DebateMate Schools Programme Launched to develop Cardiff pupils’ oratory skills and awareness of the FinTech Sector

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Last Friday (March 4th 2022) FinTech Wales and Cardiff Council’s Cardiff Commitment and Invest in Cardiff officially launched The DebateMate Schools Programme; a 12-week programme designed to develop pupils’ oratory skills and awareness of the FinTech sector in a series of debating contests culminating in a grand final later this year.

Up to as many as 290 pupils from eight Cardiff High Schools – Cardiff West Community High School, Cantonian High School, Cathays High School, Willows High School, St Teilo’s CiW High School, Eastern High Community Campus, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf and Fitzalan High School – will embark on the programme, participating in weekly hour-long debating workshops and receiving mentorship from DebateMate mentors. 

This first of its kind programme for Wales was celebrated by a launch event held at City Hall, Cardiff, featuring a debate involving some of the pupils set to participate in the programme. 

Pupils from the 8 participating Cardiff high schools attending The DebateMate Schools Programme launch on Friday 4th March 2022 at City Hall, Cardiff

Building on an event held last June in which pupils from Cantonian and Fitzalan high schools took part in a live debate on the subject: Cryptocurrency – Good or Bad?, an event introduced to schools via FinTech Wales, weeks 8 and 12 of the new DebateMate Schools Programme initiative will see debates on subjects pertaining to the FinTech sector. 

All will be hoping to emulate the achievements of Willows High School pupils Marzooq Subhani and Crystal Tran who were chosen to represent the UK at a debating competition in Dubai earlier this month after winning a national competition.

Pupils from Cantonian and Fitzalan High Schools at last year’s DebateMate event with Ken Poole, Invest in Cardiff and Sarah Williams Gardener, FinTech Wales

Sarah Williams-Gardener, the CEO of FinTech Wales, said:

“Inspiring our young people at the informative stage of their education, with diverse role models and insights into FinTech career opportunities in new exciting sectors, is a personal mission.

The work opportunities in FinTech are continually evolving so it’s therefore imperative we collaborate between the world of work and education. Working with Cardiff Commitment and Invest in Cardiff, Fintech Wales are proud to be able to launch this debating competition which will engage pupils, educating them on the current finance topics and engaging with leading Welsh financial service providers which also provide general business skills, negotiation, presentation and research.

The FinTech jobs market is vibrant here in Cardiff and I want every young person to see the opportunities this offers for a career and prosperous life in Wales.”

Sarah Williams Gardener, FinTech Wales CEO speaking at The DebateMate Schools Programme launch on Friday 4th March 2022 at City Hall, Cardiff

​​Cllr Russell Goodway, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Investment and Development said: 

“The DebateMate Schools Programme is a fantastic way to not only develop the debating skills of our pupils – skills relevant for the world of work and in other areas of life – but we are linking the debates to a growth sector in Cardiff and an industry which is very well represented in the city – FinTech. The programme, part sponsored by Cardiff Council’s Economic Development Team and Cardiff Commitment, will support the development of skills and knowledge of the FinTech sector in our schools and young people”.

Councillor Sarah Merry, the Council’s Cabinet member for Education, Employment and Skills, said:

“The Cardiff Commitment engages industry with schools to help develop the knowledge and skills needed in our young people to secure a positive destination after they leave school. This programme will allow pupils to learn about elements of the FinTech industry and inspire pupils to think about future careers.

The DebateMate Schools programme will be a fun, exciting and energetic event guaranteed to get the students engaged and excited for the 12-week programme.”

Our member-driven forward looking skills strategy seeks to raise awareness of FinTech as a viable career option, and enhance pathways that will deliver the next generation of FinTech talent to the cluster.

This initiative is just one element of our ambitious skills strategy in which we aim to collaborate with education providers to raise awareness of the sector and develop the skills required for our FinTech’s to thrive here in Wales. 

Follow our socials for more updates on The DebateMate Schools Programme and how the participating students have fared over the course of the programme.