In the Assembly last week, I raised concerns about a cut in funding for Careers Wales and the Welsh Government’s policy of moving away from face-to-face careers advice for pupils. As a result, there is, on average, now only one Careers Wales officer for every six secondary schools in Wales – that means less than one for the whole of Anglesey. Careers funding has more than halved under the current Labour Government, and it’s very worrying.
Making sure our young people are aware of what opportunities are available to them, and knowing how best to pursue their chosen career path is vitally important. We have a number of exciting developments in Anglesey at the moment – with various big energy projects from Wylfa Newydd to biomass and marine energy, the Science Park in Gaerwen or the growing food and hospitality industry.
It was clear in a recent public meeting I organised in Holyhead, that job and training opportunities for our workforce is high on the priority list for many people. For those who are eager to work in their own communities rather than having to move away to look for work, it is important that they know what jobs are on offer on the island and how they can gain the necessary skills for those roles.
And we have so many talented young people on the island. Only last week, a group of students from Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones in Amlwch took over the BBC’s new bulletin, with items about Wylfa Newydd and school uniforms – well done to Siwan and Owain who spoke so well and confidently on the radio. And congratulations to Carmen Smith who has just been voted NUS Wales’ Deputy President – I know she will do a great job.
I also met with Dafydd Jones last week, who has just been taken on by Orthios as an apprentice fitter. Dafydd studied engineering at Coleg Menai and is now looking forward to building a career at the new Eco-Park at Holyhead. I was pleased also to hear Orthios pledging to tap into and develop local talent to help them push on with their plans.
And please forgive me, but I can’t not mention my own success in London this weekend, as I scored a try for Wales (and somehow was chosen as man of the match)! No, I wasn’t playing with Warren Gatland’s men, but the Welsh Assembly team defeated the Westminster rugby team 33-22 in London, whilst also raising money for Bowel Cancer UK. A few hundred yards away on the same day George North scored too – Anglesey doing the business!