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Using Welsh at work

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?


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.

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

Language is much more than a tool for communication. When someone speaks in their own language, it’s easier for them to express their feelings and describe their emotions. In this section we hear from practitioners who work in the social care and early years and childcare sector, and people who use services.

In this clip we hear from key workers and people who use services at Antur Waunfawr, who talk about why speaking Welsh is important to them, and what difference this makes.

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.

Mari's story: Mwy na geiriau - More than just words

Mari Emlyn speaks honestly about her late father's health and their care experience. The film was produced by Theatr Bara Caws for Welsh Government.

To watch the video with English subtitles, click on the 'Settings' option at the bottom of the video and select English subtitles.

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

Assessing and recording your staff’s Welsh language skills

This resource will support you to assess your staff’s Welsh language skills based on the types of communication tasks (reading, writing, speaking, and understanding) which your workforce are able to undertake in Welsh.

Within this resource you will find a Language Skills Framework that will enable you to be clear about the exact skills levels that you need to refer to when assessing, recruiting and planning the use of your staff’s communication 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’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.

Welsh language awareness e-learning module

This module is for workers and students in the social care and early years and childcare sector who wish to learn more about Welsh language, culture and working bilingually.

It includes information about the Welsh language and bilingualism, what the law says, and what we must do and why.

The module also looks at the practicalities of working bilingually and what this means to people who use services. There's also information about what you can do to improve the experiences of individuals or children who receive care and support.

The module takes around 30 minutes to complete and if you're registered with us, it counts towards your continuous professional development (one hour).

Everyone who completes the module will receive a certificate.

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

Welsh language level checker

Social care workers in Wales can now use a free online tool to assess their Welsh language skills.

We’ve worked with the National Centre for Learning Welsh to develop a ‘Level Checker’ for the social care sector.

The Level Checker is an online assessment to help you find out your Welsh language level in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. You complete a series of online assessments, and your results indicate your level of Welsh - from entry level through to proficient.

Anyone working in social care can use the Level Checker to assess their Welsh language ability. It’s free to use and available on mobiles, tablets and computers.

After completing the assessment, the next step for someone who is interested in improving their Welsh is to register for one of our free Camau Welsh language courses, which have been created especially for social care workers and offer flexible, online learning.

You can find out more about our Camau courses on the Learn Welsh website. There are two different courses available, for north and south Wales.

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).


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: 5 June 2024
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