfi valley was a focal point and remains a valued asset to all of us who call Ogmore home.
The focus has changed with many of the residents of three valleys now commuting to Bridgend and Cardiff and Swansea along the M4 corridor to work.
A new industrial revolution is taking place, and it offers Ogmore a significant and unique opportunity. The global digital economy is worth billions, it is an economy that is growing year on year. Within the constituency in Pencoed we have fantastic examples of companies who are playing their part in the growth of that economy. A number of companies, big and small, are based at the technology centre, Sony, the biggest, manufacture their broadcast camera equipment there, the globally recognised Raspberry Pi microcomputer, which is changing the way children and young people learn about technology in schools, colleges and the home all over the world, are manufactured there in their thousands every week. Wales Interactive is one of the leading UK independent computer games companies, they produced the first ever bilingual, Welsh/English console game and now, as well as developing their own games, publish games for companies from all over the world. Dragon Studios attract productions from all over the world to Pencoed/Bryncae, content produced there is enjoyed globally.
So how do we tap in to this burgeoning economy? How do we ensure jobs are created not just along the M4 corridor but also in Maesteg, Pontycymer and Ogmore Vale? Our young people will soon be benefitting from a new curriculum that will develop the specific skills required through the Digital competency Framework. Bridgend college in its campuses in Pencoed and Bridgend already lead the way in offering courses that are developing the next generation of engineers, programmers and content creators.
Welsh medium education is creating a uniquely skilled bilingual work force, a new generation who can translate English digital content in to Welsh, and in doing so internationalising that content, making it ready to be adapted in to other languages globally.
Let us build on the success in Pencoed, let us develop a new economy, one that is growing globally. Lets make Ogmore the place companies in the UK come to in order to internationalise their digital content.
Ogmore already has a digital USP, we need to support, develop and exploit it. Remember that it is estimated that 50% of the jobs our children will be doing in years to come do not currently exist. We have an opportunity to ensure that those job opportunities will be at the heart of our communities.