Is Wales Ready for the 21st Century?

The recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests held in Wales showed a poor result. In particular, Wales came 36th out of 68 countries for its assessment in science.

Dr Iwan Davies, Group Technology Director of IQE Europe Ltd., a Cardiff based company, said industry requires skills with a science and engineering base. He feels that these subjects should be seeded from primary school level all the way through to higher education. Education and Schools Minister, Huw Lewis is keen for the PISA tests to be voluntary within the school system, not for teaching for tests but for setting benchmarks for improvements to enable Welsh schools to compete with the rest of the world.


Big Business

It is a concern that future generations will not be able to take up the challenges they will face in the future. Certainly, there are plenty of big businesses in South Wales that feel this is the right location for their business. Companies like Sony, Next Generation Data and Logicalis all have bases in the Cardiff area. In fact, figures from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) show a 191% increase of foreign investment projects in the 2012-13 period in Wales.


For every large investor there are myriad SMEs built on their presence. It is the combination of these businesses that will provide sustainable growth for Wales. Nearly every new business wants, if not needs, a website to showcase their products or services. IT is big business and every company uses some kind of software. So, will Wales be fit to meet the challenge?

Even relatively small companies are seeing the benefits of expansion in the Cardiff and Caerphilly areas. One such company, has seen lots of new opportunities which have allowed expansion of their team of web developers. Web design in Caerphilly is just one of the beneficiaries of the growth of the technology industry in South Wales.

The Future of Web Design

It is no secret that we access the Internet on a regular basis. Web design has to accommodate the changing profile of the user. Figures from The Office of National Statistics state that 36 million (73%) adults in Great Britain accessed the Internet every day in 2013. Of these, 53% accessed the Internet via a mobile phone. With Smartphone’s and tablets gaining in popularity the future for web design is responsive.

Responsive design will mean a website can be viewed on any size screen. Given that all Smartphone’s and tablets are not built with a standard screen size it is essential that the web design can adapt. Additionally, speed is of the essence. The Google PageSpeed Developers recommend that content above the fold loads in less than one second and the rest of the page in under two seconds.

Of course, it is not only the need to view on mobile phones, Smartphones and tablets that has to be considered. Google Glass is due to launch in the UK in the coming months and web pages will need to be able to fit this latest technology too.

Technology moves forward faster than ever and it is important that we have the skills to move with it. Certainly the business community sees Wales as a great location. Providing the skill sets that will support these businesses lies with the Welsh government and their education programme.

Image Courtesy of 2nix/

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