MORE than 230 pupils from across South West Wales have attended a Pupil Language Ambassador Conference.
The pupils, who came from 44 schools across the ERW consortia region (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea) attended the one-day conference which was held at the Swansea bay Campus.
The aim of the conference was to train pupils in leadership skills to promote language learning in their schools and to increase their knowledge of the importance of languages for enhanced career opportunities.
“This is part of ERW’s campaign to support the Government’s Global Futures plan, which aims to increase MFL uptake at all levels and sets the Bilingual plus 1 ambition for Wales,” said ERW’s MFL co-ordinator Anna Vivian Jones who co-ordinated the event together with the Lead Schools in each Local Authority.
The conference was organised in partnership with Routes into Languages; Swansea University; University of Wales Trinity Saint David; Goethe Institute; Spanish Embassy; British Council; European Commission; Welsh Government and individual Welsh businesses.
The keynote speakers were Professor Iwan Davies, Senior Pro Vice Chancellor of Swansea University; Steve Davies, Director of Education, Welsh Government; Eduardo Castaneda Bracho, Managing Director, Orlegi Media Relations and Betsan O’Connor, ERW MD who delivered a speech in five different languages!
During the event pupils attended Language and Culture sessions organised by the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University.
“Pupils particularly enjoyed the students talking about their experiences whilst travelling abroad during their Erasmus+ year,” said Anna.
“Universities are increasingly encouraging students from all subject areas to take advantage of study periods abroad, as this increases their employability. The EU funded Erasmus+ programme is not only limited to study alone. It also encourages young people to go abroad for work experience, volunteering, sports training and apprenticeships.”
British Council is targeting Wales to make these applications this year, due to low numbers of applications from Wales during the past years.
Laura Simons, MFL teacher at Dylan Thomas Community School in Swansea said: “Thank you so much for such an outstanding day … My pupils really enjoyed and it felt brilliant being in such a fantastic atmosphere with such a buzz about MFL.”
It is hoped that this will be an annual event and the start of new partnerships to promote language learning in ERW in the future.