SWANSEA University’s new bay campus will be a major boost for skills and will create around 12,000 jobs, according to a uni vice-chancellor.
Professor Richard B Davies said the "iconic" development would lead the way in creating a knowledge-based economy in South West Wales.
The £450million beachfront development off Fabian Way will be home to the university’s new science research and teaching centre, hi-tech start-up businesses and a community of some 900 students.
The campus is due to open its doors in September 2015.
Speaking during a visit to the site today, Professor Davies said: “The new campus will provide the best university facilities in the UK, in an outstanding location — it is an iconic development.
“There will be a vibrant community of people living and working here, and it will have all the facilities you need for a little town.
“It is about leading the charge in creating a successful knowledge-based economy, and giving fantastic life and job opportunities to our students — we don’t want the hi-tech jobs of tomorrow to go abroad, we want them here in Swansea Bay.”
He predicted that by 2020 the campus would generate up to 12,000 permanent jobs.
Work started on the 65acre site — the former BP transit site at the western end of Swansea docks — in May this year.
Construction of the student accommodation is well under way, and the steel frames for the hi-tech manufacturing centre and the “great hall” — which will house seminar rooms and nine lecture theatres — are rising from the ground, while preparations are being made to start work on the college of engineering building.
One of the local firms working on the project is Swansea Enterprise Zone-based RDM Electrical Services.
Director David Kieft said: “This is the most exciting project anywhere in the UK.
“And to have it here on our doorstep is a phenomenal opportunity.
“It is great for jobs, skills and training — we are already taking on new apprentices because of the work we are doing here.
“Along with the football this will really put Swansea Bay on the map world-wide.”
Among the big names who have formed partnerships with the university for the project are engineering firm Rolls Royce, aerospace specialists BAE Systems and glass company Pilkington.
Rupert Joseland, South Wales regional director of St Modwen, the firm building the second campus, said work was on schedule and it would be ready for staff and students by September 2015.