WELSH IN THE WORKPLACE - CERED: CEREDIGION LANGUAGE INITIATIVE
The purpose of the Welsh in the Workplace two year pilot study run by Cered, Menter Iaith Ceredigion in partnership with Ceredigion College was to engage and work with rural employers and organisations to support, facilitate and increase the use of the Welsh language in employment. The project encouraged companies and organisations to use the Welsh language as a tool to promote activities and economic development within the area, as well as worked with young people in the county to promote enterprise to help them recognise the economic and linguistic value of starting a business locally.
One of the main aims of Welsh in the Workplace was to scope and identify opportunities to increase the use of the Welsh language in business and develop a training program to meet the needs and demand for bilingualism in business. Following the Welsh Language Act, employers and employees recognised the economic benefits and good business sense that bilingualism brings their business.
The project has supported 85 individual businesses in increasing Welsh in the workplace, developed and promoted guidelines and good practice on use of the Welsh language, and encouraged businesses with the same mindset to work together, using Welsh language and culture as a marketing tool to attract new customers and develop strategic business links and networks within the county (working with close cooperation between Business Wales, CAVO, Welsh Language Commissioner Antur Teifi, Ceredigion County Council, Cered and Coleg Ceredigion etc to develop networks).
Project activities included:
- Research into the support needs of Ceredigion businesses creating and distributing a questionnaire to businesses. Following this the questionnaires were analyzed and a report created.
- Supporting businesses, organisations and individuals in the workplace
- Holding 14 public events or joint events with partners, Careers Wales and Coleg Ceredigion.
- Attending business events from partners such as Visit Wales, Antur Teifi, Cambrian Mountains, Ceredigion County Council, Welsh Language Commissioner, UWTSD
- Holding joint venture sessions with Coleg Ceredigion students, namely ‘The benefits of the Welsh language for employees and businesses’, in Cardigan and Aberystwyth.
- Holding Language Awareness sessions in 6 county secondary schools in partnership with Careers Wales
- Promoting the benefits of using the Welsh language to businesses, organisations and individuals. A project-specific booklet was created, and officers promoted the benefits face-to-face, using the booklet as a resource, and on Cered's Facebook account and website, as well as through the local press.
The project has benefited many individuals and businesses by providing them with more Welsh-medium services. These individuals have also been encouraged to attend Welsh lessons. The project also promoted entrepreneurship among local Welsh speakers, and encouraged non-Welsh speaking business people or learners to consider ways to increase their use of Welsh.
The project was driven to ensure that small and micro businesses got the support and advice they need, to appreciate the importance of a Welsh language service to many of their customers, and then to implement those actions that suit to meet the demand, and take advantage of the marketing and customer service opportunities the language offers.
The project also worked to strengthen the position of the Welsh language within the community, to increase opportunities for people to use Welsh in the workplace, and to increase and improve Welsh language services for citizens. There were 85 businesses recorded that benefited from operating or increasing their use of Welsh, which exceeds the output target. However, officers had started a relationship with 253 businesses or organisations. In the long term the aim is to continue the relationship with many of these businesses or organisations.
This project has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.