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Speakers for Schools launches across Wales

Charity Speakers for Schools is being launched in Wales (week of 26 - 30 November) with a series of talks in state secondary schools around the country. Leaders in Welsh business, media, culture, academia and politics have pledged to give a talk to students in a state secondary school once a year to raise aspirations and broaden horizons.

It is the idea of BBC Business Editor, Robert Peston, who wants young people in disadvantaged state schools and colleges to have the same opportunities to hear from inspirational speakers as those who attend top independent schools. The idea is to level the playing field and for it to become the norm for leaders in their fields to give talks in state schools and colleges. Speakers for Schools was launched in England in October 2011 and is administered by small charity the Education and Employers Taskforce.

Speakers from the worlds of business, culture and academia supporting the Welsh launch include:

Lord Burns (Chairman Santander UK plc & Channel 4 Television), Cambridge Jones (portrait photographer), Alan Edmunds (Editor Western Mail newspaper), Huw Edwards (news presenter & BBC journalist), Henry Engelhardt (CEO Admiral Group), Dame Amelia Fawcett (Board Director, Guardian Media Group), Andrew Green (Chief Executive National Library of Wales), Efa Gruffudd-Jones (Chief Executive Urdd Gobaith Cymru), Prof Stephen Hagen (Vice-Chancellor University of Wales Newport), Julia Hobsbawm (Chair & CEO Julia Hobsbawm Consulting), Prof John Hughes (Vice-Chancellor Bangor University), Ian Jones (Chief Executive S4C), Prof April McMahon (Vice-Chancellor Aberwystwyth University), Geoff Mulgan (Chief Executive NESTA), Robert Peston (BBC Business Editor), Ed Richards (Chief Executive Ofcom) and Simon Thirsk (author & Chairman, Bloodaxe Books).

Speakers for Schools has cross-party support. Taking part from the world of Welsh politics:

Leighton Andrews (Minister for Education and Skills), Cynog Dafis (former MP& Assembly Member Plaid Cymru), Andrew RT Davies (Leader of the Opposition, Welsh Assembly), Lord Davies (House of Lords & Vale of Glamorgan Council), Carwyn Jones (First Minister, Welsh Government), Baroness Kingsmill (House of Lords), Rhodri Morgan (former First Minister of Wales) and Kirsty Williams (Leader of Welsh Liberal Democrats).

The week has been chosen to coincide with the ASCL Cymru Conference which is taking place 29 – 30 November 2012. Across England, Scotland and Wales over 800 people have agreed to participate including many leading CEOs, politicians, media and arts people, scientists, entrepreneurs and academics. Speakers will address the big topical issues: technological, scientific, political, economic, historical, cultural, artistic, ecological and ethical.

Robert Peston, BBC Business Editor and founder of Speakers for Schools says:

“Our future prosperity depends in part on raising aspirations for young people, which can be helped by securing access for them to brilliant and inspirational minds. I am thrilled that so many great speakers are participating in Speakers for Schools Welsh launch.”

Andrew Green, The National Library of Wales Librarian said:

''Speakers for Schools' is a unique new venture to broaden the horizons and raise the ambitions of school students throughout Wales - and an excellent way for us in the National Library of Wales to spread the message about the exciting careers to be found in the cultural and knowledge sectors.'

Further Information

Elin- Haf NLW Press Office 01970 632534
Twitter: @Speakrs4Schools #S4SWales

Andrew Green will be speaking at Tasker Milward School 28.11.12 at 2.15 p.m.About Speakers for Schools Speakers for Schools is an initiative to get inspirational speakers who are leaders in their field to give talks for free in state schools and colleges, prioritising the most disadvantaged. Such speakers commonly visit independent schools, but many state schools and colleges lack the networks to approach them. Speakers for Schools is the idea of Robert Peston, the BBC's Business Editor, and is being administered by the charity, the Education and Employers Taskforce. Speakers will address the big subjects: technological, scientific, political, economic, historical, cultural, artistic, ecological and ethical. Over 800 speakers have already accepted invitations to participate. The aim is to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of young people.