Cardiff, June 23rd 2021 – Students from Fitzalan and Cantonian High Schools competed in a sponsored debate event aimed at developing the critical communication skills necessary to pursue fulfilling careers in later life.

The event, sponsored by Invest In Cardiff, Economic Development Cardiff Council was held at Fitzalan school and organised in partnership with Debate Mate, FinTech Wales, Cardiff Commitment and the Seren Network.The event was opened by Jessica Rolfe-Dix, Executive Director of DebateMate and Ken Poole, Head of Economic Development.

Debate Mate is a charity organisation that helps children receive mentorship from expert debaters as part of a programme proven to develop communication, teamwork, leadership and critical-thinking skills while improving confidence and resilience.

The debate centred on Cryptocurrency and its positive and negative impact on society. Students, who had received debate training via Debate Mate workshops held in preparation for the event, teamed up with industry professionals and Debate Mate mentors to debate the statement, “Cryptocurrency does more harm than good.”

Each team was assigned to debate for, or against the statement and was challenged with swaying the audience with their prepared arguments and counter-arguments..

The two industry speakers in attendance were Harriet Rees, Head of Data Science at Starling Bank, and Oliver Hale, Chief Executive Officer at Buckit Ltd who both argued passionately on behalf of their teams.

The debate covered topics such as regulation, security, and digital privacy, with the winner being chosen by audience vote.

After a high quality debate, the team from Fitzalan High School, lead by student Natasha, argued eloquently against the statement and overcame tough competition from Cantonian High School’s Callum to claim the prize of Amazon vouchers.

Also in attendance was Secretary to the Treasury MP John Glen, who congratulated both teams on their efforts and achievements during the debate and highlighted the importance of such events in empowering students with the skills needed to thrive in the workplace.

On the debate’s success, Sarah Williams-Gardener – FinTech Wales CEO said

“We are thrilled to support an initiative that is providing students with the confidence and communication skills necessary to thrive in the modern workplace. Furthermore, we have relished the opportunity to raise awareness of the conversations taking place around FinTech and the potential career paths available to students who wish to pursue a career in the financial technology industry.”

Natasha, the winning student, said this of her experience.

Covid Security

To ensure the covid secure nature of the event, the debate all in attendance were required to take a Covid lateral flow test and show proof of a negative result before arrival at Fitzalan School.

About FinTech Wales

Founded in 2019 as a not-for-profit, FinTech Wales exists as a global voice for Welsh-based FinTech and Financial Services. As well as nurturing and supporting those businesses already in Wales, it will develop the environment to help FinTech companies’ start-up or scale-up in Wales and aims to establish Wales as a rapidly emerging pillar of the global FinTech economy.

The association has established an Advisory Board of 20 people including representation from Welsh companies such as, Admiral, Principality Building Society and Capital Law. FinTech Wales will act as a global voice and advocate for FinTech, introducing the benefits to FinTech entrepreneurs and innovators of establishing a business in Wales, as well as nurturing and supporting those companies already in Wales.

About Debate Mate

Debate Mate is an innovative global business that provides leadership and communication training across a wide variety of industry sectors. Responding to demand from the corporate world, we have built a curriculum and teaching methodology to address business-specific communication needs. Our format is based on the fundamentals of competitive debating and our facilitators are experts in their field. We provide our training in four key formats, which can be found on the next page.

Debate Mate works with our charitable programme Debate Mate Schools to deliver its programmes. Debate Mate Schools is an educational charity that  uses the brightest university students to run after-school debate clubs in areas of high child poverty across the world. Over the last nine years, we have successfully taught over 25,000 young people to debate in the UK, USA, Jamaica, Nepal, Dubai, Doha, Mexico, Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, China, Japan, Korea and Israel.

The Cardiff Commitment

The Cardiff Commitment, aligned to Cardiff Council’s ‘Capital Ambition’, supports the vision that the public, private and third sectors will work in partnership, with schools ⁸and education providers, to raise ambition and connect children and young people to the vast range of opportunities available in the world of work. 

Ultimately, the goal of the Cardiff Commitment is to ensure that all young people in Cardiff develop the skills and knowledge needed to secure a post-16 destination that enables them to reach their full potential, whilst contributing to the economic growth of the city.

Seren Network

Seren Network is a Welsh Government initiative dedicated to helping Wales’ brightest students achieve their full academic potential and support their education pathway into leading universities in Wales, the UK, and overseas. Pupils who took part in the DebateMate workshops from both Cantonian High School and Fitzalan High School were part of the Seren Network.

Media contact:

Kath Chadwick or Lynsey Walden at Front Door Communications on 02902 020360 or email