CARDIFF, Wales, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of South Wales opens its doors to its 33,500 students today, Thursday 11 th April. The University, with campuses in Cardiff, Newport and the South Wales Valleys, is among the top 10 campus universities in the UK for size and provides Wales with a major regional university, well equipped to compete with counterparts across the border. Welcoming the new university, the First Minister of Wales, Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM said, "As First Minister of Wales I want to welcome the University of South Wales. This is an initiative that shows leadership and strategic thinking in action. The University's partnership with major international companies like General Electric and British Airways are examples of how Wales can compete with the best. The Welsh Government looks forward to working with the University of South Wales to raise the profile of the region, and Wales as a whole. I have every confidence that the University of South Wales, the major regional partner with Cardiff University, will demonstrate a step change in the ability of our capital city-region of Wales to compete with the major regions of Europe. "Whether as a powerhouse for the arts, a partner with major companies who invest in Wales, or a major UK university in its own right, the University of South Wales provides Wales and wider Britain with a stronger higher education sector." Professor Julie Lydon, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said, "The University of South Wales will compete equally for students and reputation with the UK's major regional universities and will help the region compete head to head for investment and growth with major city-regions such as Bristol, Manchester, London, and Tyneside. "The employability of our students is at the heart of everything we do, with teaching informed by what happens in the real world. Our graduates have the skills that are essential for the workplace and value our employability schemes, business start-up support and opportunities to get actual experience as part of their courses. It's an approach that works - 93% of our graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduation.