Getting more and more children to speak Welsh is one of our key aims.
But as well as getting them to speak it in the classroom, we also want to give primary school pupils the chance to see just how important and useful the Welsh language can be in the world of work – well after school has finished.
With that in mind, we held a series of networking events for a number of primary schools earlier this term.
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The series of meet and greet sessions were held to give pupils a sense of the importance of the Welsh language not just in school, but also in the wider world of work. Pupils also learnt about the opportunities and advantages which Welsh language skills can bring in various types of employment.
The speed networking sessions were organised following the success of similar events last year, through a partnership between our education department, Careers Wales and primary schools.
The innovative sessions took place at Ysgol Grango, Rhos, and Ysgol Rhiwabon, with 17 primary schools from the areas of Rhos, the Ceiriog Valley, Dee Valley, Chirk and Rhiwabon taking part – with more than 330 Year 6 pupils in attendance.
The events were attended by a number of employers, including North Wales Police, North Wales Fire and Rescue, Coleg Cambria, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, Wrexham Council, The Principality, Welsh Water, Glyndwr University, Scottish Power, Siop Siwan, Read Construction, Menter Iaith, the Urdd and other local businesses.
Pupils had the chance to interview each of the employers for five minutes each, quizzing them on their roles and how important Welsh is in their day-to-day working lives, and in being able to carry out their jobs.
Emlyn, a Year 6 pupil at St Mary’s School, Ruabon, said: “I really enjoyed the morning – the people were really kind and I loved hearing how important it is to learn and use Welsh.”
One of the sessions at Ysgol Rhiwabon was visited by Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts, himself a former pupil of the school.
Watch the video above to find out what Mr Roberts had to say about the sessions.
After the sessions, pupils were asked to produce work in different media to show what they’d learned during their chats with employers.
A series of follow-up awards ceremonies was held at the Guildhall, Wrexham, to congratulate pupils for their work.
“Important that children see Welsh outside of the classroom”
Cllr Phil Wynn, Lead Member for Education, said: “I’m very pleased that these pupils had the chance to meet employees from such a wide range of organisations, and learn just how important the Welsh language can be in the workplace.
“It’s very important that children have the chance to see the importance of Welsh outside of a classroom setting, and as such I’m very grateful to all of those employers who attended throughout the events.
“I’d also like to thank the officers and schools involved for their time and for organising these sessions – this contributes to one of the key objectives of our Welsh Education Strategic Plan (WESP), and we’d certainly be keen to see more events like these take place in future.”
Lesley Lloyd, Business Engagement Adviser for Careers Wales, said: “The volunteer mentors came from quite a diverse range of professional backgrounds.
“The event gave young people exposure to many more insights about people’s career journeys, and shared valuable information about bilingual skills in the world of work and the opportunities using the Welsh language may bring.
“We are pleased to note that supporting organisations indicated their interest, commitment and satisfaction, and are enthusiastic about participating in future Welsh in the Workplace events.”
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