Wales’ First-Ever Debate Mate Champions Crowned 

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22nd June 2022 saw the first-ever Debate Mate Final take place in Wales, where nearly 100 students from schools in South Wales came together to fight for the Cardiff Debate Mate Cup Champion title.

Brought together by FinTech Wales, Cardiff Council’s Cardiff Commitment, Invest in Cardiff and UK debating organisation Debate Mate, the 12-week-debating programme was launched in March to develop pupils’ oratory skills and awareness of the FinTech sector.

Throughout the course of the 12 weeks, pupils from eight Cardiff High Schools* participated in weekly hour-long debating workshops and mentor sessions with visits to the schools from FinTech Wales’ members Admiral,, Credas, Delio,  Deloitte, PepperMoney, PWC and ActiveQuote.

The final event took place at the Principality Stadium where the students were challenged to take part in a number of debates on topical issues both within the FinTech industry and other topical subjects the pupils felt passionate about, such as ‘Should we promote a cashless society’ and ‘Has technology done more to disconnect than to connect us’.

After an intensive day of informative and professional debates, it was down to just two teams from Willows High School and Eastern High Community Campus in the final debate.  Both schools performed extremely well in a highly competitive final, but following careful deliberation by the judging panel, Willows High emerged victorious and were crowned the first ever Cardiff Debate Mate Cup Champions.

Gemma Hallett, Head of Skills, FinTech Wales said: “It was amazing to see a room full of aspiring developers, coders, doctors, lawyers and more, articulating themselves so well in real topic debates. This programme has touched so many elements of the pupils’ education from developing their skills in research, team work, and presenting, to exploring a number of fast-growing industries.  We’re really grateful to all of our members who were able to visit the pupils during the programme, who give them a fantastic insight into the opportunities within FinTech.”

Jessica Nelms, Assistant Leader of English and Literacy? Teacher, Willows High commented: “The progress and development our pupils have made over the past 12 weeks has been extraordinary. They’ve matured in how they express themselves, they’re reading and writing has developed to another level, and they’re excited to learn and provide their own opinion on what we’re discussing in class.  To have come away with the Champion title is beyond any expectations we had, and we can’t wait to get involved in the programme again.”

Vicky Poole, Business Engagement Advisor, Cardiff Council also commented: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have delivered the first ever Debate Mate programme in Wales here in Cardiff, and of course thank you to Principality Building Society and Principality Stadium who were, as always, fantastic hosts.

The talent these pupils have shown over the 12 weeks has been outstanding, and I have no doubt everyone involved will transfer the skills developed into very successful careers. Huge congratulations to our Champions from Willows High and of course a very well done to our runners-up from Eastern High Community Campus and the other schools taking part.”

If you would like to find out how you can become a Mentor for our next Debate Mate Programme, please email us here.

*Schools taking part:

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