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Using Welsh at work

Find out why it’s important to use Welsh at work and what we are doing to promote the use of the Welsh language within the health and social care and early years and childcare sectors.

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.

Here are some useful links to Welsh language standards, planning and awareness. Information on rights, Welsh language schemes, and guidance to support delivery of a bilingual service.

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:

  • children
  • 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.

This resource includes a self-assessment that works out people’s skills in speaking, writing and reading Welsh from a basic to fluent. All levels are important and much needed in the social care sector in Wales.

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.

Training resource to support bilingual working

A ‘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.

Resource aims

  • 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. Contact us if you cannot download this presentation.

More resources to help you

Work Welsh provides a free online course for beginners that’s tailored to those working in care. It covers topics such as how to have an initial face-to-face conversation in Welsh with the people you care for.

Sgiliaith (Grwp Llandrillo Menai) offer practical advice on good practice, staff training and resource, to enhance learners' bilingual skills and experiences.

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol give scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students to study higher education courses through the medium of Welsh. They have resources to support learners with the new CCPLD and HSC qualifications with little or no Welsh skills and offer 'Prentis-iaith' courses for apprentices who currently have little or no Welsh language skills. They enable apprentices to complete part of their HSC/CCPLD qualification in Welsh.

Iaith Gwaith (working Welsh) scheme and the orange speech bubble badge is used to show if a person can speak Welsh.

Translation, proofreading and terminology

If you are looking for a translator or interpreter service, visit Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru's website for a list of competent translators and interpreters and their details.

Here are some Welsh online dictionaries to help you learn enhance your vocabulary:

Termau is an English to Welsh and Welsh to English terminology portal.

Cysgliad is a software package with two programs. Cysill, that identifies and corrects language errors in your Welsh-language documents and Cysgeir, an electronic dictionary.

Helo Blod is free translation and text checking service.

Ceredigion County Council have gathered many terms that have been coined or become commonly used during the pandemic and produced a mini-dictionary of the most commonly used coronavirus terms in Welsh. The resource aims to help speakers talk and write about the disease in their own language.

Apps for learning

Here are some engaging Welsh language Apps for learning, available on both IOS and Android.

Mentrau Iaith (Welsh Initiatives)

Mentrau Iaith Cymru (MIC) is the national organisation which supports the work of 22 local Mentrau Iaith across Wales.

Their role is to raise awareness of the Welsh language and culture, by encouraging people to develop their knowledge and use of the language and be able to practice their language skills in a friendly and social environment in the community.

Welsh language – research, technology, learning, and support

Canolfan Bedwyr is Bangor University’s Centre for Welsh Language services, research and technology.

Developing Welsh language skills helps develop student, staff and employer confidence to use their Welsh language skills in the workplace.

Place name was created to assist finding and checking for the existence of Welsh names for English places and vice versa.

This speech language technologies resource has the ability to produce and respond to human speech (text to speech and speech recognition).


National Centre for Learning Welsh was established to deliver Welsh language training with a wealth of training available from online, short courses, apps and much more.

Virtual bulletin for Welsh language resources

A Welsh language virtual notice board on Padlet.com has resources for training, learners, activities, apps, music, jobs and much more to support you to learn and develop your Welsh language skills.

Educational resources

OpenLearn Wales: The home of bilingual, free learning in Wales - can be used by those who wish to know more about Welsh society and culture and brings together a collection of free educational resources relevant to Wales.

Contact us

If you have a question or if you can't find what you are looking for get in touch with us.