This week we had a shared trip to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay with a group of learners from across the Skills Academy Wales consortium.
I was quite interested to go to the Senedd as have seen it on the news a lot and am interested in the politics that goes on there (bit of an enthusiast for Wales having it’s own say on things, I am!)
I’ve seen debates in the Houses of Parliment and assumed the debate would probably be a bit like that but the building is much lighter, airier and more modern, so it all seemed more accessible – and less of a middle aged blokes club – I was surprised how many women were AMs – it blows Westminster out of the water for equality!
We found out quite a bit about the building – it’s very energy efficient. The Plenary Questions that we watched taking place were interesting – this is where all the AMs can question the ministers on their decisions. Nothing goes unchallenged! The minister answering questions today was for Planning and Natural Resources and while we were there we had questions raised on fracking, anaerobic digestors, national parks and who has planning authority, and the spread of Himalyan Balsalm. A wide variety!
The representative for Neath spoke to us briefly about her role as an AM which was interesting especially as she has a particular interest in things like low pay which impact on the people we work with.
The most surprising thing was the historical hangover that the Queen’s Mace must be present in the debating chamber for any business of the Assembly to be done! I was also a bit surprised at how much humour came up from time to time. (Albeit not quite as rowdy as Westminster)
I think the logistics of a trip could have been slightly better in places – it was a pity there were no activities to let the learners from the different partners to get to know each other being being dropped into a middle of a debate (though it was cool to use the real old debating chamber and all the kit). I’m also not sure the chairwoman was entirely impartial! Trying to fit the Pierhead museum into the same visit was possibly a bit ambitious – we didn’t have much time and it’s a small venue for the size of the group.
I’m going to find out more about the Women in Public Life project they were advertising in the Senedd and the process of submitting petitions – it looks really easy and I think it’s make a good activity for Communications ESW!