I WAS delighted this week to meet Kay Martin and James Scorey, the Group Principle and Vice Principal of Cardiff and Vale college, to learn about the amazing opportunities that younger people in Barry, Cardiff and across the region have.
I was particularly impressed with the ethos of the college in terms of preparing young people, some of who may not have had the best start, for further education, apprentices and the world of work.
I was particularly struck by the enthusiasm of Kay and James in maximising every opportunity to give people the best possible education and a range of courses and skills that will help them to secure well-paid jobs; not only jobs that exist now but jobs that the market will need in the future, and jobs that don’t exist yet. Their dedicated centres of expertise in all sorts of subjects from aerospace, to building services and construction make it clear that they have really thought about the wide spectrum of possible careers and interests.
It was also refreshing to see how they have engaged with businesses such as Deloitte to break down stereotypes of the people who traditionally access certain jobs. I was inspired to see the emphasis on vocational qualification as well as academic courses and how it opens up a range of options that are suited to those with particular interests that do not necessarily meet traditional subject areas. Most notably, the college also offers a range of different pathways to finding work without the need to take on student debt that many university graduates are burdened with.
I wholeheartedly believe that the education of our young people is vital to securing safe and secure jobs for the next generation and I have been challenging the Welsh Government to make sure that there is appropriate support, particularly around the cost of travel, to make sure that everyone, no matter what circumstance they find themselves in, has the best opportunity to receive the best education.
As many parents across the region will know, applications for secondary schools close in November. The range of schools on offer is considerable compared to when I went to secondary school, and I would like to encourage everyone who is able, to visit prospective schools, because you may well find that certain schools are better suited to your children’s needs, especially if they have extracurricular interests. On a final note I want to wish everyone applying for places the best of luck in achieving their first choice, and if you are struggling to understand the process then please get in touch with schools or the local council who can offer support through the process.