2024 is shaping up to be an "extraordinary" year for Wrexham and Flintshire's economy, a business leader has predicted.

Askar Sheibani, managing director and CEO of Comtek Network Systems and chairman of Deeside Business Forum (DBF), shared his thoughts on the region's performance in 2023 and what he hopes to see in the next 12 months.

He said: "The recent announcement by the UK and Welsh Government about Wrexham and Flintshire being one of the two investment zones in Wales was very welcome news.

"Of course, they have chosen this area for an obvious reason; Wrexham has really moved forward economically and socially.

"The city is being promoted all around the world.

"And Flintshire is now really doing well around the enterprise zone with more businesses coming in.

"The only challenge we have at the moment is training and recruiting skilled workers.

"As long as we can deal with that, the economy of this area will be extraordinary."

Using his own organisation as an example, he explained: "2023 has been a very good year for us but overall, we are predicting 2024 will be even better.

"I have never seen such positive growth in Comtek - we are recruiting all the time."

Mr Sheibani hailed the Welsh degree apprenticeship model as an "extraordinarily successful one," adding: "We are attracting bright young people to work and study here.

"These are the ones who can transform our area and that's already happening because when they have finished their three-year degree they have no student debt and a huge amount of experience.

"They are full of aspirations and that's something that will really help out technology companies - which we have plenty of in Wrexham and Flintshire.

"It's a very good model and I hope more Welsh youngsters apply."

Mr Sheibani said he has seen "confidence" from investors in North East Wales.

He said: "We have some really serious companies considering moving here, and they have moved to Wrexham and Flintshire.

"This is a great location and we are near two major international airports with Liverpool and Manchester - and we are not that far from Birmingham.

"Combining the fact Anglesey is a freeport and the whole situation with the investment zone, it all sounds very upbeat and promising.

"And it's giving a very good message to investors that this is the location to invest.

"The export from our region globally has expanded as well, which is also incredibly positive."