Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for the Economy, visited Caerbont Automotive Instruments (CAI) on Make UK’s National Manufacturing Day 2023.  During the visit the Minister was shown the latest developments in automotive instrument technology, along with classic SMITHS gauges highlighting the long-standing history of the company in South Wales.

Vaughan Gething is a Welsh Labour and Co-operative politician serving as Minister for the Economy in the Welsh Government since 2021.  He has been the Member of the Senedd for Cardiff South and Penarth since 2011.

Make UK champions and celebrates British manufacturing and manufacturers and is focused on creating the most supportive environment for UK manufacturers to thrive, innovate and compete.  Make UK is formerly known as the Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF).

Manufacturing is a cornerstone of the Welsh economy, contributing more in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Welsh economy than any other sector.  Through manufacturing thousands of individuals have quality employment.  The Welsh Government 2021 report ‘A Manufacturing Future for Wales’ states that ‘Manufacturing is more important to Wales than to any other part of the UK and that is without taking into account the longer term operation, maintenance and service related activities, which take place as a consequence.’

CAI has its roots in the SMITHS motor accessories business, a pioneer in the development of the UK Automotive Industry.  SMITHS dates back to 1851 as a clock and watch business.  In 1984 ownership moved to the Lucas Group and then to VDO before becoming an independent company following a management buyout in 1993.  CAI was the subject of a second management buyout in 2011 and has branched out into new markets with new products, including instrumentation for motorcycles and marine applications.

Make UK’s National Manufacturing Day Make UK provides manufacturers with an opportunity to showcase the diversity of a truly fascinating sector, the range of highly skilled jobs on offer, and the amazing opportunities for reskilling and career development within manufacturing in the UK.

During the visit, Vaughan Gething was shown how CAI has invested and evolved to become a global leader in the supply of classic and bespoke instrumentation for cars and motorcycles.  The Minister was shown gold-plated tachometers built for Singer Vehicle Designs and bespoke contemporary style gauges designed for electric converted classic cars.  On a tour around the manufacturing plant, Mr Gething met and talked with CAI employees and apprentices.

The tour part was joined by teacher Andy Walters, who, earlier in the day, had brought sixth form students from Ysgol Gymraeg Ystalyfera Bro Dur to CAI for a tour of the facility.  Mr Walters explained the importance of introducing young people to career opportunities in manufacturing and engineering.

Managing Director, Gavin Roberts, also highlighted the importance of apprenticeships and introducing young people to the exciting manufacturing and engineering sector.

“We wish to thank Vaughan Gething for taking the time to visit us,” said Gavin.  “CAI is a great example of the many successful manufacturing businesses located across Wales.  With support and investment, we can continue to create job opportunities for local people and build the manufacturing reputation of Wales.”

For further information on our apprenticeship programmes or gauge designs for Classic Cars, Electric Cars, Motorcycles and Marine projects, please contact us on:

Via our website

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 (0) 1639 732200