Category: Behind the Scenes

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.

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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”

A Visitor’s Guide to the Senedd

A Visitor’s Guide to the Senedd

Visiting Cardiff for the UEFA Champion’s League Final? You’ll find a warm welcome in the capital city of Wales. We are a country full of culture and heritage, and Cardiff is a fantastic place to soak up the atmosphere of this amazing sporting event.

If you find yourself in Cardiff Bay for the UEFA Champion’s League Festival, why not pay a visit to the Senedd and visit one of Wales’ most modern and most important buildings?  We’ve put together a handy guide to help you make the most of your visit.

For information in other languages:

Pour plus d’informations en français: link

Per informazioni in italiano: link

Para información en español: link

IMG_7855What is the Senedd?

The Senedd is the home of the National Assembly for Wales, and represents the heart of democracy in Wales. A modern parliamentary building which celebrated its tenth birthday last year, the Senedd is also one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in Wales.

It is also a public building, welcoming visitors seven days a week, and boasts a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence.

Most importantly it’s free to visit and offers some of the best views in Cardiff Bay, so please come inside and have a look around.

What’s inside?

The debating chamber

The Senedd houses the debating chamber of the National Assembly for Wales. Look down below the huge funnel and you’ll be able to see where our politicians sit during parliamentary debates. Take one of our free tours to discover more about the building and what happens here.

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Café and gift shop

The Senedd has also has a café (more on that below) and a shop, which stocks local produce, souvenirs and gifts. Pick up Welsh whisky, Melin Tregwynt textile products and Senedd branded souvenirs as mementos of your visit.

Exhibitions

Next to the café is an exhibition area which regularly hosts a variety of events, exhibitions and other activities throughout the year. Come along and see what’s happening!

Take a guided tour

The best way to get to know the Senedd is through a guided tour. Visitors will learn about the history and the unique architecture of the building and discover more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

The tours are FREE. All you need to do is turn up and we’ll let you know what time the next one starts.

Enjoy a taste of Wales

The Senedd’s café offers a selection of hot and cold drinks, or you could sample some traditional Welsh treats – enjoy a Welsh cake or a slice of bara brith (Welsh fruit cake) with a nice British pot of tea.

The views from the seating area are fantastic – watch boats sailing on the sparkling water of Cardiff Bay, or view the hustle and bustle of the Champions League festival from below the Senedd’s impressive canopy.

Facilities and access

As with any government building, all visitors are required to go through security on their way in to the Senedd. Our security team are trained to be aware of the needs of visitors with disabilities, or who might have specific requirements based on their religious beliefs.

The Senedd is fully accessible with ramp access at the front of the building and lifts to all floors inside. A hearing loop system is available to hearing aid users.

The building offers fully assisted changing facilities and gender-neutral washrooms which are suitable for all.

Take a selfie with our Snapchat GeoFilter

If you are on Snapchat – keep an eye out for our special filter and share your photos on social media!

National Assembly for Wales Trip Advisor webpage

Senedd Facebook page

LGBT History Month – The Importance of Role Models

Having visible LGBT role models can have a transformative impact on creating a truly inclusive workplace and society.

Stonewall’s guide, Role Models: Being lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender in Wales, features inspirational stories from a diverse range of people from different backgrounds working in different areas. You will recognise a couple of them!

Stonewall have also published LGBT voices, a collection of personal stories from LGBT people who have lived through inequalities and experiences rarely reflected on television, in books, in films or in schools.

It is of course important to note that different LGBT groups will have different role models. The Pride Power List 2016 contains a diverse selection of LGBT role models: male, female, non-binary, trans, disabled, Black, Asian, people of faith, older people, and people from a range of backgrounds and careers.

Here, some members of our LGBT workplace network explain why role models are important to them:

“The people I have a lot of respect for are the people who are prepared to go that one step further and put their head above the parapet and challenge the status quo. You shouldn’t underestimate the impact that visibility makes to people. It makes a difference to people when it’s not abstract anymore. There are still a lot of stereotypical ideas so a diverse range of role models is important. I want to be part of creating a modern Wales, a Wales that’s representative.” Hannah Blythyn, AM

“It’s important to have diverse role models; one person is not the totality of gay experience.” Rhys Morgan, Translation and Reporting Service

“It’s very important that there are visible LGBT people within the organisation, that people see that being from a minority group hasn’t hindered peoples’ ability to reach senior levels. We have young people who say it took three years to come out in their previous organisation and three weeks here. If you’ve reached a position of success, if you can inspire someone else, if you can lead by example, you should.” Craig Stephenson, Director of Commission Services and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW

“I think role models help show that it is ok to be you.  They show you that there should be no limits on who you can be and what you can achieve.  The more role models there are and the more diversity they represent, the more we can break down barriers and challenge misconceptions.” Lisa Bowkett, Head of Finance and Co-Chair of OUT-NAW.

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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Encouraging public participation in the work of the Assembly

Improving engagement with the people of Wales is a big priority for us at the Assembly, and increasingly we have been doing this by involving people in discussions with Assembly committees on issues they are passionate about.

This plays an important role in helping Assembly committees scrutinise the Welsh Government, but recently we have been looking into what affect these participation projects have on those citizens involved.

The Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee’s inquiry into Business Rates saw small businesses from different parts of Wales take part in video interviews with outreach officers. Their contributions were shown to Assembly Members and helped inform the Committee’s scrutiny work.

Having taken part in the video interview, and having received updates from Assembly staff on the results of their contribution, participants were asked if they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views, and given the opportunity, would they take part in an activity like this again.

They were also asked to state how much they agreed or disagreed with the following statements before they took part, and how they felt about the same statements having taken part:

  • People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales makes;
  • I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics;
  • I know what role the National Assembly for Wales plays in making sure the Welsh Government is doing its job properly;
  • I pay a lot of attention to Welsh politics;
  • The National Assembly for Wales is essential to our democracy;
  • I know what decisions get made in Wales by the National Assembly for Wales;
  • I will vote in an upcoming National Assembly for Wales election.

This was the first time we have measured the effect of participation in one of our engagement initiatives from the participants’ perspective, the results of which showed us that all participants would take part again if given the opportunity, and that they felt that they had the opportunity to express their views. The most significant change in perception when comparing the responses before and after taking part were evident with the following statements:

  • ‘People like me don’t have a say in the decisions the National Assembly for Wales’: none of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, compared to 67% who disagreed with the statement having taken part.
  • ‘I have the confidence and information needed to get involved in politics’: half of the participants disagreed with this statement before taking part, where as 88% agreed with this statement after taking part.

Our intention is to seek to gather this type of information for the range of different engagement initiatives we deliver here, in order for us to understand their effectiveness and improve our offer in the future.

Read more: Public engagement at the National Assembly for Wales featured in a recent post on the Parliaments and Legislatures blog by Kevin Davies and Cristina Leston-Bandeira.

Kevin Davies is Senior Public Engagement Manager at the National Assembly for Wales.

Stay up to date with what’s happening at the Assembly – we have a number of social media channels you can follow.


How easy is it to contribute to our work? What changes could we make to encourage more people to get more involved?

We are running a user needs survey until Friday 10 February 2017 and would love to hear your ideas.

 

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry

Over the last couple of months, the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee at the National Assembly for Wales has asked the people of Wales to decide what issues they should be investigating.

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Although Assembly committees regularly involve the public in its work, and have done so using a variety of techniques (including events, focus groups, web-chats, surveys, video interviews, workshops, and crowdsourcing apps), this is the first time an Assembly committee has asked the people of Wales to decide a future committee inquiry.

How they sourced ideas

The chair of the Committee, Bethan Jenkins AM sat down with James Williams from BBC Wales to talk about the newly formed committee on Facebook live, the first time the National Assembly had ever done so. Bethan encouraged people to get in touch, and make suggestions for priority areas.

The Committee invited people to suggest ideas on Facebook, Twitter and by e-mail, and also held an event at the National Eisteddfod to continue the conversation.

What people said

A number of suggestions were received from a mix of organisations, groups and individuals, which were then grouped and presented to the Committee.  The members then cross referenced this public list with the priority areas they had identified in a planning session they had held.

There was a lot of common ground between the Committee members’ priority areas and the public list, including:

  • how the ambition of achieving a million Welsh speakers can be achieved
  • concern at the continuing decline of local media and local news journalism
  • lack of portrayal of Wales on UK broadcast networks
  • the role of Radio in Wales
  • the remit, funding and accountability of S4C

Continue reading “Culture, Welsh Language and Communications – Public decides on future committee inquiry”

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!