I have been lucky enough to work at the National Assembly for Wales now for 2 years and when I get asked “how are you?” and “what are you doing at the moment?”, I always reply with “I am really busy” and “there are so many things happening I don’t know where to start!” – So I thought it might be nice to try and capture what I have been up to lately here in blog form…
I attend a lot of meetings! I go to Education and Youth Engagement team meetings to catch up with everyone to tell each other where we have been, what we are working on and complete any planning work for new projects and ideas. Everyone is generally as busy as me so it is great to have time to catch up. I also attend monthly meetings with the broader Communication Team at the Assembly which are really important. Youth Engagement is one part of a big (and awesome!) Communications Team which includes amazing, talented and super busy people working on the Assembly’s digital content, publications, branding, media relations, events in the Senedd, events around Wales and an outreach service that helps Assembly committees engage with more people and bring them into their work. In these meetings we share all of the work which is happening across the department and how we can support each other. We will also have a ‘guest speaker’ at the meeting from another department or from outside the Assembly which is always insightful and useful.
I also attend meetings with youth organisations across Wales as I network to publicise the work we offer for young people. It’s great to get to meet lots of inspiring youth organisations who provide such excellent opportunities for young people and look at how we can possibly work together. I recently had a meeting at the ‘Cwmbran Centre for Young People’ which was brilliant and it gave me the opportunity to see the amazing work they do for young people and the community in Cwmbran. I was really impressed with the training schemes on offer for young people and the local food bank they have set up to help the community. There are lots of opportunities for us to work together and I can’t wait to go back. Another organisation I recently visited was ‘Horseland’ on Woodland Farm which is a centre for therapeutic horsemanship where they work with young people with a range of issues and challenges. It was a really different environment for a meeting which was so much fun – but next time I need to wear my wellies as I did not have appropriate footwear on at all – although the clue should have been in the name of the place – Woodland Farm! Oops!
I have also been delivering sessions to young people at different ACT Learning centres across South Wales which has been fun. I attended Pride Cymru’s Youth Conference which was just brilliant. Such an insightful and educative day, with a chance to make lots of new contacts. I am looking forward to next year’s conference already.
I also worked with my brilliant colleague, Iestyn Wyn, to organise an event in celebration of Black History Month (BHM). The theme for BHM this year is ‘young, gifted and black’, so we worked with the Black Minority Ethnic community to invite them for a workshop in the Senedd and an exclusive Question and Answer session with the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM. It was such a great event and the young people asked the Llywydd lots of great questions!
I have also been supporting the excellent work of the Children, Young People and Education Committee who have just completed the Inquiry to Youth Services. It has been a busy time with getting 1511 responses from young people on the youth services they do/do not access. It has been a fantastic response and we will be putting the report onto the website when it is ready. There are lots of great Inquiries happening at the moment so make sure you take some time to take part.
There’s been some many other things happening too:
- Peeling 12 full sized oranges for a Primary School choir that were performing at the Senedd – this sounds harder than you think!
- Part of my role is to line manage 2 members of staff, so I spent a couple of days in North Wales doing work plans and supervision duties
- Part of a small team organising a Charity Cake event for Macmillan and Llamau
- Watching the Welsh Government Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Alun Davies, give evidence to the Children, Young People and Education Committee
- Attending the WISERD event on the theme of ‘Young people, politics and the future direction of youth engagement in Wales’
Things are only going to get busier with the recent big announcement by the Llywydd on the Assembly’s intentions to create a Youth Parliament! I am very excited about this and the work by the Campaign for a Young People’s Assembly for Wales has undertaken in the past two years has been instrumental. It shows that young people can make a difference.
I think it is safe to say that I’m going to continue to be very busy here at the Assembly, and you can definitely say that no two days are ever the same in my role as the Youth Engagement Officer!
Well, I am off to practice peeling more oranges……