Archive for September, 2012

First Minister Carwyn Jones calls to ‘rebrand and refresh’ Cardiff Airport

Having returned from a week’s relaxing holiday in one of Europe’s most beautiful countries Spain, whose citizens are really finding their economic situation dire, I was really pleased to read in today’s Western Mail of our First Minister’s statement yesterday.

He acknowledged the need to attract foreign investment and grow trade if Wales is to succeed on the world stage.  As a long-term supporter of our local airport, I was particularly pleased to hear of the plan to ‘rebrand and refresh’ Cardiff Airport in a bid to attract more passengers.   Perhaps this initiative may excite the Airport’s Spanish owner to come up with some additional funds to support any Public Sector initiative by our Welsh Government.

I am afraid I used Bristol Airport last week even though I had to get up at 2:30am to catch the early flight to Malaga.  So I would welcome a direct flight from Cardiff to Malaga for a few extra hours in bed before my next trip to refresh my body and soul at my favourite yoga retreat.

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This week our latest GO Wales work placement student, Eira Jepson, started a 10 week internship with us at Petersens. We invited her to write a blog post to introduce herself!…

On graduating from Cardiff University, with a BA in French and Spanish, this summer I’m not ashamed to say that I had little or no idea as to where life was going to take me.  Being a graduate proved as disconcerting as everyone had forewarned; for the first time in my life, and despite having spent time gallivanting round countries on gap and sandwich years, my time wasn’t structured and full-time education would not be welcoming me back with open arms come September. Luckily however, and in the nick of time, an exciting alternative came along in the shape of Petersens.

When I say I had no idea about my future, that’s not the say that I didn’t have hopes and aspirations.  My decision to study French and Spanish at university was based not only on my love for those languages, their countries and their cultures, but also on my overall interest in language use and communication, and it was always my aim to find a career with the scope to develop and use that interest.  PR and Communications seemed the obvious choice as it provided the diverse, busy environment that I was looking for, while offering the opportunity to use my writing skills and explore language the way I always wanted to.

I’m now three days into my 10 week placement and I already feel at home among the coverage books and cups of tea.  Sally and Louise have been extremely welcoming, and already have me reading up on clients, researching media and, evidently, updating the Petersens blog! I’m now looking forward to becoming more involved in forthcoming projects, writing my first press release, and of course having my first taste of Cardiff Breakfast Club in the upcoming weeks. I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity of an internship in an agency as reputable as Petersens who have provided me with that all important, first step on the professional ladder.

Ann Beynon, BT’s Director for Wales, supercharged the Breakfast Club’s opening meeting of the Autumn season with a presentation on the ‘silent revolution’ the telecoms giant is bringing to Wales.

Ann smilingly said that she was ‘not going to apologise for the technical detail’ her in-depth presentation involved, as it was ‘important for your businesses to know’. However, she admitted that being trilingual and having studied Medieval Welsh perhaps helped it to seem less complicated!

BT has invested £2.5 billion into bringing superfast broadband to two-thirds of the UK by 2014, a deadline already brought forward by a year due to the roll-out’s success so far. This huge feat of civil engineering will build a revolutionary ‘superfast’ broadband infrastructure, with download speeds already hitting 80Mbps and 300Mbps on the horizon.

The superfast roll-out will happen on a number of levels. Firstly, the existing copper network, originally intended only for voice transmissions, will receive a fibre ‘overlay’. The familiar copper roadside cabinets will be joined by fibre network cabinets, with massive amounts of fibre already present in Cardiff. The second phase will take the fibre network from cabinets to premises on demand, offering speeds of 110Mbps.

Deploying fibre as an overlay to the existing network enables BT to offer reduced costs. Indeed, Ann stated that telecoms bills are the only utility rate to have decreased in recent years, despite modern life depending more and more on connectivity. The final platform, the Ethernet network, offers potentially massive speeds and is intended for business use. BT is also trialling expansion of their 4G and wi-fi technologies to deliver broadband signals.

Ann was keen to stress the importance of Cardiff to BT. The company’s Global Development Centre is housed in the Bay, with over 300 software engineers working in real-time with partnerships in the US and in India. Cardiff will also be 1 of 20 UK trial sites for the fibre-to-premises product. With BT’s help, Cardiff will soon become 1 of the UK’s 10 ‘superconnected cities’, with the results of a £12 million funding bid due this month.

These super speeds will have advantages across the board, from attracting inward investment, to enable local businesses to flourish and improving opportunities for home working. On a more social level they will facilitate greater digital inclusion, and encourage young, skilled professionals to stay in the area. Even the housing market would feel the benefit of ‘fibring up’, with 57% of respondents to a recent study saying they would pay more for a house with superfast broadband. BT also intend to create numerous jobs during the roll-out, as well as 100 apprentices.

Ann said that she genuinely believes fibre is a key part of any growth strategy for the UK economy. With Wales at the forefront of the revolution, we look set for a superfast future!

Account Executive Sally was lucky enough to go to the Paralympics last weekend. Here she tells us all about her amazing day…

As anyone who has met me since the 27th of July can testify, I absolutely loved the Olympics. So when my lengthy efforts to get my hands on some Paralympics tickets were (finally!) rewarded, I was more than a little excited! I finally made it to the Olympic Park on Sunday, and it was definitely worth the wait.

My Paralympic experience started just before dawn (on a Sunday!). When I spotted my first Gamesmaker, the brilliant Olympic and Paralympic volunteers, on the platform at 7.30 I felt tingles of excitement. I was really on my way! Nearly everyone on our train into central London was heading to the games, and our Team GB t-shirts and Union Jack were greeted with knowing smiles by the other passengers. This was my first taste of the truly unique Olympic atmosphere I’d heard so many people talking about. By the time we got off the train at Stratford an excited buzz was everywhere.

We crossed the bridge under massive pink signs flashing ‘Good morning, welcome to London 2012’, and then there it was – the Olympic Stadium. Our tickets were for the morning athletics session, and after a quick hot chocolate break, we were itching to get inside.

The stadium is enormous and even more awe-inspiring in reality than on the television. Elegant columns taper down to create entry ways studded with coloured Perspex panels, with floodlights circling the rim like the points of a crown. It was already busy as we walked up the stairs (to the tune of Coldplay’s Paradise – truly spine-tingling!) but we had time to stand and gawp, and for a quick photo session!

Our seats were right opposite the beautiful cauldron, and we had a great view of everything going on. We got to see a real mixture of events, including  javelin, shot put, long jump, and lots of different track races – blind runners with guides, wheelchair racers, and runners with ‘blades’. A lot of the events happen at the same time, with the commentator directing your attention and filling you in on the athletes’ statistics and scores. One of the best moments of the day came when the commentator called for quiet for the start of a track race, just as an enthusiastic new arrival to our block of seating shouted, ‘Block 247, give us a cheer!!’  Our block was told off before the next one started…

The stadium was packed out and the noise for Team GB was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It followed wheelchair racer Shelly Woods round the track like a roaring wave, the stands a sea of Union Jack flags. We saw Stef Reid take silver in the long jump and Bridgend boy Aled Davies get gold in the discus, encouraging our Canadian neighbours to join us in cheers of ‘Wales, Wales!’

Once our session ended we were free to wander around the park, and we quickly ticked the Aquatic Centre, Velodrome and Riverbank Arena off our ‘must-see’ list. We recharged our batteries on the grass by the big screen, watching the tandem cycling – and hearing the crowds cheering from the Velodrome behind us!

It was an absolutely fantastic experience, and every time I looked at the Stadium my spine tingled. However, the best moment of the day was undoubtedly getting to hold a very real, very heavy, gold medal!

It belonged to Swiss 5000m wheelchair racer Edith Wolf, who we had seen on the podium that very morning. To be able to say congratulations to a real life Paralympic champion was just amazing – Edith was truly awe-inspiring, and very down to earth.

We left the park very tired, but very happy. This summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games have been such an incredible moment for Great Britain, and I am so happy that I can say, ‘I was there’.