A NEW training centre that will help thousands of Airbus workers learn about new wing technology has been unveiled.

The Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre in Broughton, was officially opened by Carwyn Jones, Wales First Minister.

Airbus employees and apprentices will develop and improve their skills using lightweight composite materials which are vital in the aerospace industry.

They will then test their skills in the manufacture of wings for the new Airbus A350 XWB.

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has committed £28.66m to the project that is a partnership with Airbus, Deeside College and Glyndwr University, which is leading the research into the use of the composite technology.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, speaking at the opening of the centre in the Hawarden Business Park, said: “Today we are bringing together Government, academia and industry under one roof for a single purpose – to keep Wales at the forefront on innovation and manufacturing.”

Thierry Baril, Airbus’ executive vice-president of HR, added: “The apprentices and employees who walk through that door will turn around and leave ready to work on the next generation of aircraft. They will be the foundation that anchors a strong manufacturing community in Wales, and the UK.”

Research at the Advanced Composite Training and Development Centre will be led by Glyndwr University, which is developing new manufacturing and processing techniques and lighter materials for aircraft.

Michael Scott, vice-chancellor and chief executive at Glyndwr University, said: “At a time when it is becoming increasingly important for universities to share their wealth of expertise with industry, the new composite centre is a hugely significant development for north east Wales. Tripartite collaborations between industry, Government and education are the way forward for the UK economy.”

David Jones, principal of Deeside College, added: “The latest development in advanced materials builds on many years work with partners across Wales to develop new approaches to training. I am delighted that we have this fantastic partnership centre as a focus for this work.”

Airbus’ new A350XWB aircraft is due to start operating from 2013.

More than 500 firm orders from 33 customers have already been received for the A350 XWB.