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A chat about learning Welsh at her son’s football match kicks off Marie’s new career

A chance conversation at a children’s football match in Gilfach Goch, Rhondda Cynon Taf, over 10 years ago changed Marie David-Jones’ life and set her on track for a new career in the Learn Welsh sector.

Originally from nearby Tonyrefail, Marie first decided to learn Welsh after discussing it with a friend at their children’s football match, with both joining a beginners’ course together.

Marie carried on learning and now follows an Advanced level course for experienced learners with Learn Welsh Glamorgan at Gartholwg Lifelong Learning Centre in Church Village.

Marie had previously worked in an office but was a stay-at-home mum in 2017 when she saw a job advert on Facebook for an Administrative Officer with Learn Welsh The Vale, where the ability to speak Welsh was a requirement. Marie thought she had nothing to lose and with her new Welsh skills behind her, she decided to go for it and was delighted to be appointed.

Marie explains, “I’ve always had an interest in the Welsh language as I travelled on holiday to different parts of Wales as a child with my parents and heard the language being spoken around the country. My grandmother could also speak a little Welsh and I can remember it being spoken at Moriah Chapel in Gilfach Goch, so it’s always been close to my heart.”

Marie uses her Welsh in every aspect of her work and it gives her a fantastic opportunity to practice the language. She adds,

“I love meeting other learners and feeling part of the team. I practice speaking Welsh every day and I enjoy further studies, including a Welsh literature course that’s opened a whole new world of culture for me.”

As part of her role, Marie arranges Welsh-medium events for her fellow learners such as a cookery club, arts and crafts sessions, gigs and much more. She feels that working through the medium of Welsh gives her a new challenge and keeps the work interesting and varied.

My advice to anyone considering learning Welsh is, if you feel a bit shy, take a friend with you to class - you can start learning together. Groups are very friendly and everyone attending has the same aim - you can do it!

Marie David-Jones