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Education

Young people’s equality and diversity debate held at County Hall

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STUDENTS from all secondary schools in Pembrokeshire, including the Pembrokeshire Learning Centre, took part in a lively debate recently on equality and diversity issues affecting young people in Pembrokeshire.

The debate was chaired by Cllr Pat Davies, Chairman of Pembrokeshire County Council, and the guest speakers were Rocio Cifuentes, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Jane Houston, Welsh Government Senior Policy Advisor (Education), Cllr Guy Woodham, Pembrokeshire’s Cabinet Member for Education and the Welsh Language, and Steven Richards-Downes, Director of Education.

The presentations were followed by a question and answer session, which focused in particular on LGBTQ+ areas of discussion.

“We thoroughly enjoyed our visit as it was fantastic to see all of the Pembrokeshire Secondary Schools coming together as a collective to discuss such an important issue,” said Rocio Cifuentes. “You’ve helped establish an excellent forum and we hope it continues!”

Cllr Pat Davies said it was great for so many interesting and valuable views to be shared. “For my year of office as Chair of the Council I have picked up a theme of inviting young people into the Council Chamber to debate issues relating to Democracy, Equality and Diversity and discuss their concerns and hopes around these issues,” she said.

“This was the first of such meetings and it was obvious that there are further conversations needed concerning the issue of LGBTQ+ and the intention is that another meeting be arranged.”

Cllr Guy Woodham said, ‘The opportunity to hear the views of young people is always a valuable experience and I am keen to explore ways in which they can become regularly involved in debating issues that are important to them and which will also help inform the Council’s own decision making process’.

The event was organised by Pembrokeshire County Council with support from the County’s secondary schools, Welsh Government and the Children’s Commissioner’s Office.

(Pictured: The secondary school representatives with speakers in the Council Chamber at County Hall – Credit PCC)

Education

Care is Apprenticeship Ambassador Elen’s true vocation

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ELEN LEWIS is developing a career in health and social care thanks to a bilingual Foundation Apprenticeship opportunity provided by Blaenmarlais Care Home in Narberth.

Elen, 19, who lives in Narberth, believes care is her true vocation and may consider training to become a hospital nurse in the future.

Due to her passion for the Welsh language and apprenticeships, she has been appointed an Apprenticeship Ambassador by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (CCC) and the National Training Federation of Wales (NTfW).

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol leads the development of Welsh medium and bilingual education and training in the post-compulsory sector in Wales and the NTfW represents work-based learning providers across Wales.

She began working at Blaenmarlais Care Home 18 months ago, having previously taken a Health and Social Care Level 3 course at Pembrokeshire College. She is now completing her Foundation Apprenticeship in Health and Social Care through City & Guilds, delivered by the same college and hopes to progress to a Level 3 Apprenticeship.

Happy speaking in both Welsh and English to improve her language skills, Elen said: “I love my job because it’s so rewarding to care for our residents and develop a relationship with them. A couple of them enjoy having a conversation in Welsh.

She is proud to be an Apprenticeship Ambassador because, she says, it gives her a chance to promote the Welsh language: “I like apprenticeships because they allow people to earn while they learn, which is one of the main reasons I was not interested in going to university.

“Welsh medium and bilingual apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn in the language of your choice and encourages the use of the Welsh language, which is important.

“We have spoken Welsh in my family for generations and it’s a unique language to our country and should be preserved. It’s a real bonus when you go into a job and you have an opportunity to speak both Welsh and English.”

Helen Hill is deputy manager of Blaenmarlais Care Home, which has 22 residents and 30 staff, including four apprentices. Despite only two residents speaking Welsh, she thinks it’s important that they are able to converse in the language of their choice.

“We support the opportunity for our staff to do bilingual apprentices if they wish,” she said. “I am one of five members of staff who speak Welsh and am proud of the language and my heritage.”

Janice Morgan, Pembrokeshire College’s Welsh language development officer, has taken on an extra role as bilingual support tutor, funded by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

“Elen is an excellent Apprenticeship Ambassador and fully realises the importance of using her Welsh language skills in her work setting when speaking to residents and staff in their first language,” she said.

Lisa Mytton, the NTfW’s strategic director, said: “Many workplaces are becoming more bilingual, so completing an apprenticeship bilingually or in Welsh can increase an individual’s confidence to work in both languages and their employability.

“Our Apprenticeship Ambassadors are excellent role models for apprenticeships, highlighting the benefits of learning and working bilingually in the workplace.”

Elin Williams, from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said: “This is the third year running that we have appointed ambassadors for the apprenticeship sector, and we think this is a vital tool in showing people that it is possible to continue with your bilingual learning through the apprenticeship route.

“With the Welsh Government’s target to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050, it has never been more important to develop your bilingual skills and increase your employability prospects.”

The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.

To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities go to Careers Wales https://careerswales.gov.wales/apprenticeships or telephone 0800 028 4844.

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Education

Port sponsors inspirational Duke of Edinburgh event at Pembrokeshire College

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OVER seventy people came together at Pembrokeshire College recently to celebrate and learn about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at a Business Tea, sponsored by the Port of Milford Haven.

The audience heard from Pembrokeshire-born adventurer Tori James who embarked on her DofE journey in school, but now holds the title for the first Welsh woman to climb Mount Everest and is a proud ambassador for the programme. Gold award holder Lucy Aur also spoke about her positive experiences of the DofE programme, highlighting the strong connections she created with her fellow explorers.

During the afternoon, certificates were presented to businesses, the Ascona Group and Hydro Industries, who have pledged their support for DofE, as well as volunteers Caroline Wilson and Andy Jones who have dedicated many years of hard work and commitment to the charity.

The Port of Milford Haven is proud to be a Silver Associate of DofE and its Chief Executive Tom Sawyer and Chairman Chris Martin were delighted to be able to speak about their support. Tom Sawyer said “The DofE programme offers young people so many opportunities and equips them with important life skills such as confidence, creativity and compassion. From an employer’s perspective, candidates who have completed DofE often have an incredibly interesting background and have broadened their horizons as a result of enrolling onto the programme. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone who’s thinking of signing up to do so and would certainly recommend that other businesses in the area consider offering their support.”

Robert Newsome OBE, who is Chair of Ambassadors for DofE Wales and hosted the Business Tea event, commented “This event has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the impact and success DofE has on the lives of participants. It has also afforded the opportunity to thank local volunteers who support young people in engaging with the programme. Most of all, this has been a chance to showcase to community and business leaders how The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award contributes positively to personal development and wellbeing, encourages volunteering work within our communities and fosters a range of employability skills. We are extremely grateful to all those industries and businesses that support us in ensuring the inclusion of young people in West Wales.”

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Education

Over 1,000 school children learn how Pembrokeshire’s food is produced

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OVER 1,000 school children from across Pembrokeshire, aged from three to 16, attended the first ever ‘Food Story / Stori Bwyd’ event, held by the Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society on the County Showground.

During the event almost 30 arable, dairy, beef, pig and sheep farmers, from all over the county, volunteered their time to talk to the children and demonstrate local food production. They explained to the groups the journey of the different crops, vegetables, milk, eggs and meat produced in Pembrokeshire.

The event took place on 11 & 12 October 2022 on the Pembrokeshire County Showground when there was farm machinery and live animals for the local school children to see first-hand what is used to produce their food.

Mansel Raymond, President of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society was one of the volunteers at the event. He said, “Both Rosalind and I would like to say a massive thank you to each and every one of the volunteers who took two days out from their busy work on the farm to come and talk to the children and demonstrate how they produce food and drink. The smiles on the faces of the children said it all, they listened intently, took part in the demonstrations and the teachers took resources back with them to their schools to continue the learning. One of the important elements of Pembrokeshire Agricultural Society’s work is educational and spreading the word around the county about how local food is produced by farmers.”

As well as food production the event was an opportunity to teach the children about the seasonality of what we produce locally and how the weather and climate affects the work farmers do and how the crops grow.

Nineteen Schools attended the event. They included various year groups from: Lamphey Primary; Ysgol Casblaidd; Monkton Priory School; Ysgol Bro Preseli; St Mark’s V A School; Ysgol Caer Elen; Prendergast; Holy Name School; Ysgol Bro Gwaun; Glannau Gwaun; Ysgol Waldo Williams; Hook CP School; Ysgol Beca; Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi; St Aidan’s CIW School; Casmael; Ysgol Ger y Llan; Pembrokeshire college; Portfield School

The event organiser, Kath Wilson, said, “We have had a tremendous amount of positive feedback from both the volunteers and the schools since holding the event. We have already started planning The Food Story event for 2023! Thank you to everyone who was involved and the schools who supported it.”

Thank you to NFU Cymru and the FUW for providing educational resources for the schools and pupils to take back with them and thanks to the NFU Mutual offices in Crymych, Fishguard and Narberth for their financial support.

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