Tag: Cardiff

Proud to be marching with the Assembly at Pride Cymru

by Claire Clancy, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Assembly

Photograph of Claire Clancy wearing a rainbow garland to prepare for Pride Cymru
Claire Clancy preparing for Pride Cymru

This Saturday I will be joining members and fellow allies of OUT-NAW, our LGBT workplace network, in marching in the Pride Cymru parade through Cardiff. Although we have been attending Pride for many years, this is the first time that the Assembly has been part of the parade and I am delighted to be joining colleagues in promoting and encouraging LGBT equality.

I think it is important that the Assembly is represented at events such as this to show that we are committed to being an inclusive organisation. We are very proud of our success in the Stonewall Workplace Index, where we have been ranked as the third best LGBT-inclusive organisation in the UK.

I will be joined in the parade by other members of the Management Board as well as staff from across the organisation.

If you are in the city centre, please wave and support us. Also, if you are attending Pride don’t forget to visit the Assembly Outreach bus.

I would also like to wish the Assembly’s rugby team good luck in the Enfys 7’s LGBT-inclusive tournament this weekend. I’m sure they would be grateful of your support this weekend too.

The Llywydd’s press release provides more information on our Pride Cymru celebrations.

Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee – Stakeholder Introduction Event

The newly formed Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee of the National Assembly for Wales recently welcomed stakeholders to Cardiff to participate in an introduction event.

The purpose of the event was to give stakeholders the opportunity to meet new Members of the Committee and to speak to them about their priorities and aspirations for the Committee.

Individuals from organisations such as Careers Wales, Federation of Small Businesses, Arriva Trains Wales, Network Rail and Colegau Cymru arrived at the Senedd to view the Committee’s meeting first of all. This was an opportunity to see the Committee Members question the new Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates AM and to listen to his priorities and the content of his portfolio.

Following the Committee Meeting, stakeholders and Committee Members met at the Urdd Centre, where an event under a ‘speed-networking’ format took place.

Everyone were allocated to a table with people from different sectors and Assembly Members from the Committee.

There were discussions during the event around different aspects of the Committees remit.

They discussed that the Committee needed to look into various options for taking forward changes to business rates and also need to consider city regions, their purpose and what levers will they be given to succeed.

Discussions around transport included looking into the Government’s preparations for the next Welsh Rail Franchise and considering what improvements have been made to integrated public transport.

When discussing skills questions were raised around whether Wales is training the right people for the right skills. There was also a discussion around the Welsh Government’s budget reduction to Careers Wales and the impact of this on their role and remit.

The Committee will now take into consideration the points raised during the event in order to inform and shape their work for the next five years.

If you’d like further information about the Committee, or would like to keep up to date with their work, you can visit the Committee’s webpage.

You can also follow the Committee on twitter @SeneddEIS

Employment opportunities for people over 50

Back in November 2014 the National Assembly for Wales’ Enterprise and Business Committee decided it would undertake an inquiry into employment opportunities for people over 50 in Wales.

It can be difficult for people who are over 50 to find a job, especially one which uses all their skills. The Committee decided to look into what can be done about this because people are living longer and pensions are getting smaller. The majority of people are working longer and by now it is not required for people to retire when they are 60 or 65 years old.

As well as asking outside organisations, academics and the public what they think by asking them to respond in writing the Committee also visited representative organisations to discuss the inquiry with them.

The Committee visited staff members from John Lewis in Cardiff, NIACE Cymru, Working Links, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wales TUC and Pembrokeshire County Council on 12 February 2015. Discussions were held around barriers that people over 50 face when looking for a new job. Are there any stereotypes about the employment of people over 50, how can they can be tackled and whether there is anything the Welsh Government need to do to support and promote employment for people over 50.

Some of the barriers discussed during these visits were the lack of funding for training opportunities and the lack of things like IT skills. You can see read more about these discussions on the Committee’s webpage here.

Here, Rhun Ap Iorwerth AM tells us about his discussion with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Human Resources staff.

As well as visiting representative organisations the Committee also spoke to individuals during their meetings at the Senedd, including the office of the older people’s commissioner for Wales and representatives from Age Cymru and Prime Cymru.

The Committee have published their report which includes recommendations on things the Committee thinks the Welsh Government should do to make it easier for people over 50 to find employment. One of the things the Committee have recommended that the Welsh Government do is to hold an ‘Age Positive’ campaign to encourage employers to employ people over 50. With the older people’s commissioner the Welsh Government should also have a campaign which will increase the number of work placements and apprenticeships for people over 50. The Committee also recommend that the Welsh Government should write a skills strategy for people over 50 which says how they will help those people get the skills they need to get a job.

You can see a copy of the full report or a summary report here and you can view press coverage from the report launch below by clicking on the images.

BBC NEWS#

ITV NEWS

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The Committee will be speaking to the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology during the autumn term to ask what she will do about their recommendations.

For updates please follow @SeneddEcon.

Co-investment and mobilising a productive and skilled workforce in Wales

April 2015 saw the Welsh Government begin to implement its framework for co-investment in skills. This framework changes the way in which training, skills and apprenticeships are funded in Wales.

The new approach to investing in skills means that the total cost of training, in cash terms, is shared between two or more people. For businesses or individuals who employ apprentices or offer work-based training, the change means that they must increase their financial contributions to meet the cost of skills training in their workforce.

William Graham AM, Chair of the Enterprise and Business Committee

Expecting to be fully implemented by 2017, the Enterprise and Business Committee wanted to find out how this would impact Welsh businesses and training providers. Would the new framework help meet the Welsh Government’s aim of “ensuring that Wales develops a competitive edge in mobilising a productive and skilled workforce”?

The Committee held business breakfasts, in both North and South Wales to explore these issues further. The first meeting took place in Brains Brewery, Cardiff with a variety of representatives from the academic, business and training sectors.

Gwawr Thomas, Creative Skillset Cymru talks about taking part in the event and explains the importance of co-investment in skills within the creative industries:

Participants discussed the need to consider the different levels of financial support available to a variety of businesses who may be operating on different scales. Increased investment from employers may mean that those businesses then select candidates who have experience – which could see them neglect young candidates which would see the policy work against the Welsh Government’s aim.

Dylan's, Menai Bridge - Anglesey
Dylan’s, Menai Bridge – Anglesey

The second breakfast meeting took place in Dylan’s Restaurant, Anglesey with local training providers and business representatives. Iwan Thomas, the Regional Skills and Employment Lead for the North Wales Economic Ambition Board was one of the invited guests.

One of the key messages he wanted to get across was for the Welsh Government to consider a regional approach to co-investment, and how they should be taking the change forward:

Having held both business breakfasts, the Enterprise and Business Committee sent a letter of recommendations to the Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Julie James AM to consider in relation to the policy change. You can read the letter of recommendations here: http://bit.ly/1fzxrp1

Guest Blog: Consultation Event to Scrutinise the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill

My name is Claire Blakeway and I am the Vice President for the Heath Park Campus at Cardiff University Students’ Union. On Wednesday the 18th of March, I took part in a consultation event to scrutinise the Renting Homes (Wales) Bill. This involved Assembly Members speaking to a wide range of tenants about their experiences of renting properties from the council, housing association and private landlords. Tenants from different rental areas were put into focus groups which were led by Assembly Members. In my focus group, I was representing the tenancy views of students.

On the whole I agreed with ideas of the new Housing Bill but felt that there needed to be more detail around repair agreements. For example, there needs to be a detailed scheduling timeline in the agreement that outlines how quickly landlords should react to acknowledging and working towards resolving a repair that is reported by a tenant. I feel that currently tenants can be waiting a long time before repairs are addressed, and as result of this they are essentially paying to rent a property that isn’t fully to the standard that they originally rented the property out for. By implementing a repair agreement with specific timelines, both landlords and tenants will know exactly what to expect in the case of a repair and landlords can work to complete a repair in a pre-agreed timeline and thus meet the expectations of their tenant.

Here’s Claire being interviewed after the event:

I also fed my ideas into the focus group around how firmer repercussions need to be implemented for landlords and tenants who breach their contracts. The more serious repercussions are, the more likely it is that contracts will be adhered too and respected.

I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the focus groups, and it was great to hear AM so interested in the views of students. I look forward to seeing the Housing Bill being released, and hope that my views will be taken on board. Thank you to the Welsh Assembly for inviting me along!

The next step is for the Committee to hear what other people think about the Bill in formal meetings at the Senedd. The first of these meetings takes place on Wednesday morning, where the Committee will talk to the Welsh Government Minister responsible for the Bill, Lesley Griffiths AM. You can watch this meeting live on Senedd TV.

More information about the meeting is available here.

The Outreach team: Understanding and Engaging with the people of Wales

We’ve had a busy start to 2015 visiting groups across Wales delivering workshops about the National Assembly for Wales.

In January we attended a Community Event at Cardiff Story Museum which was organised by Cardiff Third Sector Council. We met with members of the public to inform them of the Assembly’s work and discussed different ways of engagement. We had a great day meeting new faces and telling people how they can have their views heard.

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Age Connects North Wales Central arranged Understanding and Engaging sessions for their forums across North Wales at the beginning of the year. We visited forums in St Asaph, Rhyl, Rhuthun, Corwen, Prestatyn and Colwyn Bay. During the visit to Age Connects in Corwen, Antoinette Sandbach came long and spoke to the group about her role as an Assembly Member.

Speaking after the workshop, Antoinette Sandbach AM said: “It was great to have an opportunity to discuss the work that I do in the National Assembly. I thoroughly enjoyed engaging with such a lively, interested and well informed audience.”

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On 3 February we spoke to the All Wales People First Council during their National Council Residential Meeting. We spoke to them about Assembly Members that represent them in their area, what the Assembly are currently discussing and how they can get involved. Following on from this presentation we recently provided a workshop to Powys People First which focused on the 20 devolved areas in Wales and how to submit a petition to the Assembly.

Powys People First 24.02.15

In February we worked with the UK Parliament Outreach team to deliver a session to a group of service users from Conwy Connect for Learning Disabilities in Colwyn Bay.

The aim of the session was to ensure that service users understand what the UK Parliament and Assembly do and who represents them in both.

Speaking after the session, Sue Davies, Conwy Connect Senior Co-ordinator said:

“We were delighted that the National Assembly Outreach Team and the Parliament Outreach Service partnered together to deliver a joint interactive and interesting workshop to our members which included people with learning disabilities, parent/carers and Voluntary organisations.  It was enjoyed by all – its not easy making politics interesting but they both did this through the use of photographs, videos and users friendly exercises.”

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After a visit to Interlink RCT in February Rachel Wyatt said the following about our workshops:

“The ‘Understanding and Engaging’ workshop gave people an excellent overview of the work of the National Assembly for Wales, who their local representatives are, how they can contact them and some of the different ways that people can become involved in the work of the Assembly”.

Our aim is to connect the people of Wales with the work of the Assembly by discussing:

  • Who represents you
  • How decisions made in the Assembly affect Wales and its people
  • How the Assembly hold the Welsh Government to account
  • How you can get involved in decisions made by the Assembly

If you would like to arrange an Understanding and Engaging workshop for your group, or are simply interested in our work, please contact us via email: contact@assembly.wales or phone us on 0300 300 6565.

You can follow us on twitter @SeneddOutreach / @SeneddAllgym to keep updated on visits as well as to learn about the work we do on behalf of committees. You can also visit our pages on the Assembly website.

Understanding and Engaging with the Assembly

Last month the National Assembly for Wales’s Outreach Team visited ten groups across Wales to provide Understanding and Engaging workshops and hosted three events in support of Assembly Business.

This month we met with 566 people to discuss the role of the Assembly and inform them of:

  • Who their representatives are
  • How decisions made at the Assembly affect the people of Wales
  • How the Assembly hold the Welsh Government to account
  • How they can get involved in decisions made by the Assembly

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The Benllech 50+ Group were a particularly lively bunch. While discussing the legislative process of the National Assembly for Wales we opened up the discussion and asked the group what changes they’d like to see. Chief among their priorities was a focus on tourism and transport, issues they said are very important to them in Anglesey.

Chair of the Group, Mrs Dilys Standish said after the session:

“We’ve just had a presentation from the Outreach Team [who are based] at Colwyn Bay. It was very interesting to know how the Welsh Assembly works and all the different ways we can, as a community, get involved with the Assembly.

A wonderful afternoon has been had by all and it was very informative.”

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A group from Women Making a Difference also came to us at the Senedd for a presentation this month. We had a very interactive session discussing how the group would prioritise spending if they were given control of the budget. This group were also very surprised to learn about the Assembly’s petitioning system and how simple the process was to understand.

Other groups we’ve visited groups this month range from Chwarae Teg in Cardiff to YMCA in Swansea and up to the West Flintshire Communities First cluster.

If your group would be interested in receiving an Understanding and Engaging workshop, or are simply interested in our work, please contact us via OutreachTeam@assembly.wales or phone us on 0300 200 6574.

This month we’ve also been busy supporting Assembly business by hosting the Communities, Equality and Local Government Committee’s poverty roundtable event at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff and their site visits to projects and organisations all across Wales, and the Enterprise and Business Committee’s Tourism report launch in Aberglasney and their Assisting Younger People into work roundtable in Swansea. You can view the pictures from these events on the Assembly’s Flickr page.

Remember to keep up with our activities by following us on Twitter @SeneddOutreach or keep an eye on the ‘Assembly in your area’ section on the Assembly website.