Convergence and Regional Competitiveness

National Lido of Wales, Pontypridd

From 2007-2013, the Convergence programme operated in West Wales and the Valleys and Regional Competitiveness and Employment (RCE) programme in East Wales.


The Convergence EU Funding programme ran from 2007-2013, investing EU funds of £1.8bn, driving total investment of £3.4bn. The programme safeguarded and created jobs and businesses even during the global economic crisis of 2008/9.

The Convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys covered the Unitary Authorities of Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Carmarthen, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Swansea and Torfaen.

Impact of the Convergence Programme on South East Wales

There were around 290 projects across Wales and some examples of those impacting on the South East region include:

  • £85m for 33,000 apprenticeships and 12,000 traineeships across Wales at employers including Airbus, Admiral and GE Aviation
  • £3m for the redevelopment of Pontypridd Lido
  • £79m for the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road
  • £21m for the upgrading of train stations across Wales, including Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Llandudno, Pontypridd and Port Talbot
  • £2.1m to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths among young people through the STEM Cymru project
  • £80m in town centre improvements and regeneration schemes across Wales, including Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd, Aberystwyth, Llanelli, and Newport.
  • £7.3m for the Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone
  • £33m for the Jobs Growth Wales programme, which has created jobs for over 15,000 16-24 year olds across Wales

Between 2007 and 2013, European projects working in the South East achieved the following:

Enterprises assisted 6,608
Enterprises created 5,463
Gross jobs created 16,738
Participants 316,813
Participants entering employment 39,450
Participants entering further learning 30,807
Participants gaining qualifications 121,533

This film gives an overview of how Convergence funding was used in South East Wales:

Regional Competitiveness and Employment (RCE)

The RCE Programme for East Wales covered the Unitary Authorities of Cardiff; Flintshire; Monmouthshire; Newport; Powys; the Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham. Approximately £97m of European Funds was available under the programme which became known as ‘Competitiveness’. The priorities for funding were developed to give effect to the vision of creating a thriving, vibrant and competitive region that has a highly skilled, innovative workforce that can compete internationally.

Two Operational Programmes were developed for East Wales, one for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and one for the European Social Fund (ESF).

RCE ERDF Priorities

Priority 1 – Knowledge and innovation for growth
Priority 2 – Business Competitiveness and Growth
Priority 3 – Tackling Climate Change
Priority 4 – Regeneration for Growth

RCE ESF Priorities

Priority 1 – Increasing employment and tackling economic inactivity
Priority 2 – Improving skill levels and the adaptability of the workforce

For more information on the results of the Convergence and RCE programmes in Wales, visit the WEFO website.