My Work Experience Week: Iwan Kellett

My name is Iwan Kellett and I am a sixth form student at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, Amlwch. Over the week from the 17th to the 21st of June I had the opportunity to go on work experience to Rhun ap Iorwerth AM’s Constituency Office on Anglesey, and I was here for 3 days a week. For the other two days I went to Rhun ap Iorwerth’s Office in Tŷ Hywel, Cardiff.

On my first day I was in the Constituency Office in Llangefni. Immediately I was surprised to see the variety of work taking place. In the morning we visited a fantastic exhibition at MENCAP Hub showing portraits of users of the Hub. Then back in the office I learned how the office provides support and help constituents. In the afternoon we went to Gors Goch in Llanbedrgoch to learn more about the work of the North Wales Wildlife Trust there. It was amazing to learn that I lived so close to an area that is so important in nature, and never been there before!


For the next two days, I flew down to Cardiff from Valley to go to the office in Tŷ Hywel, Cardiff Bay. There was another man on mentorship called Mo so on arrival we went for a tour of the site and found out more about how the Senedd and Tŷ Hywel work. After arriving back to the office I translated a document for release to the press then immediately we went to visit the BBC which was running an event to discuss broadcasting issues in Wales. Then after lunch I sat and listened to FMQ’s. It has to be said, that I was a little bit starstruck walking around seeing the different Assembly Members. I even got my book signed by Adam Price! Down in Cardiff I also helped to write a speech and go to a note-taking meeting.


For the rest of the week I was back in Llangefni responding to the pains of constituents and trying to help them and writing e-mails to try and help them with a wide range of issues.


The week has been amazing! I’ve learned so many things and the experience really has been great! It has been an eye-opener for all the work that the office does and of course the Assembly Member. Listening to national issues in the chamber and to hear local problems in the constituency office. For anyone thinking of going on work experience to the office, do it! It has been an amazing experience, thanks to Rhun ap Iorwerth and Non ap Gwyn (Office Manager) for a great week.

Look for the sunshine in the rain

Guest post from Bleddyn Harris, Organisational Development and Training Officer  – National Assembly for Wales. Diversity and Inclusion Week.

Rainbow

Noun

An arch of colours visible in the sky, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun’s light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere.

When Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag, I wonder if he ever truly understood how – alongside becoming an unapologetically fabulous and auspicious protest against the undue discrimination of love and identity – it perfectly encapsulated the experience of the many LGBTQ individuals who have used it as a shield in a world that doesn’t appear to want them: sunshine and rain, all at once.

When I think about being gay, I often come to the conclusion that it has been the single most painful and healing experience I have endured. Not that being gay is a painful experience, more that it has been the excuse so many have used when they have left me raw and exposed, often, and paradoxically, in the name of ‘love’. It has been a catalyst for people who do not know me, who will never meet me, who will never accept me, who will never love me, to call for me to be made illegal, to erase my history, to want me in jail, to think to beat me up, to stop me from getting married, to want me dead. See, it’s not all unicorns and drag queens, is it?

I don’t quite like to say that being my authentic self is in spite of the kinds of people I have named above because I feel it attributes all of the battles I have had to win with my self-esteem and self-acceptance to a bunch of people who will never care… but, yes, being myself is totally in spite of those people because I want them to know that I won’t let their bigotry get in the way of me living my life full of colour and with a love they seek to deny me.

I know, I know, I’m harping on about the negative aspects of this experience, but it’s only because I think the struggle is often overlooked by the idea that the community, specifically gay men, are a collective group of audacious and colourful people who are happy to be bold and bright and beautiful in their own way, no matter what. There’s never really a discussion about the internal monologues, the struggles, the fear we have when we walk down the street because ‘do I look too gay? Am I walking funny? People are looking: I should stop holding my partner’s hand’.

I feel this struggle, as well as everyone’s entirely personal and different experience of being a part of the LGBTQ community, was summed up in a conversation I had with a friend over dinner: we were talking about an LGBT talk we saw at the Hay Festival that centred on the Stonewall Uprising and the struggles we’ve endured and the successes the community has been given – please note that we have to be given the same right as our heterosexual and cis-gendered counterparts which means they can just as easily be given away. The conversation led to a question of whether we would take a pill to make us straight. I immediately said no without much thought. My friend said yes. He asked me why I would choose to live a life of living on the outskirts of being ‘normal’, a life of constantly looking over your shoulder because you walk/talk a certain way, a life of feeling like you’re only ever tolerated and not truly accepted. I gently reminded him that sometimes you need to look for the sunshine in the rain and know that we are able to live the life so many people before our time died dreaming of: their prayers, strength, and rebellion still protect us.

If you’ve managed to stay with me, I’d like to pay homage to those who came before me that I’ll never be able to meet, that I’ll never be able to thank. Too many of their names and stories have been forgotten. Why? I don’t know. Is it society trying to erase our history? Maybe. Is it society attempting to avoid their guilt by not bringing it up? Possibly. Is this absence of heroes still affecting the lives of millions of LGBTQ individuals who still feel like they don’t belong? Absolutely. Whatever it is, I mourn it. I mourn the history, the pride, the art, and the wisdom that has died with the gay men, the lesbians, the trans and non-binary individuals, people who are bi, the activists, the lovers, the thinkers, the queers, the ones who loved too much, the ones who trusted too much, the ones who made a silly mistake on a night out because they were trying to escape the cruel reality of their world filled with an unfiltered and unneeded hatred. I’m angry at how the lives, loves, and loss of these people are constantly being undermined in countries around the world. I’m angry that I’m still illegal in over 70 countries. I’m angry that there are protests against teaching children about different family dynamics. I’m angry that people are ignoring the fact that LGBTQ individuals are more likely to be affected by mental health issues. I’m angry that people think that our struggle is over because some laws have been changed to protect us.

But would I take a pill to make me straight? Absolutely not.

If I had to do it all over again, I would. I’d go through all the bullying, the rejection, the being told I have a demon inside of me that must be prayed away, being told I should die, being told I’m not worthy, being told that God doesn’t love me, being told I shouldn’t have been born, being told I’ll burn in hell, being asked to leave the church, being spat on nights out, being told I’m not a real man, being told I’d never be happy, because accepting myself and learning, each and every day, to love myself in the face of adversity has been worth it.

I don’t know where I’d be today if I didn’t have the courage to accept myself and allow myself the love to find out who I am: a proud gay man.

It’s for these reasons that I work at the Assembly and pursue an active role within the OutNAW network: with such an openly inclusive and diverse staff, it was important to me to work in a place central to the development of Wales who exhibits the culture we need to make sure no bi voice goes unheard, no trans individual is told they can’t be who they are, that no lesbian teenager is bullied for being herself, that no gay has to think about whether they would take a pill to be straight.

rainbow flag

Organisational Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Guest post from Manon Antoniazzi, Chief Executive and Clerk  – National Assembly for Wales.

Today is the first day of our Diversity and Inclusion week.

The senior team and I are wholly committed to ensuring that as an employer and parliamentary organisation, we are an exemplar in our promotion of diversity, inclusion, equality and provision of accessible services.

In order to deliver this, we have developed our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy and accompanying action plan which will help us deliver our diversity and inclusion vision and values.

The Strategy sets out how our staff deliver and promote inclusive, accessible services and achieve positive outcomes for people.

It will also help us plan how we comply with the duties placed on the Assembly Commission by the Government of Wales Act 2006 and also by the Equality Act 2010, covering each of the protected characteristics and other issues such as caring responsibilities, social mobility and other inequalities.

As an employer and service provider, our organisation is committed to ensuring that no-one is disadvantaged or discriminated against on these grounds: discriminatory behaviour will be dealt with via our disciplinary procedures. Also, as an employer, we encourage flexible working practices whilst accommodating our business needs.

In line with the Assembly Commission’s strategic goals, it is important to us that the Assembly continues to be accessible to the people of Wales and beyond: making it relevant, easy and meaningful for people to interact with it and contribute to its work.

It is also important to us that we behave as an inclusive employer, attracting and retaining talent, enabling everyone we employ to realise their full potential.

 


Manon Antoniazzi  – Chief Executive and Clerk


RESPECT

We are inclusive, kind, and value each other’s contributions in delivering excellent services.

PASSION

We are purposeful in our support of democracy and pull together to make a difference for the people of Wales.

PRIDE

We embrace innovation and celebrate our achievements together as a team.

WE ARE ONE TEAM

 

Scam HMRC Calls At The Assembly – What You Need To Know

You may have seen news reports about fraudulent callers posing as the HMRC, using National Assembly for Wales contact numbers. We wanted to explain a little bit about what’s going on and what you can do if you receive one of these calls.

About spoof calls

Callers are left a message saying they are being threatened with legal action, and are asked to call the number back. The number then leads to one of us here at the Assembly. Unfortunately, this is completely unconnected to any of our systems and we cannot stop this happening.

This type of scam is known as ‘spoofing’ – where a fraudster is able to fool the telephone network to give the person receiving the call a false caller ID.

It’s an issue that is also being experienced by other organisations with similar phone numbers. We have informed the National Crime Agency and Action Fraud of the issue and are also working with HMRC.

What to do if you receive a spoof call

If you’ve received one of these calls, please don’t call the number back. If you’re concerned, you can follow HMRC’s advice below.

Getting in Touch with the National Assembly for Wales If you need to get in touch with the National Assembly for Wales, you can contact us via:

Telephone: 0300 200 6565 – we welcome calls from people using Next Generation Text (NGT)

SMS: 07970 493958

Email: contact@assembly.wales

Access and complete our online enquiry form

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World Bee Day 2019: The Pierhead Bees

Summer 2018

During the bees’ first year at the Pierhead we are not expecting much honey, but they have settled in and are in good health.  Staff volunteers monitor the hives once a week, and we are also lucky enough to have a couple of members of staff with their own apiaries who bring a wealth of knowledge to maintaining the hives.

Despite being only a few months into the project the two hives are already demonstrating their own unique personalities, with Hive 2 definitely hosting a much rowdier crowd!

Spring 2019

The bees spent the autumn slimming down their numbers and building up their foodstock to make the over-wintering process as efficient as possible.

After our last inspection of them in November it was important not to open the hive and let them cool down too much.  They then spent the winter using up the food they’d stored in the cells, most of which will have been delicious honey.  Huddled together in the hive and vibrating their wings for warmth, they manage to keep the core temperature a toasty 35 degrees!  The bees will even rotate as a group- to keep the queen warm in the middle and ensure they all spend their fair share on the outside.

To help the bees get through the long winter and into spring before more natural food appears, we provided the bees with some fondant- a sugar based food rather like icing sugar.  You can see from the images below how they made use of it through February, March, and into April:

We also made some other provisions for the hives over winter.  As well as checking they had enough food we strapped them down to protect against high winds, and also fitted mouse guards.  Mice will love the warm dry space in the middle of winter, especially when it’s full of honey!

Our small efforts, coupled with the bees natural survival skills, meant the two hives made it through into spring safely.  We’ve checked on them to look at their food supply and health, as well as rearrange their frames a bit to ensure they have enough space.  They’re out foraging round the Bay now- enjoying the wealth of tree blossom and flowers the warm weather has brought.

Jamboree in the Senedd: Marking 20 years of devolution

The Senedd was a hive of activity on Bank Holiday Monday, 6 May 2019, when we hosted a fun-filled jamboree to mark 20 years of devolution in Wales.

Kicking things off with a colourful parade around the Bay were Samba Galez, whose samba drum beats could be heard all the way across the Cardiff Bay barrage in Penarth.

Inside the building, visitors were greeted by Dewi, an 8ft dragon made from over 185,00 individual LEGO® bricks. Upstairs, children were invited to “build their Wales” out of bricks on a giant map on the floor of the Senedd, complete a piece of the Senedd LEGO®mosaic, or just play with the DUPLO®.

There were workshops with bilingual beat-boxer Mr Phormula, and No Fit State were on hand to help visitors practice their juggling, hula-hooping and other circus skills. Younger guests enjoyed getting their hands dirty with the Science Boffins’ slimy experiments.  

Downstairs, one of the most popular performers were the incredible KLA Dance troupe who delighted the crowds with their dazzling dance routines.

Welsh language music played all day long, courtesy of a pedal powered disco ‘Disgo Ynni Da’, and there was a chance to hear the story of the Welsh language in a show by educational theatre company In Character.

To help mark the 20th anniversary of devolution, visitors were also invited to share their thoughts about shaping the future of Wales. A notice board posed the question What are your hopes and aspirations for your area by 2039? and we received contributions received from people of all ages.

Environmental issues featured prominently, with many people noting that they hoped to see less plastic waste by 2039. Building safer cycle routes was also a popular topic as well as promoting a healthier and fitter way of life, to improve the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing.

By the end of the day, over 1,350 people had come through the doors to celebrate with us, and learn a little bit more about the work of the National Assembly for Wales.

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There’s more!

Over the summer months we will be holding a series of events to mark 20 years of devolution. A packed schedule will culminate in a festival of democracy at the end of September which will see names from the arts, sports, journalism and politics gather in Cardiff Bay.

Follow @AssemblyWales on Twitter or NationalAssemblyforWales on Facebook to keep up with the latest announcements.

Meet the team: Security Officers

Our Security Officers are responsible for the safety and security of all those who visit or work at the National Assembly for Wales. Here, some of the team talk about the role…

Darllenwch yr erthygl yma yn Gymraeg | View this post in Welsh

Shahzad

Shahzad, Security Officer

“I have been working in Security now for six months. I have had the most amazing and wonderful experiences.  To be able to work and be part of the Welsh Assembly staff is an honour in itself and such an accolade to have.

The National Assembly holds diversity and multi-cultural ethos in its core values. I have seen Welsh local school children, charities, different ethnic backgrounds and organisations from all walks of life during my role as a Security Officer. Local people from the Association of Muslim professionals to the Autistic Society to the local woman’s forum to name a few. I feel that we have so much to offer from Ty Hywel, the Senedd and our iconic Pierhead buildings. 

Local cultures and public in general from all walks of life visit us on a daily basis and we are such a symbol of hope and prosperity. Within the last 6 months I have seen a positive change within myself and flourished in terms of commitment, resilience and being able to adjust to business needs and requirements. I have grown within myself and every day is a learning curve.

I am currently learning Welsh and have been on numerous courses.  There are so many opportunities to enhance skills and develop within my role.  I am also able to provide time to my family due to different shift patterns and work life balance. 

Being able to speak different dialects from the Asian background the joy it brings to the public and myself I felt being really helpful.  This was only possible whilst I am working for the Welsh Assembly.

The positive culture and friendly professional attitude coupled with hard work is in the heart of what we do in Security. So we are firm at the same time in touch with our customer service and adhere to a professional code at all times.

I am proud to be part of the National Assembly Security team and look forward to a long career.

The personal support I receive is the best I have seen in my entire career.  From my colleagues to my managers and senior managers the support and help I receive have been absolutely wonderful.”


Chris

Chris, Security Officer

“My responsibilities as a Security Officer vary day to day.  It’s a challenging role that requires constant vigilance and composure which is demanding yet rewarding. I witness the team ethic instilled within the department every day and a consistency that is essential for the provision of public safety. It’s great to work alongside the police and external agencies to maintain the wellbeing of all visitors and staff on the Assembly estate.

The frequency of events and role rotation keeps each day interesting, from weekly Plenary to National Eisteddfod, Champions League to Grand Slam Celebrations.  There are plenty of opportunities to develop skills by accessing on-site training or courses and I look forward to further developing my role at the Assembly.”

Stacey

Stacey, Security Officer

“Working as part of the security team is a varied role and no two days are the same. We get to engage with stakeholders across the entire organisation and with members of the public from all walks of life. We also get to be involved with the running of the political environment within the assembly working closely with the members themselves. We work a varied shift pattern which elevates the same mundane hours of work week in week out.

The role also has a training element encouraging the team to be trained in first aid, conflict management and evacuation procedures to name a few.

We also get the opportunity to work alongside prestigious events such as homecoming events for the welsh rugby team, Geraint Thomas’ homecoming and the GB Olympic teams.

There is always something to be a part of and the variety of the role is what makes it so interesting.”


Security Officers are the first point of contact for Assembly Members, staff and all visitors to the Senedd, Pierhead and Tŷ Hywel buildings.  They must be able to provide first class customer service, along with the necessary skills to protect the people, property and equipment within the estate.


We are currently recruiting for new Security Officers.

Find out more or make an application on our recruitment pages.