On Wednesday the 24th of September we went on a trip to the Senedd building in Cardiff where we learned about the Welsh Assembly Government.
The day started at Neath college which was the pick up point, I met Leia there at 09:40 am and we soon caught the bus and set off to Cardiff. There was allot of people on the bus, tutors and learners from other training providers around South Wales, they were all very friendly and entertaining which made the long bus drive allot more bearable.
When we arrived in Cardiff we went to the Welsh Assembly building where we went through security checks and then we were introduced to our guide for the day, she give us a brief overview of what the day was going to be about and then we went into the old debating chamber where we role played two debates. The first debate was on whether or not E-cigarettes should be made illegal to smoke in public areas, it was a pretty one sided debate with most people thinking that it should fall under the same laws as regular smoking, I didn’t agree with some of the points they were making, as I think it should be up to the businesses if they want to allow people to smoke on their premises. The second debate was on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, this debate was more interesting as there were strong arguments on either side, personally I think it should be lowered and that more education about politics should be provided in schools, that way kids that are interested can be more involved in the political world just after leaving school. I found this part of the day quite enjoyable and regret that I didn’t contribute.
Then we went into a class room where we filled out a questionnaire about education and then did a quiz to see what we knew about the Welsh Assembly Government. I didn’t find it very engaging and I didn’t understand why we had to fill out the questionnaire. Also it wasn’t very educational, the questions they asked us were just trivial questions about the Welsh Assembly and politicians, I think it would of been better to of had a lesson about what it is the Welsh Assembly Government actually do.
Then we went over the Senedd, I was expecting an old Victorian style building like the houses of parliament but I was surprised to find out that it’s the modern glass building on the waterfront. I’ve seen the building before but never knew what it was used for. Our guide give us some information about the building like how the majority of materials used to build it are from Wales then we went inside, through another security check.
We then went into the Plenary where we met the representative of Neath who told us a bit about what she does, she mentioned that she was interested in helping people with low income. I was surprised to learn that the queens mace must be present when debates are in progress otherwise no business can go down.
Then we watched a real debate. Politics is not my strongest subject so I didn’t understand much about what was going on, it was interesting to see a debate happen for real though as I had only ever seen them on the news before. It did get a little dull though if I’m honest.
Overall the trip was okay, it was a good chance to get out of the class room and see where the decisions affecting all of Wales are made. However, I was expecting the trip to be allot more engaging as it’s not common for people my age to be interested in politics so more more activities would of been great. Also I think the trip could of been more educational as we only learnt about the AMs and their roles, if we learnt more about politics perhaps I would of had a better understanding of what they were talking about in the Plenary.