Mind your language: Welsh speakers in construction
CITB’s Welsh language policy adviser Gwenno Griffith on developing Welsh skills in the workplace.
The Welsh government has a highly ambitious plan: its Cymraeg 2050 strategy aims to ensure that the number of Welsh speakers rises from 562,000 – its current figure – to one million, by 2050.
CITB supports the government’s bold plan and fully recognises the importance of promoting Welsh in the workplace.
For example, CITB’s Welsh Language Scheme, a result of the Welsh Language Act 1993 and Welsh Language Measure 2011, states that “organisations should not treat the Welsh language less favourably than the English”. It sets out how CITB is expected to use Welsh in the workplace and with the public.
I joined CITB in August 2019. Encouraging new Welsh speakers is an important part of my work at CITB Wales. In January I was delighted to offer CITB Wales staff across the country the chance to learn Welsh via taster sessions, online or at a residential course.
Take-up, I’m pleased to say, has been very good – staff’s enthusiasm to learn the language has been encouraging.
Providing opportunities for those who can speak Welsh is also an important part of CITB’s work. That’s because the ability to complete qualifications bilingually can be an essential element for some Welsh speakers.
A good role model is award-winning bricklayer Ifan Williams, a bilingual apprenticeship ambassador for CITB Wales. He completed a bilingual Foundation Apprenticeship and Apprenticeship in Brickwork with the CITB through Coleg Meirion Dwyfor in Dolgellau, north Wales.
Williams used his first language of Welsh and written English to complete the qualifications and was named CITB Apprentice of the Year for Wales in 2018. His story is an example of the value of offering Welsh-language apprenticeships.
I believe promoting the Welsh language has numerous benefits for staff and our clients. It helps CITB put the customer first, promotes inclusivity and ensures CITB supports the culture of Wales by helping the Welsh government achieve its ambitious 2050 vision.
Gwenno Griffith is Welsh language policy advisor with CITB