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Using Welsh at work
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Find out why it’s important to use Welsh at work and what we're 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?

Advantages

By improving the workforce’s Welsh language skills, knowledge and understanding of bilingualism we can provide 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 or native language
  • avoiding potential complaints to the Welsh Language Commissioner about poor or deficient Welsh language services
  • achieving equality standards by providing Welsh language services
  • assessing individual needs by communicating with users of service in their preferred or native language
  • promoting the reputation of organisations by providing a bilingual service
  • offering good quality care, by meeting the language needs of the individuals you work with, who will come from many different backgrounds.

Welsh language policy and legislation

Following legislation and developments in language policy, service providers need to take reasonable steps to make sure they have proportionate, appropriate and adequate staffing arrangements in place to provide a bilingual care service.

Further legislation established new Language Standards for public bodies in Wales. These Language Standards also apply 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 language services
  • organisations shouldn't assume English as the default language when providing their services
  • Welsh speakers shouldn’t have to ask for a service in Welsh.

Here are some useful links about Welsh language standards, planning and awareness. There’s also information about rights, Welsh language schemes, and guidance to support the provision 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:

  • make sure the language needs of Welsh speakers are met
  • provide Welsh language services for those who need it
  • show 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. It places the responsibility for ensuring Welsh language services on service providers, not on the individual who uses services.

Both Welsh speakers and non-Welsh speakers have a part to play in providing 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 providing a service in Welsh without having to ask for it. Welsh language services should be as available to users in the same way as English language services.

Actively offering Welsh language services makes sure 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.

Not actively offering Welsh language services may result in people’s dignity and respect being compromised.

How can I make the active offer?

Let’s hear from practitioners and individuals who use services

Keneuoe's story

Keneuoe talks about the importance of Welsh in her job.

Morfydd and Will's stories

Morfydd and Will talk about how important it is for them to be able to speak Welsh in their care home.

Wyn's story

Wyn talks about the importance of understanding that some people find it easier to explain things in their native language.

How to assess Welsh language skills

We’re developing a tool that works out an individual’s skills in speaking, writing and reading Welsh, from basic to fluent.

We’ve also created a version for the early years and childcare sector that’s based on the principles of ‘More than just words’.

These packs helps make effective use of language skills as you would with any other workplace skill, for the benefit and well-being of people who use your services.

Training resource to support bilingual working

Our 'train the trainer’ resource supports 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.

The resource aims to:

  • help the trainer to teach language awareness while encouraging discussions on how best to work bilingually
  • educate and empower learners and workers about how to offer a valuable service, making sure that language is always a consideration
  • 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 can't download the presentation.

More resources to help you

Apps for training

Work Welsh is a free online course for beginners that’s tailored to people 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.

Camau | Learn Welsh by The National Centre for Learning Welsh, is a fully funded online self-study course for beginners,

Sgiliaith (Grwp Llandrillo Menai) offers practical advice about good practice, staff training and resources to improve learners' bilingual skills and experiences.

Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol offers scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students to study higher education courses through the medium of Welsh. It has resources to support learners who have little or no Welsh skills with the new CCPLD and HSC qualifications. It also offers 'Prentis-iaith' courses for apprentices who have little or no Welsh language skills, and apprentices can 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.

Clwb Cwtsh

Clwb Cwtsh is a resource that introduces parents and carers to Welsh vocabulary they can use with children.

  • Watch this video on Mudiad Meithrin's YouTube channel to learn more.

Apps for learning

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

Translation, proofreading and terminology

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

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 programmes. Cysill identifies and corrects language errors in your Welsh language documents and Cysgeir is an electronic dictionary.

Helo Blod is a free translation and text checking service.

Ceredigion County Council has gathered many terms commonly used during the pandemic and produced a mini-dictionary of the most commonly used coronavirus terms in Welsh.

Mentrau Iaith (Welsh initiatives)

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

Its 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 students, staff and employers build confidence to use their Welsh language skills in the workplace.

Place name was created to help people find and check 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).

Training

The 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.

Other organisations

Mudiad Meithrin

Mudiad Meithrin offers play and learning opportunities for children from birth to school age.

Mudiad Meithrin's YouTube channel has variety of useful videos.

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 brings together a collection of free educational resources relevant to Wales and helps people learn about Welsh society and culture.

Contact us

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

First published: 16 January 2019
Last updated: 3 February 2023
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