Tag: Young People

Sharing good practice in scrutiny (2)

Outreach Manager Kevin Davies explains…

Welcome back! My first blog entry set the scene and explained how and why Swansea Council’s Scrutiny Committee came to visit the National Assembly for Wales to discuss ideas around public engagement in scrutiny.

In it I explained that wanted to explore ways of encouraging more people to take part in committee work, be it to help the Assembly scrutinise the work of the Welsh Government, or to help local council scrutinise the work of council leaders. We share the same challenge…sometimes we don’t hear from the variety of people would like to.
To read my first blog entry click here.

In this blog entry I’ll explain how we at the Assembly try to overcome this issue, and reference examples and case studies.

Consultation toolkit

I was really impressed by Swansea Council’s openness to ideas, and their desire to engage the public in the work they do. I appreciated some of the concerns that they had (that I’m sure every other public sector organisation shares) around having the time, effort and resource to do it properly. As a public sector organisation, this is something we at the Assembly also have to consider, and it shapes the types of activity we can offer and deliver.

A few years ago we produced our consultation toolkit (PDF 5.82MB). The toolkit is a list of engagement methods which have been used by the National Assembly and have been evaluated after use, with strengths, weaknesses suggestions of lead in times, costs and other considerations. It lists the different things the Assembly’s Outreach team can deliver when helping committees find more people to take part in a consultation. The toolkit includes a lot of different options, ways of gathering people’s opinions (evidence) including things like focus groups, events, filming video interviews, web-chats and surveys.

Finding people from different backgrounds, and hearing their perspectives helps Assembly Members understand the issues and the impact they have on people’s lives. Better informed Assembly Members (or councillors for that matter) leads to better scrutiny and better policies, so the value of engaging a broader group of people in this process shouldn’t be undervalued.

This video shows Rhun ap Iorwerth AM and Julie James AM talking about taking part in a web-chat with students on the subject of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Skills in Wales as part of committee scrutiny:

This video shows people who took part in video interviews for the Enterprise and Business Committee’s inquiry into youth entrepreneurship:

You might think that doing these things cost a lot of money. Using Google Hangouts to run web-chats is totally free. If you want to film video interviews with people in your area, an iPad will set you back about £200, which you can use to film people in high definition, and you can use an app called iMovie to edit the footage. A survey can be designed, published and promoted for little cost, using Facebook, Twitter and other channels. We have recently been promoting an inquiry into Supply Teaching in Wales through paid promoted Facebook posts which cost us £50 over the course of two weeks. This post (to date) has been shared 117 times and 39 comments made on the post.

Finding participants

Consider is who you see/work with on a day to day basis through the activities/services your organisations provide day to day. At the National Assembly we have communications staff which sees people coming into the Senedd, going into schools, colleges and youth clubs, and community groups across Wales to explain what the Assembly does and how they can get involved. We have used these interactions, things we do on a day-to-day basis, to explain issues  being discussed at the National Assembly at the moment, and provide people with direct opportunities to have their say on these topics.

When we find people to take part in engagement activity for committee consultations, we regularly contact charities, voluntary organisations, representative bodies and community groups. Local councils deliver a wide variety of services to different groups of people so engaging with these existing groups could be a very quick and easy way for councils to broaden the range of people who could contribute to their scrutiny work. Something we tried for the Human Transplantation Bill inquiry was leaving leaflets at GP surgeries, targeting people with specific needs in a specific area.

Feedback

One of the areas that the crew from Swansea Council were really interested in was how we feedback to people who have contributed throughout the process. We showed some examples of how we’ve done this, such as this  .

Committing to feeding back to participants is really important, or you could undo all the good work done during engagement activity by leaving people without updates on what their involvement lead to. At the Assembly we are currently looking at how we communicate with the public, particularly how we communicate the work of committees. As part of this process we will be considering how we keep people informed about the process of an inquiry they have taken part in, and what platforms (be it by using video, Storify or simply an e-mail) we should use when doing this. Piecing together the customer journey seems to be an area both Swansea Council and the National Assembly are looking at at the moment, and hopefully we can work together in doing this. Watch this space.

That seems like a good place to bring this blog entry to a close. The next entry will look at the planning process, and how this work happens behind the scenes at the Assembly to make all of these engagement opportunities possible.

#Youthjobs

Transport, lack of skills to enter the workforce, issues with work experience, careers advice, and lack of signposting towards things like apprenticeships are just some of the things young people said when discussing the barriers that exist when they are looking for work.

The National Assembly for Wales checks how the Welsh Government spends money, and what effect their policies are having on the people of Wales. One of the National Assembly’s committees, the Enterprise and Business Committee has looked into the challenges that young people face when they are trying to find a job.

Young people for all over Wales took part in video interviews with the National Assembly’s Outreach team, which were shown to the Assembly Members on the Committee.

The Committee also held an event in Swansea where they spoke with front line staff who work with and support young people on a daily basis, told the Committee what they felt the issues were and how they could be addressed.

Here are some pictures from the event:

 Two participants in discussion at the event in Swansea.  Three participants in discussion at the event in Swansea.

Four participants in discussion around a table at the workshop in Swansea.

For more images see our Flickr album.

After the event the Committee spoke with people at official meetings at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

The Committee have produced a report which they have sent to the Welsh Government. The report includes recommendations on things the Committee thinks the Welsh Government should do to make it easier for young people find work.

This video shows what young people told us, and the recommendations the Committee has made to the Welsh Government:

You can also read a summary of the report here (pdf, 184KB)

The Welsh Government will need to respond to the Committee’s recommendations, and the Committee will be keeping an eye on what progress they are making in delivering some of the changes suggested in the report.

How to get involved and keep up-to date with the Committee’s work

Assembly People: Apprenticeship Week

Our apprentice Lori with a member of HR in the Assembly library
Our apprentice Lori with a member of HR in the Assembly library

Apprenticeship Week celebrates the positive impact apprenticeships have on individuals and businesses.

Lori Nicolls, apprentice with our Communications team, talks about her experience…

Recently, I visited my former school, Blackwood Comprehensive in Gwent as part of the ‘Apprenticeship Ambassadors’ scheme working with the Welsh Government’s Department for Education and Skills.

I was thrilled to be chosen, and I couldn’t wait to give my talk to the students on my experience of being an apprentice and working in the National Assembly for Wales. Apprehensive, but armed with my notes, I spoke in front of 200 year 10 students.

Before leaving school, I wasn’t sure what career path I wanted to take, so after applying for numerous jobs with no luck, I was surprised to see that there were apprenticeships available in business and media, as I had always thought apprenticeships were for more traditional courses like hairdressing or construction.

In February 2013, I was pleased when I managed to secure a position as an apprentice at the National Assembly, and was placed in the Communications department. My role varies daily, which is what I love about my job. Some days I’ll be focusing on social media, creating and drafting tweets to engage with the public, other days I may be helping my colleague in planning or hosting events, or some days I may be working on the Assembly’s publications.

With more and more employers asking for experience, an apprenticeship really is the best of both worlds. You learn whilst earning, whilst gaining invaluable experience.


The apprenticeship programme is funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.

From butchery to baking, engineering to electrical or hospitality to HR there is a huge range of apprenticeship frameworks available for young people across Wales.

For more information about becoming an apprentice, please visit www.careerswales.com or call 0800 0284844. Also find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/apprenticeshipscymru  and on Twitter @apprenticewales

The Curriculum in Wales – over 1000 young people have their say!

Over the summer the Assembly spoke with over 1000 children and young people across Wales to capture their views on the curriculum, qualifications and assessments.

Through a survey which was promoted at summer events like the National Eisteddfod and Royal Welsh Show, young people were given an opportunity to tell us what skills and subjects should (or shouldn’t!) be taught in schools, how careers advice could be improved and what they thought about the Welsh Baccalaureate.

Assembly Outreach Bus

An amazing 1177 young people responded, from every region in Wales! The results have shown that financial literacy, politics and modern business languages (like Chinese) should be taught more in schools, and only 29% of respondents felt that what they were currently being taught in schools, adequately prepares them for later life and finding a job.

Once published, the survey results were shared with Assembly Members and the Assembly Committees. The Children, Young People and Education Committee shared the findings with Professor Graham Donaldson, who is leading the Welsh Government’s Review of the Curriculum and Assessment in Wales, and wrote of his gratitude in bringing the statistics to his attention.

Summer Event

The results were also considered by the Enterprise and Business Committee, as part of the Inquiry into Assisting Young People into Work. Parts of the inquiry focus on careers advice young people receive in schools, and the results highlight what a number of young people told them through video evidence – namely, that careers advice needs to be improved in schools to help young people decide how to go about finding work and getting the skills they need to do that.

Bethan Jenkins AM

Finally, Bethan Jenkins AM spoke recently spoke in a Plenary debate, about her desire to improve financial literacy skills in Wales. She would like to do so by asking the National Assembly to consider her Financial Education and Inclusion (Wales) Bill. The purpose of this law would be to promote financial literacy in the Welsh population by making it part of the school curriculum. She was able to use these results to successfully argue for the Bill’s consideration.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the survey, and for taking that opportunity to have their say!

Scouts Wales – Democracy Challenge Badge

Back in 2012 the National Assembly for Wales’ Outreach team formalised a partnership with Scouts Wales in order to provide them with resources for their Democracy Challenge Badge. The Democracy Challenge is intended to encourage young people to explore the democratic processes of the United Kingdom, Wales and Local Authorities in order that they are better placed to make their own judgements in the future and take an appropriate part in democracy in society.

Resources have been created by the Outreach team in order for leaders to have guidelines and activities in place to complete the requirements of the badge. Once completed the Scouts receive the badge below:

Badge

Over the last couple of months the Outreach team have been busy promoting these resources with Scout leaders from all across Wales and have attended numerous events in order to do this.

Back in June the National Assembly for Wales’ Outreach bus was present at the Scouts Wales Scout Camp in Builth Wells and the Outreach team spoke to over 1,000 Scouts about the work of the Assembly. Scouts also received the opportunity to have their say on their recycling services by filling in a questionnaire.

bus

Following this the Outreach team visited a number of Scout groups across Wales to introduce them to the Democracy Challenge Badge and to help them on their way to completing the requirements. These groups included Wrexham Beaver and Cub Scouts. The group received an introductory workshop which gave them the opportunity to vote in a mini election. Following on from the workshop the group visited the Senedd in Cardiff in order to help them complete one of the requirements of the badge, which asks them to find out about the Senedd and to create a poster to explain to an adult who it is that meets there.

Wrexham Scouts

Susan Mort, the Cub Scout Leader said:

“Wrexham District cubs visited the Senedd in Cardiff to find out about how their Parliament works and to learn about the meaning of the structure and fabrics used in its construction which is all part of Wales heritage.

We had a successful visit from Caryl who works for the Outreach team visiting organisations giving presentations on the Welsh Assembly. Beavers and Cubs from 6 to 10 and a half years old found out about the Senedd then took a vote on what they thought was most important to them which included sport and education.

As young as they are, they all took part and the results showed how aware they are of the importance of things like education.”

On Saturday 18 September 2014 the Outreach Team were present at the Scouts Wales AGM and Conference at Builth Wells High School. We set up a stand with hard copies of the resources and information publications for leaders to take home with them.

IMG_1316

The Outreach team then had the opportunity to give a presentation on the partnership between the National Assembly for Wales and Scouts Wales with regards to the Democracy Challenge Badge, how leaders can get hold of resources and to encourage as many leaders as possible to take up the challenge with their groups.

IMG_1327

Following the AGM and Conference the Outreach Team spoke to Debbie Tanner who is the Senior Development Officer for Scouts Wales. Below, Debbie tells us what she thinks of the resources created for the Democracy Challenge Badge.

If you would like any further information on the resources, or would like a member of the Outreach team to come out and speak to your Scout group then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01492 523219 or outreachteam@wales.gov.uk

For any other updates on the work of the National Assembly for Wales, please follow our twitter page @AssemblyWales.

Government and Politics conference 2012

Today, Siambr Hywel welcomes 100 sixth form students to debate, create petitions, and write manifestos with AMs and Assembly staff.

Photos will be online later today.

Students from the following schools will be at the Assembly today: Caerleon Comprehensive, Croesyceiliog Comprehensive, Gwent College Crosskeys, Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, Syr Hugh Owen, Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni, Ysgol Gyfun Llanhari, Llanishen High School, Cardiff 6th Form College, Ysgol Bryn Tawe.

The Assembly in your Area – Bridgend KPC Youth Club have their say, 8 December 2011

On Thursday 8 December 2011 young people from Bridgend KPC Youth Club were involved in the National Assembly’s consultation on the Learning and Skills (Wales) Measure 2009 which is currently being looked at by the Assembly’s Children and Young People Committee. The group filled in questionnaires asking for their opinions on how effective the law has been. Participants included Logan Hickey from Llanhari Comprehensive School and Daniel Jones from Cynffig Comprehensive School.

The Assembly in your Area – Sandfields Youth Club have their say, 22 November 2011

On 22 November, the National Assembly’s Outreach Manager in South West Wales delivered a presentation to young people from Sandfields Youth Club. The group heard how they can get involved in the work of the Assembly and have their voices heard, specifically through the Petitions and Children and Young People’s Committee. The group also gave evidence to the inquiry into the Learning and Skills Measure (Wales) 2009, which aims to give 14 to 19 year olds in Wales more choices in the courses they select at school or college. Their contributions will help the Committee’s review of the success of the Measure, and the impact it has had on the lives of young people in Wales.

The Assembly in your Area – Consultation event with Aelwyd yr Ynys, 15 November 2011

On Tuesday evening 15 November 2011, the Assembly’s Outreach Manager in north Wales visited Aelwyd yr Ynys, Ynys Môn with questionnaires for the Children and Young People Committee Inquiry into Learning and Skills (Wales) Measure 2009. The Committee want to know what effect the Measure has had on young people 14 to 19 years of age. The group received a presentation on the work of the Assembly and learnt how the National Assembly for Wales Committees scrutinise the Welsh Government. Assembly Members on the Committee will take a look at the evidence they receive and decide which parts of the law are working well and which parts are working not so well.