Council in drive to increase the use of Welsh
ISLAND AIMS TO MAKE IT THE MAIN LANGUAGE
ACOUNCIL’S aim of increasing the use of Welsh among its workforce is gathering pace with several members of staff having enrolled on government-funded courses to improve their proficiency.
Anglesey, the county with the second highest percentage of Welsh speakers, has announced plans to gradually make it the main internal language as part of its Welsh Language Strategy 2016-2021.
The strategy forms the cornerstone of the authority’s plan to promote Welsh and to facilitate more extensive use of the language on the island, having set a target to increase or maintain the number of Welsh speakers by the end of the five-year period.
As a result of the vision that has been set, its hoped that, by the 2021 Census, a 5% increase will be seen in the number of Welsh speakers to at least the 60.1% it was in 2001.
Part of the strategy includes introducing Welsh as the main internal language – becoming only the second Welsh county to do so after neighbouring Gwynedd.
The six-year rolling programme includes working with individual services and ensuring that the necessary support is in place to increase the use of the Welsh Language on an oral and written basis.
No set target has been revealed, but, while more Welsh would be used within internal communication, a bilingual presence will be maintained while dealing with the public.
A total of 38 council workers are enrolled onto Wlpan Welsh language qualifications, while another 80 have attended supplementary courses during the year, including Welsh in the Workplace and Language awareness.
According to a report recently authorised by the portfolio holder, Cllr Ieuan Williams, part of the strategy will see the council run a pilot scheme on the use of Microsoft Translate and the use of the Welsh Microsoft interface amongst staff.
In addition, a doctorate student from Bangor University is working with the Leisure Service on a change of language behaviour project and encouraging staff to use more Welsh on a dayto-day basis.
Of the council’s office-based staff, 87% of respondents to the latest staff questionnaire displayed high levels of fluency when speaking Welsh.
However, among communitybased council workers, this per- centage dropped slightly to 75%, 73% of residential staff and 56% of leisure centre-based employees.
As a result, several employees have been enrolled onto courses as part of the Welsh Government funded “Work Welsh” scheme, provided by the National Centre for Learning Welsh at Nant Gwrtheyrn.
The report noted: “One of the main developments in the area of Language training this year was the launch of the Work Welsh course at The National Centre for Learning Welsh.
“We marketed the Welcome Welsh course, which is a 10-hour course for pure learners which includes useful elements such as speaking on the phone and arranging meetings.
“Fourteen workers across the council took advantage of the five-day residential courses
“We have also held an intensive course at intermediate level between January and March 2018. This group will continue during 2018-19 through funding from Work Welsh.”
Nant Gwrtheyrn, Welsh Language Learning Centre