To celebrate this year’s Use your Welsh (Defnyddia dy Gymraeg) campaign, we have been talking to some of our apprentices and colleagues about their experiences of using Welsh. The three individuals from across Wales, shared with us their advice and views on why it’s important to use more Welsh.
Jack Williams, Bikes Officer at Antur Waunfawr Studying Level 3 Apprenticeship in Sustainable Recycling Activities
The first apprentice that we spoke to was Jack Williams, a Bikes Officer with social enterprise Antur Waunfawr in Caernarfon. Jack, who is currently working towards a Level 3 Apprenticeship in Sustainable Recycling Activities, says that speaking Welsh comes naturally to him and that it has helped him work towards achieving his apprenticeship.
“On my apprenticeship, I mostly use Welsh through creating recorded discussions. This has been beneficial to me because I speak Welsh all the time at home, in work and with friends,” he said.
He also explained to us the importance of using Welsh in his work and how it has helped him provide the best service possible.
“Recently, I’ve been visiting primary schools to give classes on bike skills to children in year 3. I think at that age, the children learn better through their first language,” he explained.
He also says: “In Antur Waunfawr, the majority of staff and customers speak Welsh fluently so it’s important to build trust between the users of our services and staff.”
Coming from a largely Welsh speaking part of Wales, Caernarfon, Gwynedd, Jack understands and recognises the relationships and trust it builds within communities. He sees that using his Welsh has only benefited him in the workplace and in his apprenticeship.
His advice to those learning Welsh or who are less confident using Welsh is: “Use it [Welsh language] no matter your level. The Welsh community is proud of its language and are willing to help anyone who goes out of their way to learn and use the difficult language.”
Manon Rosser, Welsh Language Support Officer at Cambrian Training and Welsh Language Apprenticeship Ambassador with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol Studying Level 4 Apprenticeship in Translation Practice
Manon told us how her experience of living in a household where neither parent spoke Welsh initially had a significant effect on her views of the Welsh language.
“To be honest, it’s really hard if you can’t speak Welsh at home. Because neither of my parents spoke Welsh, it also meant that my siblings and I wouldn’t speak Welsh to each other either,” she explains.
“And because of this I didn’t have a lot of passion for Welsh when I was in school but this changed when I moved to University in Aberystwyth and then later when I started working for Cambrian Training,” she says. “And looking back now, I wish I had used Welsh with my siblings whenever I could.”
Compared to Swansea, Ceredigion and Powys, the two areas that Manon has lived since moving from Swansea, both rank higher in terms of percentage population of Welsh speakers – Swansea with a percentage of 18.6%, Powys 29% and Ceredigion 57.7%.
“It’s great – I speak Welsh everyday now and I’ve gained so many amazing opportunities. I’ve applied to be a Welsh Language Apprenticeship Ambassador with the Coleg Cymraeg and I’m completing a Level 4 Translation Practice Apprenticeship,” she says. “I’m so thankful for this and it’s being able to speak Welsh that has brought me to where I am today!”
For Manon, speaking Welsh has provided her with a number of opportunities that she otherwise might have not have had. It allowed her to enter into the professional environment and has helped her further herself through her apprenticeship.
Jess Lewis, Food & Beverage Associate at The Celtic Collection Studying Level 2 Apprenticeship in Hospitality Services
Unlike Jack and Manon, Jess Lewis, who is an apprentice working towards her Level 2 in Hospitality Services at the Celtic Collection, comes from an area where very few people speak Welsh. She mentions how she felt surprised to know that she could study her course in Welsh.
“When I discovered the opportunity to study my qualification in Welsh, it was a bit of a shock to me, especially because of where I live in Newport.”
Despite her surprise, she told us that it was an amazing opportunity for her to to re-connect with the language.
Not only is Jess thrilled and enthused to be able to use her Welsh again on her course, but she also mentioned a particular occasion where she felt that being able to speak Welsh improved the service she was providing.
She explained: “Whilst serving, I was looking after a group of elderly women who seemed nervous in the restaurant. But I overheard them speaking in Welsh, so I decided to speak to the women in Welsh and they relaxed and seemed to enjoy the environment much more!”
It is instances like that which make speaking Welsh so important. To be able to better connect with all the company’s customers and enhance their experience by putting them at ease is an amazing business advantage.
With one last piece of advice, Jess says: “Personally, the most important thing is to keep learning the language and promote it to others as well.”
At Cambrian Training, we are committed to Welsh Language standards and giving equal standing to Welsh in all of our services. We are currently working with the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol to provide Welsh language opportunities in our apprenticeship provision. We are also proud that we are able to offer work-based apprenticeship qualifications through the medium of Welsh.
Contact us to today to discover more about our Welsh Language apprenticeship opportunities:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 01938 555893.
To find out more about the Use your Welsh campaign, organised by Comisiynydd y Gymraeg, click here.