Eluned Parrott has been a member of the National Assembly for Wales since July 2011, and is the Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Business, Enterprise, Transport and Europe. She studied at Cardiff University School of Music from 1992-1995.
Cardiff was far and away my first choice of University and I was so excited when I got my place. The course gave me everything I wanted – a chance to play, to be in a vibrant and very musical city, and to challenge myself intellectually. I fell in love with the city when I came to visit, and the curriculum in Cardiff is very broad and flexible; it gave me the chance to steer my degree in the directions I was most interested in. I particularly enjoyed researching and writing my dissertation, and that taught me a huge amount about the importance of being pro-active and independent which has stood me in good stead throughout my career.
I met my husband here, I learned the skills that I needed to help me build a career here, and I made friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Immediately after finishing my degree I looked at several different career options, including playing or teaching music, but I decided that what I really wanted to do was work in arts marketing. I started at Techniquest, a science discovery centre and venue in Cardiff Bay, and moved on to National Youth Arts Wales (who represent all of Wales’ National Ensembles) later, studying for marketing qualifications at night-school to go alongside my degree. Since taking up my first job a few weeks after graduation, I’ve never been unemployed.
The jump to business and then politics may seem a long one, but culture is a hugely important element of Wales’ economy and Wales’ national identity. I performed in the celebration concert for the establishment of the National Assembly as part of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, which I joined when I was a student at the University, but even then the idea of one day becoming an Assembly Member seemed very distant indeed!
I was born in Wales, but grew up in England, so coming to Cardiff University very much felt like coming home. But actually its such a warm and friendly city that a lot of people feel that way whether they’ve got connections with the city or not.
My choice to study Music at Cardiff University has had a massive impact on my life. I met my husband here, I learned the skills that I needed to help me build a career here, and I made friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.