Category: Assembly People

A Day in the Senedd with Urdd competition winner Lora Lewis

Lora Lewis joined the Assembly’s Translation and Reporting Service for a day after winning the Urdd translation competition. Here she talks about her experience behind the scenes…

As someone who has considered a career in the translation industry, competing in the Urdd competition was a natural step once I discovered that the prize was a day at the Assembly. This certainly appealed to me straight away and I set about translating the competition piece. Luckily, I got the news that I had won, and Aoife, a member of staff in the translation and reporting service at the Assembly, got in touch with me shortly afterwards and the preparations began. In no time at all, I was handing over all my possessions to go through the cameras as if I was in an airport before entering the building.

My first impressions were exactly as I had imagined – a handful (or two!) of employees in a big office working in front of computers, but as the day went on, several aspects of that work became very exciting.

To start with, I met the Presiding Officer, Elin Jones, and had an opportunity to chat to her about the work that goes on in the Senedd, as well as introducing myself to her. The Presiding Officer was very welcoming and we even had time to take a quick photograph.

After that, it was time to start the work experience for real. I met Rhiannon and she gave me a detailed presentation of the work on the Record of Proceedings and the way they use appropriate software when transcribing and editing the official Record. I had an opportunity to do this myself using voice recognition software that could record what I said through a microphone. Without a doubt, this was great and showed me how important technology is in the workplace to facilitate these kinds of tasks.

urdd

I was most interested in simultaneous translation, and I was very lucky to get an introduction to this aspect in particular from Cai, a translator in the department. This aspect is definitely one that frightens many translators, and it’s an element of the work that certainly worried me – but Cai was ready to reassure me by offering lots of useful tips. I was introduced to simultaneous translation through a visit to the interpreting booths in the committee rooms and the Chamber. I also got to watch Plenary when the First Minister was speaking. The simultaneous translation there was very exciting and gave me an insight into how difficult this aspect of the work is, as well as what an incredible skill it is to develop.

Continue reading “A Day in the Senedd with Urdd competition winner Lora Lewis”

Policy internships for PhD students

Did you know that the National Assembly for Wales participates in the Research Councils UK Phd student policy internship scheme

Find out more about the experience Eleanor Warren Thomas had as an intern in the National Assembly for Wales Research Service by reading her post on the Research Service blog, In Brief.


We employ people with a range of skills in departments across the organisation including: Facilities, Visitor Relations, Communications, Finance, ICT, Research, Security and Translation:

Current vacancies

Work experience placements

Work for an Assembly Member

 

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Digital devolution is here – Help us build a digital future for the National Assembly for Wales

Digital devolution is here – Help us build a digital future for the National Assembly for Wales

Claire Scantlebury, who heads up our Digital Communications Team, on why if you’re passionate about digital, the National Assembly for Wales could be the place for you.

I consider myself to be a bit of a digital engagement geek and it’s safe to say that everything about the potential of the online space excites me.

The possibilities around reach, real-time engagement, delivery of personalised content, the ability to hold virtual conversations, stimulate emotions, the speed of developments in technologies, trends, platforms, the ever changing motivations of audiences, big data, open data, user experience …  it’s endless!  I consider myself to be very lucky that every day I get to do what I enjoy.

It’s not only that I get to do what I love, it’s that I get to do it for such a great and important organisation.  Having recently joined the Assembly (coming from a private sector background) I don’t think I could have picked a more exciting time to join British politics. But whilst democratic engagement is high when it comes to certain topics (let’s not mention the B word), political engagement in Wales is something that needs to be addressed.

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The current climate combined with the way that people discover, access and consume content presents an interesting challenge and it’s one that digital can and should play a very important part in.  The role of political institutions is changing… almost daily.  The rules are changing, the lines are changing and the opportunities around e-democracy and the potential for reaching the disengaged are become a more and more important part of everyday society.

Being a part of the digital team at the National Assembly for Wales means that not only do we have the freedom and opportunity to innovate and be creative about how we use channels, platforms and messaging, but it also means we get to do all of that great stuff knowing that we’re positively contributing to the future of Wales.  It is such an exciting and amazing thing to do, but it’s a big task that’s getting bigger… which is why I’m looking for 2 new Digital Media Managers to join the team.

There’s also the question of the Welsh language on digital. We want Welsh speaking digital experts to lead the way on Welsh language digital innovation. That’s why we’ve made one of these posts Welsh essential, we want to tackle this challenge head on and realise it as an opportunity for Wales and the Welsh language.

Finally, if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, we also get to work in and promote our amazing estates; the Senedd and Pierhead in Cardiff Bay.

What is the role?

We’re a new team in the Assembly and our aim is to continuously shape the Assembly’s digital presence to reach, inspire, enable and inform the people of Wales about the work of the Assembly.

I’m looking for digital professionals who are passionate about using online to reach and engage Welsh citizens.  You should be confident in creating and delivering campaigns and content across all (or certainly the majority of) digital platforms and be familiar with best practice approaches – this is perhaps knowledge and skills that you’ve gained through previous experience in a digital marketing or digital content creation role.

If you want to innovate, push boundaries, be proactive and help us position the Assembly as a world leader in digital excellence then I want to hear from you so APPLY NOW!

Do you remember the summer of ’99? A look back from those who have worked at the National Assembly for Wales from the start

In May 1999, following a referendum held in 1997 and the passing of the Government of Wales Act in 1998, The National Assembly for Wales held its first plenary meeting in what was then known as Crickhowell House in Cardiff Bay.

A lot has happened over the past 17 years but some things have remained the same. At the Official Opening of the Fifth Assembly in 2016, nine Assembly Members who were returned to represent their constituencies for the fifth time were photographed together. They have served as Assembly Members since the first Assembly in 1999.

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Left to right: David Melding AM, First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones AM, Deputy Presiding Officer Ann Jones AM, Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, Jane Hutt AM, Kirsty Williams AM, Presiding Officer Elin Jones AM, Lynne Neagle AM and John Griffiths AM.

As well as the Assembly Members, The National Assembly Commission employs staff to support its work. The photograph inspired us to we gather a few thoughts and memories from staff who worked during the historic first year of the Assembly and remain working here to this day.

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Adrian Crompton, now the Director of Assembly Business, was proud of how the National Assembly had grown and matured into “a powerful, well-resourced parliament that sets standards which other legislatures from around the world aspire to”. He added, “Working at the Assembly is an absolute privilege, something that is brought home to me by the work I do in the Middle East and North Africa with parliaments eager to develop the democratic freedoms and culture that we often take for granted”.

Ioan Bellin works for Simon Thomas AM, “The biggest change at the National Assembly in my time here has been the separation between the legislature and the executive”. Separation occurred in 2007 when the National Assembly for Wales was separated from what was then the Welsh Assembly Government. Ioan also remarked that walking through the Senedd gives him great pride as he remembers the construction process and the building’s official opening on St. David’s Day 2006.

Nia Percy has been recording and filming Committee and Plenary meetings from the beginning for broadcasting contractors Barcud Derwen and Bow Tie.  “Technology has advanced a great deal in seventeen years. We couldn’t imagine back then how web-streaming on Senedd TV would develop to largely take over from traditional broadcast on terrestrial television channels.” Through her broadcasting work she feels proud that she “plays a part in the democratic process, making the Assembly accessible and available to the people of Wales”.

Ray Jones who works as both a freelance broadcaster and for the Commission’s Front of House team also credits the Assembly with “the way in which technology has been embraced, helping it to reach out to the electorate” as one of the most important developments.

Many of the original staff from 1999 commented on the friendly and open nature of the Assembly. Joanne Thomas who now works for Rhiannon Passmore AM said she “enjoys the friendliness of the people within the National Assembly and the way in which the various departments within the Assembly Commission are so helpful.”

The current Director of Commission Services, Craig Stephenson, says that his most memorable time was the first few days after the 1999 election where Assembly Members arrived far too early.

“We’d asked, rather naively in hindsight, for elected Members to come to the Bay on Monday 10 May. However, they started turning up on 7 and 8 May – catching us all on the hop. While I remember it being a historic and fantastically exciting day, it was definitely a day that demanded all hands on deck. When I compare that day with how we welcomed our returning Members in 2016 it is evident that we as an organisation have become much more sophisticated in the way in which our services have evolved. I am as proud to work for the National Assembly now as I was back in May 1999”.

We’d like to thank all Members and Staff for their continued contributions to the work of the Assembly over the years and extend a welcome to those who are new and will shape the next five Assemblies.

You can find out more about the work of the Assembly and keep up to date with the latest news by visiting our website.

Senedd Summer Fun

Gareth Coombes, Tour Manager, talks about the joys and challenges of organising a Family Fun Weekend at the Senedd, home of the National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay.

When you think about the Senedd, the first thing that comes to mind is Plenary, the meeting where the 60 Assembly Members make Welsh laws, debate Welsh issues, question the First Minister and the make sure the Welsh Government is doing its job. The second thing you think about is usually the handsome tour guide who works there, but maybe you wouldn’t imagine that the Senedd could be also be turned into a giant play area for children and young people.

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Well that’s exactly what happened last weekend! To celebrate the Cardiff Bay Harbour Festival and as a continuation of the Senedd’s 10th birthday celebrations this year, we hosted a Fun Weekend for all the family. Activities included soft play, Lego station, skittles, face painting and a craft area.

The day before I was really nervous, thinking that no one was going to turn up and it would just be me playing Lego all day by myself! I kept busy by setting up all the activities, making sure all the toys were in the right place, the face painters had a table and that the Welsh cakes were tasty enough (I took this job very seriously and tasted many, many Welsh cakes just to make sure) and that everything else was just right. The night before, when nearly everyone had left, I just walked around what we had created in the building, feeling excited about the days to come.

The weekend started quietly, with the weather being its usual miserable self. But as soon as the sun came out, I knew the Bay would get busier, which of course it did!

 

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One of the most popular activities over the weekend (and for good reason) was the ball pit in the middle of the room. Our job was to make sure that all the balls were kept in and around the ball pit, not an easy job I’ll add! On the last day I was tidying up the ball pit, putting two or three balls back at a time, when out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a young boy running as fast as he could towards the soft play from the other end of the room. At this point everything went into slow motion. The boy was nearing, there was nothing I could do, and before I could react, he jumped, as high as he could, and landed like an Olympic long-jumper in the middle of the ball pit. Again in slow motion I saw about 50 balls catapult out of the pit into every conceivable direction on the Welsh slate floor, and knowing I had lost the battle, I put my head down, rested on the soft play and laughed!

IMG_3520#SeneddSelfie was used on Twitter and Instagram throughout the weekend so that our guests could share their experiences with us. Some great pictures were taken, and it was so nice to see lots of smiles in them. Many people clambered into the giant deck chair outside the Senedd, and there were some fantastic photos of children with their faces painted, with lions and butterflies galore!

Overall the weekend was a huge success with over 3,500 people visiting the building! From what I could tell, everyone thoroughly enjoyed as much as I did.

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along – see you again next year!

 

 


 

The Senedd is the home of National Assembly for Wales in Cardiff Bay. Open to the public seven days a week, its distinctive design and incredible architecture attract visitors from all over the world, and in 2015 the building was awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Free tours are available daily, and a selection of drinks and refreshments are available to purchase from the Oriel Café.

You could also find out who your Assembly Members are and how they represent your interests in the Senedd. If you visit during the week you could even watch the political action unfold as it happens in the public gallery of the Siambr, the Senedd’s debating chamber.

If you’d like to book a tour (unfortunately we can’t promise that it will be with Gareth) please call us on 0300 200 6565, email contact@assembly.wales or pop into the Senedd for more details.

The Senedd is open:

Weekdays – term time
Monday and Friday 9:30 – 16:30, Tuesday to Thursday 8:00 – end of business

Weekdays – recess
Monday to Friday 9:30 – 16:30

Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays (all year) 10:30 – 16:30

 (Please note that last admission is 30 minutes before closing).

Further information for visitors, including information for those with an Autistic Spectrum Condition can be found on our website.

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

View this post in Welsh

“Listening to the interpreters showcase their talent was amazing. What a skill!”

Ffion at a translators desk

Ffion Pritchard joined the Assembly’s Translation and Reporting Service for the day last week after winning the Urdd translation competition. Here she talks about her experience behind the scenes and how the Assembly champions bilingualism.

I travelled by train to Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 12 July, a fine summer’s day, to spend the day on work experience with the Assembly’s Translation Unit—my reward for winning the Urdd translation competition.

A busy day had been planned for me. As part of the day, I met Mair, the head of the translation unit, and Mari Lisa, the competition adjudicator, and learnt about the business unit, transcribing the Record of Proceedings, translating legislation and the art of simultaneous interpretation. Thank you to Geth, Jodi, Llinos and Cai for all their help. I’m sure that the information they provided will be a great help to me in the future.

As well as meeting with, and working alongside, the translators and editors in the Translation Unit, I also attended meetings with two important people in the Senedd. In the morning, I had the opportunity to meet and have my photograph taken with the Presiding Officer; in the afternoon, Alun Davies, Minister for Lifelong Learning and Welsh Language, gave up his time to shake my hand and have a chat. Given that they are very busy people, I really appreciated this opportunity!

Ffion and the Presiding Officer, Elin Jones AM

Gruff’s introduction to machine translation was greatly beneficial. It is good to see major companies such as Microsoft investing in technology that benefits the Welsh translation industry. Used properly, this technology increases translators’ productivity and gives non-Welsh speakers the opportunity to understand the language. Of course, machine translation will never be an improvement on real-life translators, but it is good to know that there are resources available to support our work.

Ffion and Gruff

As someone who takes an interest in politics as well as translating, it was great to see First Minister’s Questions in the Chamber. It was nice to feel part of the political process and hear the Welsh language being spoken by Ministers. Listening to the interpreters showcase their talent was amazing. What a skill!

I would like to thank the Urdd, Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru (the association of Welsh translators and interpreters) and the Assembly for arranging the day. A heartfelt thanks goes to Iona and Sarah for being such wonderful guides! I would urge those of you who are between 19 and 25 years old and who have an interest in translation to enter the Urdd competition next year. If you are successful, I promise that spending the day with the Assembly’s translation unit will be an invaluable experience!

Diversity and Inclusion Week – Workplace Equality Networks By Abi Lasebikan, Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Network Coordinator

By Abi Lasebikan, Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Network Coordinator

What are Workplace Equality Networks (WENs)?

As Network Coordinator I see the WENs as a place for people who identify with a protected characteristic group and/or have an interest in matters relating to a particular diversity strand (i.e. gender reassignment, sexual orientation, race, religion/belief, age, pregnancy/maternity, sex, marriage/civil partnership and disability), to come together to:

  • give and receive pastoral care;
  • share information relating to equality; promote equality issues related to their group;
  • access learning opportunities to build skills that will help individuals develop personally as well as in their career, and
  • act as critical agents for change within the organisation.

Who are the WENs open to?

The networks are open to all Assembly Members, AMSS, Commission staff and employees of our on-site contractors to join as either members or as allies, as they recognise that anyone, not only those directly affected, can have an interest in a particular equality issue. This interest can exist for many reasons, including because of a connection to someone who is affected e.g. a child, spouse or relative or because of the belief it’s ‘the right thing’. Allies are welcome because to achieve real Diversity and Inclusion requires a collective effort involving everyone.

What are the benefits of the WENs for the individual?

For an individual the networks can:

  • Provide informal peer support and advice.
  • Offer a platform for discussing issues affecting members of the networks.
  • Enhance career development and progression for staff, through various programmes, including mentoring opportunities.
  • Present networking opportunities.
  • Give members the chance to identify and advise the Assembly Commission on the issues which affect staff, through impact assessment of policies.

What are the benefits of the WENs for the organisation?

Because of their access and insight these networks can help us to:

  • Understand the value in managing and harnessing the potential of an increasingly diverse workforce.
  • Recruit and retain the most talented people.
  • Provide the best service to stakeholders.
  • Make a positive difference to the working culture of the Assembly.

They do this because the collective intelligence of the WENs:

  • Make it possible for us to understand what it is like to work in that environment from the perspective of the members.
  • Enable us to understand our diverse service users.
  • Serve as effective consultative and advisory bodies on diversity related matters.

The networks input leads to better policies and procedures which means happier employees who can be themselves, resulting in an organisation that performs better and is therefore better able to attract and retain top talent.

The Assembly recognises that the networks are instrumental to the organisation in its aim to achieve a safe, inclusive and diverse working environment for all. It supports the networks and would encourage all Assembly Members, Assembly Member Support Staff (AMSS), Commission staff and employees of our on-site contractors to support and enable their staff to participate in and engage with network activities.

Our current networks are:

EMBRACE LOGOEMBRACE – our disability network. It is open to disabled people, those who support disabled people and people with an interest in disability equality. Within EMBRACE are subsidiary dyslexia and chronic pain groups. Chaired by Abi Phillips

 

INSPIRE logoINSPIRE – our women’s network. It’s open to both men and women. Co-chaired by Sarah Crosbie and Janette Iliffe

 

 

OUT NAW logo OUT-NAW – our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and    Transgender (LGBT) network. It is a closed group for LGBT people, it is open to LGBT people as members and people with an interest in LGBT equality as allies. Co-chaired by Craig Stephenson  and  Jayelle Robinson-Larkin

TEULU logo

TEULU – our Working Parent and Carer network, is currently a virtual network that operates mainly online.  New network members and network allies are always welcome. Co-chaired by Holly Pembridge and Joel Steed

REACH logo

REACH – The Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage network is our Black Minority Ethnic (BME) network. It is open to BME people as members and people who support race equality as allies. Co-chaired by Abi Lasebikan and Raz Roap

 

The Networks have contributed to and raised the profile of the organisation in a variety of ways. They have:

  • Input into many impact assessment of policies and projects, such as the Accessible Car Parking policy, Human Resources Priority Postings policy, EFM refurbishments projects, etc.
  • Attended events, like: Pride and Sparkle, Stonewall Cymru’s Workplace Equality Index Awards, All Wales Annual Race Equality Conference, Mela, etc.
  • Participated in community incentives, like collecting for the Cardiff Foodbank.
  • Produced a range of blogs, factsheets and guidance on a variety of topics, such as: Ramadan, Cultural Diversity, Invisible Disabilities, Bisexual Awareness, Mental Health, etc.
  • Worked closely with other public sector organisations, such as Gwent and South Wales Police, Welsh Government, Cardiff University, to promote diversity and inclusion.

That is just a flavour of the impressive achievements of the networks. Further information on the networks can be found at: http://members/networks.

Championing the WENs

A senior champion is someone who openly supports the WENs at the highest level of the organisation. They are vocal about the achievements of the network and how it benefits the organisation as well as willing to lend the weight of their leadership to the network. I am pleased to say that both Dave Tosh and Craig Stephenson are not only champions for BME and LGBT issues respectively but have agreed to champion equality issues as a whole on the Management Board.

“As the BME Champion I can act as a voice, at Director level, and work with the network to help support our BME staff to address some of the issues affecting them”. Dave Tosh, Director of Resources and BME Champion

The Champions can also be a beacon to others that the organisation is truly an inclusive organisation that recognises talent, irrespective of whether the person belongs to a protected characteristic group.

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people at all levels within the organisation, and also that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach more senior levels. Personally, I think that if you have reached a position which gives you visibility, and if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.” Craig Stephenson