Why is using Welsh at work important?
By enhancing the workforce’s Welsh language skills, knowledge and understanding of bilingualism, this can help deliver better care services for everyone.
The benefits of using Welsh at work include:
- removing the risk of isolating individuals by failing to provide services in their preferred language
- avoid potential complaints about poor or deficient Welsh language services made to the Welsh Language Commissioner
- achieve equality standards by delivering Welsh language services
- assess individual needs by communicating with users of service in their preferred language
- promote the reputation of your organisation by providing a bilingual service.
Welsh language policy and legislation
Following legislation and developments in language policy, service providers need to take reasonable steps to ensure that they have proportionate, appropriate and adequate staffing arrangements in place to provide a bilingual care service.
Further legislation establish new Language Standards for public bodies in Wales. These Language Standards will be equally applicable to third party bodies, agencies, companies and organisations that provide care services on behalf of public bodies such as local authorities.
Legislation and policy in Wales require that Welsh language services in social care are:
- of the same standard and are as easily and promptly available as English medium services
- as wide-ranging and thorough
- organisations shouldn't assume English as the default language when providing their services
- Welsh speakers should not be required to ask for a service in Welsh.
What is 'More than just words'?
‘More than just words’ is the Welsh Government’s Strategic Framework for the Welsh Language in Health and Social Care. Its aim is
- to ensure that the language needs of Welsh speakers are met
- to provide Welsh language services for those who need it
- to demonstrate that language plays an important part in the quality of care and isn’t seen as an “add-on”.
This is a proactive approach to language choice and need in Wales, placing the responsibility for ensuring Welsh language services on service providers not on the individual who uses services.
Both Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers alike have a part to play in delivering Welsh language services.
The Welsh Government’s has pinpointed four priority groups where Welsh language services are especially important. These are:
- older people
- people with learning disabilities
- people with mental health problems.
These priority groups are particularly vulnerable if they don't receive care in the language of their choosing.
What is the 'Active Offer'?
The ‘Active Offer’ means to provide a service in Welsh without having to ask for it. Welsh language services should be as available to users as the English language.
Actively offering Welsh language services ensures that people’s needs are understood and met and that those who access care services can rely on being treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
To not actively offer Welsh language services may result in people’s dignity and respect being compromised.
How to assess Welsh language skills
The 'Welsh Language Skills in your workforce – using them effectively resource has been designed to support deliver the requirements of 'More than Just Words' by helping employers and managers identify what Welsh language skills their workforce have.
We have also developed a version for the Early Years and Childcare sector which is based on the principles of ‘More than Just Words’.
These packs helps make effective use of language skills as you would any other workplace skill, for the benefit and well-being of people who use your services.
Supporting the workforce with 'Work Welsh' programme
The Welsh Government has a vision that by 2050 there will be a million Welsh speakers in Wales.
As part of that national ambition, we are working with the National Centre for Learning Welsh, on a programme to help social care workers learn and use Welsh in their day-to-day work.
The new 'Work Welsh' programme aims to train the workforce giving them the confidence to have conversations with those they support through the medium of Welsh.
Evidence and experience tells us that enabling individuals to speak in their preferred language lets us get to the ‘heart of the matter’ much more effective and comfortably.
How will Work Welsh help you?
- You will have confidence to use the Welsh language with the people you support during your work
- You will improve your own Welsh language skills for future employment prospects and social networking
- Your organisation will benefit from being able to promote its involvement in the Work Welsh programme and improve the services it provides
- Individuals and families who receive support can use their language of choice, which allows them to work with you to achieve positive outcomes.
- An online tool that measures your ability to understand, speak, read and write in Welsh
- 100 hours of online courses
- Face-to-face courses.
When can you start?
To access these resources and for further information on the 'Work Welsh' programme contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note this programme is supported by the Welsh Government, which means these courses are free.
Training resource to support bilingual working
A new ‘train the trainer’ resource has been developed to support language awareness training for people working in health and social care, early years and childcare and for people who are in further or higher education.
- will help the trainer presenting to teach about language awareness whilst encouraging discussions on how best to work bilingually
- educate and empower learners and workers on how to offer a valuable service to service users ensuring that language is always a central consideration
- can be used as part of in-service training or induction for people working in social care in Wales.
This resource is in PowerPoint format with trainer notes to support each slide.
Resources to help you
The terminology portal brings the content of the terminology dictionaries developed at the Centre for the Standardisation of Welsh Terminology and approved partners on one easy to search website.
There are also apps to help support using Welsh at work.
The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol works with universities across Wales to develop Welsh language medium opportunities for students.
Learning in Welsh in the Workplace gives opportunities and resources to learn Welsh, increase confidence in using Welsh and get workplace training in Welsh.
Cymorth Cymraeg: Help for Welsh at Work resources help with Welsh speaking, writing, and advanced level lessons. There are also software resources like a grammar and spell checker, glossary and more.
Bangor's Canolfan Bedwyr provide a suite of Welsh language skills development courses for people working in education as well as courses which are open to all.
It’s easier than ever to learn Welsh. Whether you want to learn online, attend an evening class or follow an intensive residential course, there’s something for you. Find out more with Learn Welsh.
There are 23 Mentrau Iaith/Welsh Language Initiatives across Wales providing opportunities for all ages across the country to use the Welsh language.