“Discover Tourism” for primary school pupils in Wales
Cardiff Met is the Wales partner in the Next Tourism Generation (NTG) Alliance that aims to increase collaboration between industry and education to prioritise digital and sustainability skills gaps as well as enhance the image of careers in tourism and hospitality. The identification of best practice that can be replicated in Wales and further afield is paramount and the launch of a ground-breaking online tourism resource for primary schools ticks all the boxes. ‘Discover Tourism’ was developed through multi-stakeholder collaboration and promotes tourism skills, quality career prospects and sustainability on the island of Anglesey. To learn more about this exciting initiative, Louise Dixey from Cardiff Met interviewed Ffion Jones, a Senior Researcher at the North Wales Regional Skills Partnership.
Taro Twristiaeth / Discover Tourism is a new and exciting, bilingual web-based teaching resource for teachers with 5 accompanying short employer films aimed at upper primary school pupils. The focus, or theme, is to raise awareness of the tourism sector in Anglesey but the materials and teaching style is aligned to the New Curriculum for Wales and can be applied anywhere.
This resource has been developed by a ‘perfect’ partnership of committed and enthusiastic employers and the third sector from Anglesey, led by the Regional Skills Partnership (RSP), funded by Welsh Government, designed and tested by pupils and teachers. A committed team with a clear vision.
A new bilingual website has been designed which is the platform hosting these resources. There are 5 projects, or challenges, complemented with 5 employer films with all materials endorsed by the employers. The resource consists of 5 classroom activities or projects that can be one-off lessons or longer in-depth projects. It is up to the school how much and how far they want to take it.
Why was the resource needed?
The idea came about following a similar primary education resource that the RSP developed in 2017, which was to promote STEM skills with the involvement of employers in the region, ‘ACT ON STEM’, or ‘CAMAU STEM’ in Welsh; again aimed at primary level. We have learned a lot from this experience which makes Taro Twristiaeth an improved model.
The Anglesey Enterprise Zone group, which has a strong focus on tourism, heard of our previous resource, ACT ON STEM and a proposal was made to develop a similar resource focusing on the tourism industry on Anglesey.
From the employer and tourism sector perspective, there is a need to inspire and change perceptions of the tourism industry at an early age, and one way of doing this is to bring the employers enthusiasm and expertise into the classroom, whilst also having a clear relevance and benefit on teaching and learning experiences.
A strong team of committed employers quickly came on board to agree on the brief, brand and a timetable of filming schedule and interviews.
For pupils and teachers, the resource is relevant and very timely with the introduction of the New Curriculum and is a good example of a resource ready to use. For employers, it is one step in the right direction to change perceptions and boost tourism as a viable career idea for pupils after they leave school.
What will pupils learn?
From a professional teaching point of view, all activities touch on Donaldson’s 12 pedagogical principles, clearly link to the 6 areas of learning and experience and align with the 4 purposes of the New Curriculum.
For example, in the challenge set by Plas Newydd, a National Trust property on Anglesey, the short film is about the curator’s job, following her on-site and showing different areas of her work. The challenge for the pupils is set by the curator and is to research the ‘secret life of objects’ that the curator has chosen for the pupils. Plas Newydd has kindly provided the actual objects on loan for the pupils to touch and feel which is great! The pupils then choose how they want to tackle the challenge and could opt for a range of approaches depending on their time, creativity and buy-in to the project. For example, the pupils could arrange a visit to Plas Newydd; research online using digital skills; relate this to history and language; relate to a school play based around the themes; arrange a skype discussion with the curator; use the Google map location to search for other stately homes and properties; look at the Plas Newydd floor plan map to see where the objects would be used; consider how technology has changed etc. The options are endless and the learning outcomes are hugely beneficial, especially if the pupils lead the exploration and ideas, then they can take the project in different directions. This resource is an example of how one school approached the challenge, there is flexibility built-in.
The pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch thought the curator’s job was very cool! How many 10-year-olds have you heard saying that before? The best thing is that the pupils went home and told their parents about the cool things they were learning in school – about Plas Newydd and being a curator. These are the small seeds being planted – result!
Year 6 pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch with their Plas Newydd project and the curator! Check the film out here Taro Twristiaeth Curator National Trust.
What are the key ingredients for success?
A great team of committed partners with a clear vision and buy-in! The resource is delivering messages that the tourism industry is a diverse, exciting, sustainable and quality career opportunity. It’s about ‘planting a seed’ in young pupils minds to attract a future workforce to this growing sector in North Wales. As the project has progressed, the added value and outcomes have become much more!
- Participation and listening to the pupil’s voice were key. The pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch in north Anglesey were fantastic with their ideas and enthusiasm. They brought the brief to life!
- The project brought tourism as a career and future job ideas to the attention of the pupils and teachers – important as tourism as a sector weren’t thought of as a career and there was very little knowledge of jobs and opportunities.
- The resource provides added value and complements current education themes. The Deputy Head in Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch was very keen and knowledgeable in ensuring the resource was up to date and relevant with the New Curriculum for Wales. This resource will provide inspiration and support for other teachers for effective and creative delivery.
- Traditionally primary schools don’t have a ‘careers education’ or formal education business links, but this is a great introduction that will open new doors to a whole range of resources for schools to tap into.
- This resource has provided the potential to expand ‘Discover Tourism’ across North Wales, beyond, and with different industry sectors.
- The mutual benefits for the economy and young people’s learning have been evident!
Pupils displaying their projects and delivering a presentation at the launch event in Tre Ysgawen Hotel and Spa in May 2019 with the Director of Education, Albert Owen MP and Rhun ap Iorwerth AM amongst the guests.
Can this initiative be replicated in other parts of Wales and further afield?
Absolutely! This is one of our measures of success. We’d like to think that this is a blueprint to be taken forward by teachers and educationalists to feel confident that employer engagement is of great benefit and added value, especially for the New Curriculum. The thematic learning of the New Curriculum lends itself well to different employment sectors and highlights the skills that employers need at work. It is well documented that experiential learning and real-life situations is the most powerful learning tool to help messages sink in and make them relevant. Taro Twristiaeth does this! The relevance is then mapped into the relevant Area of Learning and Experience in the New Curriculum, as well as capturing the generic cross-curricular themes of digital skills, bilingual skills, literacy and numeracy.
Having a relationship between schools and employers brings learning to life, adds value, makes it relevant and often the ‘penny drops’ for some young people and children when they ask, “Why am I learning this or what good will this do for my future”?
Dylan Hughes, General Manager of Chateau Rhianfa, having fun with Year 6 pupils from Ysgol Gynradd Amlwch during the early pupil consultation phase.