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Menter a Busnes project fosters entrepreneurship in Welsh schools

L-R: Siân Alwen Newsham, Deputy Headteacher Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd; local business owner Ieuan Edwards of Edwards of Conwy; and Nerys Davies of Menter a Busnes.

Pupils across Wales are benefitting from an initiative to foster entrepreneurship and boost the use of the Welsh language in business.

The Schools Initiative, created by independent economic development company Menter a Busnes (MaB), provides schools with first-hand business skills and experience.

Delivered by dedicated members of MaB staff with support from local business people, the Schools Initiative includes primary and secondary schools.

Launched in 2019 as part of MaB’s 30th-anniversary celebrations, the initiative builds on and complements the company’s ethos of promoting the Welsh language in business.

MaB offers a wide range of bi-lingual business support and skills development to small, medium and large companies throughout Wales and business consultancy services wider afield.

The Welsh language is at the heart of MaB’s day to day activities, and through its Schools Initiative, it is playing an active role in assisting the Welsh Government in the drive to achieve one million Welsh speakers by 2050*.

MaB is also responsible for delivering several flagship enterprise projects including, Cywain, Farming Connect and Menter Moch Cymru. Members of staff from across MaB have been involved with the Schools Initiative and have introduced the pupils to various business skills and experience.

The applications from schools have been paired with MaB Enterprise Mentors. Delivered through the medium of Welsh, a range of support measures have been tailored to the school’s requirements.

Nerys Davies from the Cywain team has been working with Year 9 pupils at Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd in St Asaph.

She said, “I have been working with eight classes. Each has had a mix of live and recorded lessons with Menter a Busnes staff, and entrepreneurs who have established successful businesses in the area.

“The sessions are in all conducted in Welsh, so not only have they boosted interest in entrepreneurship, but they also show that businesses can thrive in Welsh.”

While Ffion Jones has been mentoring and assessing sixth form pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Cwm Rhymni in Caerphilly. She has been helping pupils who are undertaking the Enterprise and Employability Challenge element of their Welsh Baccalaureate studies.

Ffion says the project and its delivery style have also been beneficial for her and her colleagues.

She said, “I think it has been very innovative, and it has generated a new set of skills for us as a business team as well.”

Siân Alwen Newsham, Deputy Headteacher at Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd, said it had been a very positive experience for the pupils.

“I feel that we were very fortunate to be a part of this project. It enabled us to maintain pupils’ enthusiasm while also encouraging them to consider their future in relation to many interesting areas of this important stage in their education.

“The sessions with employers were inspiring and would have certainly made some think differently regarding their GCSE subject choices, and we’ve had more pupils interested in taking business studies.

“Above all, the presentations initiated further discussions both in the classroom and at home about their career aspirations. Talking about the future has definitely opened doors to realise the possibilities during this time, that has been a very difficult and challenging period for our young people.”