Emily Morgan, who now works for our Estates and Facilities Management team, talks about her experience at the Assembly…
After completing an art foundation diploma in Glamorgan University
I took a gap year to hopefully pave a career for myself. I was considering going to university to study
art when I became aware of the opportunity to become an Apprentice in the National
Assembly for Wales. I automatically knew
I should apply as I knew that the Assembly was an exemplary employer.
I completed an application form using the STAR technique and
sent it off with the hope of being successful. To my delight I was invited to
attend an assessment centre where I was required to undergo a number of
assessments specific to the post. The moment I arrived I was made to feel very
welcome by the HR team. I was initially very nervous, but my nerves were soon
put to rest by the friendly staff around me. After the assessment centre I was
invited to interview. I attended my first panel interview and was made to feel at
ease by the interview panel straight away. I received a letter a week later
informing me that I had been successful, and that I had become an Apprentice!
Needless to say I was overwhelmed and very excited!
During my induction, I was welcomed by my head of service,
my team and my line manager. I was placed in the Resources group which consists
of Human Resources, Governance and Audit and Financial Services. I have worked
mainly within Human Resources; where I was based predominantly in the learning
and development team and the recruitment team.
Throughout my Apprenticeship I have gained Essential Skills,
an NVQ qualification, valuable work experience and some fantastic memories. The
Apprenticeship scheme was the best decision I have ever made. I have gained a
wealth of administrative experience and have made friends for life. After
passing my NVQ and my team support interview, I gained employment in Commission
and Member Support as a team support. I have since received further promotion
and am now settling into my role as an Executive Officer in Estates and
For the first time I have realised that University is not necessarily the only path into employment. The Apprenticeship scheme has taken me down a different path, but it has definitely been the right one for me.
This week, the National Assembly for Wales will be marking Holocaust Memorial Day, which takes place on the 27th of January each year. It is coordinated by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, the charity established and funded by the UK Government to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) in the UK.
Marking Holocaust Memorial Day
Day is a time to remember the millions of people whose lives were taken as a
part of the Holocaust during World War II, and further genocides in Cambodia,
Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. The 27th of January was the day that
Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, the largest of the concentration camps operated
by the Nazi party, was liberated.
This year, Holocaust
Memorial Day also marks the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide, and the
40th anniversary of the end of the Cambodian Genocide.
Day offers the chance to honour the survivors of these events, learning lessons
from their experiences to influence our society today. With roots that begin in
hatred, discrimination and racism, these are events can be prevented, with much
work still to do to ensure a safer future for all. Holocaust Memorial Day
provides the chance to begin this work.
Torn From Home
The theme of this
year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘Torn From Home’. Home has many meanings for
those affected by these events, and losing a place to call ‘home’ is one of the
ways devastating effects that genocide and persecution can have on individuals,
communities and families.
This year’s theme
calls on people to reflect on the consequences that being ‘torn from home’ can
have on those affected, as well as the struggles faced when trying to return
home, or build new lives and homes, after the events are over.
“We should never forget the
horrors of Holocaust”
This week, Assembly Members and staff gathered on the steps of the Senedd to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Dawn Bowden AM’s 90 Second Statement highlighted the efforts of those from a Merthyr Tydfil community, who this week gathered to mark the completion of a Holocaust memorial garden, with help from the Holocaust Memorial Trust, explaining that what started as an initiative by a community and volunteers is a part of the international effort of remembrance, research and education around Holocaust. She stated that “we should never forget the horrors of Holocaust, and we should use this time to reflect on conditions that allowed such barbaric acts to incur.”
Assembly for Wales is an inclusive organisation, where our employment
opportunities are open to all and where the people of Wales can actively engage
in our work. By marking days like Holocaust Memorial Day, we are inspired to
continue to build diversity and inclusion into everything we do. Find out more
about our work on
You can find out more about the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust at www.hmd.org.uk.
This week, the Assembly’s Children, Young People and Education Committee will hear from the Welsh
Government’s Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething AM, about what work has been done in response to its inquiry last year into perinatal mental health services.
Perinatal mental health refers to the period from the start
of pregnancy to the end of the first year after a baby is born. Perinatal
mental health is about the emotional well-being of pregnant women and their
children, their partners and families.
The Committee launched its report on the findings of the inquiry during Autumn last year, and promised to follow up on the progress the Welsh Government was making with the proposed changes, one year on.
As part of the Committee’s inquiry, the views of those with first-hand experience of the services offered for perinatal mental health in Wales were sought. Their honest, sometimes difficult, stories contributed to shaping the Committee’s recommendations to the Welsh Government.
What we heard
“We all live in different areas and the ways we had to try and get help were all different..”
In order for the Committee to hear a range of experiences of perinatal mental health issues, 30 people from across Wales participated in an event in Cardiff Bay. Those attending were a mixture of mothers, family members and staff working with those affected. They talked about their experiences – what they felt had worked, what they felt could be improved, and what changes they would like to see made to the support available.
“Consistency of care – a midwife with mental health training. A friendly face.”
The main issues
The lack of a Mother and Baby Unit in Wales
Importance of training for healthcare professionals
Inconsistencies in community perinatal mental health service provision
The need to ensure continuity of care
The need to de-stigmatise and normalise the mother’s experience of perinatal mental health conditions
A short video summarising the issues raised during the event can be seen here:
“The video is beautiful and emotional. Thank you. I’m glad I was able to share my experiences to make a difference.”
The timing of the event, taking place early in the inquiry’s process, meant that Committee members could use the experiences and opinions of attendees to shape the inquiry, and to direct the questions towards issues raised by those with first-hand experience.
“Feeling that you were really listened to by the Assembly Members. It made you feel that what you have been through is important to others, but ultimately it makes you feel that something will change for the good. Exciting to know other people are passionate about the same things.”
The issues raised during the event were used during formal meetings with relevant representative bodies and the Welsh Government, and the experiences of a number of the attendees contributed to the Committee’s report: Perinatal mental health in Wales (PDF, 4.7 MB)
What did the Committee recommend?
The Committee made a number of recommendations including more investment in specialist community services, the establishment of Mother and Baby Unit provision closer to home for people across Wales, and ensuring timely access to psychological support for pregnant and postnatal women and their partners.
This blog, published by the Assembly’s Research Service, summarises the Committee’s 27 recommendations, 23 of which were accepted, or accepted in principle, by the Welsh Government: Perinatal Mental Health
“This output makes the anxiety of talking out about my experiences worth it. Even if not all recommendations were accepted, this is still more than we had last year or when I was ill.”
Those who had been part of the original inquiry were asked to comment on the update to inform the Committee’s meeting with the Minister for Health and Social Services this week (10 January 2019), where he will answer questions on the progress the Government has made.
You can watch this session live on Senedd TV, or catch up later.
Your opinions shape our work
We are your Assembly and we represent you.
If you would like to know more about getting involved in the work of the Assembly, visit our website.
As part of our Senedd@ programme we’ve been meeting with community groups and activists across Aberystwyth to find out more about their visions for the future of the town and surrounding communities. From health to education, the environment and food, the Assembly is responsible for making decisions that affect our day to day lives. We think it’s important that, regardless of where you live in Wales, you can find out about how these are made and most importantly – how you can have your say.
On 28 November, we joined forces with Aber Food Surplus to create a community platform where people can eat, meet and tell us about the things that are important to them.
Aber Food Surplus – Who They Are and What They Do
Aber Food Surplus is taking action to reduce food waste in Aberystwyth. They collect food local businesses are throwing away and redistribute it among the community. Through Pay As You Feel meals, co-founders Chris Woodfield, Chris Byrne and Heather McClure bring local people together and show them “waste” good can be tasty and nutritious. Their vision is for Aberystwyth to be a pioneering example of food sustainability. A place where food is grown, distributed and consumed in a fair and environmentally sustainable way. Where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to enjoy.
We talked to Chris Woodfield to find out more.
What inspired you to start Aber Food Surplus?
To take action locally on environmental change with like-minded people. We are all passionate about the environmental impact of food waste and were keen to try our best to deliver grassroots change to this global problem and at the same time share this with our community and see how we can all work together to contribute positively to our local environment.
What impact has Aber Food Surplus had on the local community?
We believe Aber Food Surplus has had a positive impact on the local community through providing wholesome and healthy Pay As You Feel meals on a regular basis as well as redistributing approximately 300kg of food waste every week. We continue to inspire and empower volunteers to take action locally and offer meaningful and rewarding volunteering opportunities.
What are your ambitions for the future?
Our future plans are focused on facilitating the creation of a creative community and environmental hub in the centre of Aberystwyth. We are passionate about supporting our local economy, providing meaningful graduate level employment and supporting our community to thrive. Ultimately, we believe Aberystwyth can become an exemplar case-study and pioneering town with regards to being a zero-food waste community and flourishing place to live, learn and grow.
If you want to find out more about the work of the Assembly, who represents you and getting your voice heard, visit www.assembly.wales or find find us on Facebook @NationalAssemblyforWales Twitter @AssemblyWales
Our guest post comes from Deputy Presiding Officer, Ann Jones AM as we mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December.
Having been a politician for many years, I’ve been faced with numerous obstacles. Some of these have been due to my disability and I’ve worked hard to overcome these barriers. I’ve been lucky enough to have received a great deal of support from my family, colleagues and in the workplace which has had a big impact on my life.
I know first-hand that the barriers facing disabled people can be very off-putting and can discourage people from taking part in public life and politics. These are barriers that we need to remove in order to encourage a diverse and representative audience into public life.
Barriers which disabled people encounter may include:
Perceptual – based upon their views of accessibility or other people’s views of disabled people;
Environmental – based upon the accessibility of a physical space; or
Procedural – based upon the policies and procedures in place.
My mother was an inspiration to me and she made sure I was given all the opportunities that those without a disability had. This is what we need to do for the wider public, by breaking down these barriers.
A commitment to promoting diversity
I feel very privileged to be the Deputy Presiding Officer at the National Assembly for Wales. I’ve been keen to use my role to highlight issues of importance. The two themes which I’ve focused on to date include ‘Women in Politics’ and ‘Promoting an accessible Assembly’. Over the years, the Assembly has been awarded numerous prestigious awards for its commitment to inclusion and diversity.
These include, but are not limited to:
Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index, where the Assembly is recognised as the Top Employer in the UK in 2018 and as one of the Top UK Employers for LGBT people each year since 2009
National Autism Society Autism Friendly Award
Ranked in the top ten UK employers, accredited by the Top Employers for Working Families organisation
Age Employer Champion Status
Action on Hearing Loss Louder Than Words charter mark, and Service Excellence Awards.
The Assembly is committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality of opportunity for staff and the people of Wales. There’s a dedicated Diversity and Inclusion team within the Assembly Commission along with an Assembly Committee (Equality, Local Government and Communities) that tackle these issues daily. Further to this, a report has been commissioned by the Assembly’s Remuneration Board to identify barriers and incentives for disabled people standing for election.
We are proud to have an accessible building and the policies, procedures and training in place to ensure that disabled people can fully participate in our democracy. Whether this be as an Assembly Member, a member of staff or a visitor.
But this has certainly been a journey. We have worked hard over a number of years to continue to improve the accessibility of our buildings and the support that we have in place for disabled people.
Designing an inclusive home from the inside out
When the architect of the Senedd was putting plans in place, I noticed that some of the design features weren’t taking disabilities into consideration. The big glass walls were completely transparent, making it very difficult for a person with a visual impairment to see. I put forth my idea to include visual aids such as large dots on the glass surfaces. I had to push the idea numerous times before it was agreed. After all, if it’s right for a person with a disability, it’s right for everyone. These are the small changes which make a big difference.
In 2017 I was fortunate enough to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s inaugural conference for parliamentarians with disabilities in Nova Scotia, Canada. It was inspiring to hear the struggles and successes that people from all over the Commonwealth have experienced. I was very pleased to showcase Wales and our exemplar Parliament building. This has now been established as a standalone network by the name of Commonwealth Parliamentarians with Disabilities (CPwD). I hope that this will drive positive change throughout the Commonwealth and indeed the world, in politics and across public life.
I would encourage all disabled people reading this blog to consider what role you can play in public life, whether through volunteering in your community, applying for a public role or by standing as an Assembly Member.
It’s important that on this International Day of Persons with a Disability we remember that disabled people have a voice that needs to be heard and that any barriers to participation should be challenged and removed. We all have a role to play in helping to identify and remove barriers for disabled people.
Elected Members have an important role to play, whether disabled or not, to give a voice to the needs of disabled people. Having campaigners and advocates are also very important but the value of having elected representatives who have experienced difficulties and tackled them is invaluable. This is why more needs to be done, to strive for equality and inclusion in all aspects of life.
From 3 – 7 December 2018, the National Assembly for Wales will be bringing a week full of its regular activities, special exhibitions and public engagement events to Aberystwyth as part of our Senedd@ campaign.
We’re been asking you to share your #loveaber stories, memories and insights to form part of our exhibition, “Aberystwyth: Past, Present, Future”.
Award-winning author Jenny Sullivan was born and raised in Cardiff, but like so many others across the length and breadth of Wales (and indeed the World!), Aberystwyth holds a unique place in her heart.
Having lived in Brittany since 2004 she shares her favourite #loveaber memories and poem entitled “Aberystwyth”.
What is your favourite Aberystwyth memory?
Many damp days haunting the bookshops with the children when they were small. Aberystwyth was our “go-to” place when it was too wet for the beach! (My worst memory is the sea-front hotel with a shower that had no water!)
What makes Aberystwyth unique?
The comfort and ease with which “Town and Gown” fit together. And there’s something restful about Aberystwyth. When I’ve been visiting local libraries and schools I used to try to stay on the sea-front. I loved waking up in the morning to the sound of the waves.
How has Aberystwyth changed over the years?
Different shops: some new buildings – but on the whole, not a lot!
Mind, I haven’t visited for a couple of years – I need some schools and libraries to invite me, please!
Sea rattles pebbles
claws at shale
worries the filigree pier
Front lines are the expendables:
Three-flights-down for a bath;
Student halls, window-sills full
of bare feet and beer cans;
and “Llys y Brenin”
(Expensive) for the crachach.
Sea makes sorties
chewing at the roots of
Hippie shops and cafes creep
backwards, towards respectability.
Charity shops flare and die, and
The mighty rearguard Banks
(Barclays, Lloyds) oppress the odd posh shop and Woolworths, where
anoraked and steaming tourists flee the unrelenting rain.
The sea attacks
Only Waunfawr observes
the town, sneaking out
the back way, regrouping
somewhere in the
mountains, while offshore,
Momentarily confused by groyns
the sea fires missile dolphins,
Gulps the crimson sun
and waits for booming night.
Credit: Pont, “Say That Again”
Visit www.assembly.wales/seneddaber to register and take part in our exhibitions and events. You can also send us your own #loveAber stories on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!
The Assembly Committee will meet on 16 November to question Carwyn Jones AM on his time in charge of the Welsh Government.
What will the Committee be discussing?
The First Minister has announced his intention to step down in December 2018 and the Committee will be taking the opportunity to question him about his time in the role and the work of the Welsh Government since his appointment in 2009.
In particular the Committee will explore the outcomes of the Welsh Government’s main objectives over the last 9 years, key policies and legislative programme during this period, as well as the First Minister’s views on his achievements and any lessons learnt.
Committee Members will also have an opportunity to question the First Minister on topical issues during the meeting.
How can I watch?
You are welcome to come and watch the Committee proceedings in person. Space is limited so please book a place via our booking line.
If you can’t make it in person, the meeting will be available to watch live on Senedd.tv or you can catch-up after the event.
What does the committee do?
The Committee for the Scrutiny of the First of the Minister meets once during each Assembly term to explore specifically what the First Minister is doing in his role of overseeing the functions and performance of the Welsh Government. The chair of the Committee is the Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM. The membership of the Committee consists of the chairs of the other Assembly committees. See more on the Committee here.
What does the First Minister do?
The First Minister of Wales is the leader of the Welsh Government and is appointed by HM The Queen following nomination by Assembly Members in the Senedd.
The First Minister’s responsibilities include:
appointing the Cabinet of Welsh Ministers, Deputy Ministers and the Counsel General who comprise the Welsh Government;
chairing Cabinet meetings;
leading policy development and delivery;
managing relationships with the rest of the UK and internationally;
representing the people of Wales on official business, and staffing of the Welsh Government.