Over 160 primary school pupils recently gathered at the first ever event hosted by Careers Wales aimed solely at primary school pupils, highlighting the opportunities that the Welsh language can give to young people.
Teams of year six pupils from four Wrexham schools, including Ysgol Hooson, Ysgol Hafod, Ysgol Penycae CP, and Ysgol Maes y Mynydd took part in the event.
Held at Ysgol y Grango, Rhosllanerchrugog, the schools taking part in the event were piloting an initiative jointly planned by Wrexham County Borough Council, Careers Wales and a representative from the schools to support Wrexham’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP).
The pupils attending had the chance to speak about Welsh-speaking opportunities with workers from organisations including:
– Scottish Power Energy Networks
– Principality Building Society
– Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board
– Welsh Water
– DFS4 /Big Ideas Wales role model
– Wrexham County Borough Council
– Excell Supply
– Coleg Cambria
– Menter Iaith
– The Presbyterian Church
The speed-networking event saw individual groups of pupils spend 10-minute sessions with each group of employees, and quiz them on details such as their day-to-day work, how much they use Welsh during their working day and the sort of skills and qualifications needed to fulfil their role.
Following the event, pupils will prepare a presentation during their school lessons based on the benefits of being able to speak Welsh in the workplace. Prizes will be awarded to pupils who create the best poster, Powerpoint presentation and best audio-visual presentation.
Cllr Phil Wynn, Lead Member for Education, said: “As part our Welsh Education Strategic Plan (WESP), we want to do everything we can to encourage more people to learn Welsh – be that through traditional education, or other wider channels outside of the classroom setting.
“But as well as teaching pupils Welsh, we also want to show them how learning Welsh can benefit them later in life and can open doors in the workplace.
“With that in mind we wanted to give them the chance to speak to people who use Welsh in their day-to-day work and give them an insight into how bilingualism can be a real benefit when it comes to paid employment.
“I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the day’s event, schools and employers alike.”
Graham Bowd, chief executive of Careers Wales, said: “The use of Welsh in the workplace has become more prominent over the last few years, with employers viewing it as an increasingly valuable skill among their employees.
“If the number of Welsh speakers in Wales continues to grow in line with the government’s aim to increase this number to one million by 2050, the demand for a bilingual workforce will inevitably grow, too.
“By targeting pupils from both English and Welsh medium schools, our aim was to encourage pupils in English-speaking schools to consider taking Welsh as GCSE and A-Level options, while highlighting the need for native welsh speakers to continue speaking the language.
“Native welsh speakers shouldn’t underestimate the advantages that bilingualism could bring to their future careers.”
For more information on Careers Wales services visit www.careerswales.com.