A group of learners from Coleg y Cymoedd had an early start when they travelled to the Houses of Parliament, to meet their Member of Parliament, Owen Smith who represents Pontypridd.
Following a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament Mr Smith met with the learners and explained his role in Parliament before opening the floor to questions from the learners; many relating to topics in his constituency.
17 year old Business Learner Alisha Kelly, currently studying at the Nantgarw campus said “I really enjoyed the tour; the guide was extremely interesting and told us all about the history of the building and where certain meetings and debates take place. We have discussed aspects of politics in college and this helps to put the role of an M.P. into context”.
During their tour the learners were fortunate to also meet Chris Bryant, Member of Parliament for Rhondda as he moved between meetings. Mr Bryant chatted to the learners about their visit and how it related to their studies at the college.
After leaving the Houses of Parliament, the learners went on to the European Parliament where they took part in numerous exercises relating to the European Union. This they found extremely helpful as it gave them a greater understanding of function of the European Parliament and the positive impact the European Union gives to everyone.
Business tutor, Steve Andrews accompanied the students on their visit, he said ”It is important if we want our young people to engage in local affairs that we give them an insight into the roles of politicians, from Local Councillors, A.M’s in Welsh Government and M.P’s at Westminster. There’s no better way than actually visiting the establishments to see them in action and to speak to those involved. It was an extremely worthwhile day and all students enjoyed the trip. It was a marvellous opportunity for them to visit the House and for many of them to meet their local MP. When reflecting on the trip, the learners said the best part was meeting Owen Smith MP. He was helpful, considerate and was really interested in what they had to say. They asked an array of questions including, Why can’t you vote at 16? Does he thinkhe gets paid too much? What is the government doing about the situation in Ukraine? And What is he doing about local issues such as the development of the shopping centre in Pontypridd and establishing a 5th rugby centre in Pontypridd”.
To conclude their visit they experienced some of London’s famous attractions including Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, Downing Street and many more. All learners commented that the experience improved the interest in politics.