More people take up new opportunities to learn Welsh
More people have followed Welsh learning courses over the past 12 months, thanks to new opportunities created by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
The Centre, which works with 11 providers across Wales, outlines its progress for the 2017-2018 academic year in its Annual Report.
Over 5,000 people took part in an innovative learning programme called ‘Work Welsh’, introduced by the Centre to strengthen Welsh language skills in the workplace. The programme features intensive, residential and online courses.
Around 600 people took part in the ‘Clwb Cwtsh’ scheme, a series of eight-week taster courses for families of young children, developed in partnership with the Welsh-medium Early Years specialists, Mudiad Meithrin.
The Centre also implemented an Innovation Grant scheme, to engage with difficult-to-reach audiences. New courses developed as a result of the scheme include a course for refugees and asylum seekers in Cardiff and an integrated Welsh learning programme for families in Ceredigion.
These figures are in addition to the Learn Welsh sector’s main target for 2017-2018, which was to provide mainstream learning opportunities (a minimum of 50 hours per year) and supplementary learning opportunities (e.g. weekend and revision courses) for 17,660 learners. The Centre will report on this figure later this year, but expects to meet the target.
The Centre confirmed it had met its target for the 2016-2017 academic year, which was to provide mainstream and supplementary learning opportunities for 16,845 learners.
The ‘Work Welsh’ and ‘Clwb Cwtsh’ schemes will continue during 2018-2019, with new online courses tailored for different sectors – including Health, Social Care and Hospitality/Tourism – introduced as part of ‘Work Welsh’.
A new, national Interactive Site - learnwelsh.cymru or dysgucymraeg.cymru – was introduced during the year, in a first for the Learn Welsh sector. Prospective learners can search 2,000 courses, register and pay online; digital resources are also available on the site.
Two new Learn Welsh courses were developed during the year, one for beginners at Mynediad/Entry level and one for more experienced learners at Uwch/Advanced level. These courses will be rolled out across Wales from September 2018 onwards.
Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: “It’s been an exciting and busy year for the Centre. We’ve introduced innovative programmes which offer new and flexible learning opportunities for people of all backgrounds and in all parts of the country to learn and use the Welsh language.
“Driving the Centre’s work is our aim to support the Welsh Government’s ambition to create a million Welsh speakers by 2050. We want to achieve this by ensuring people get the opportunities and support they need to learn the language.
“I’m grateful to our providers and partners for their creative co-operation and we look forward to continuing to work constructively to implement our plans and offer outstanding experiences to our learners.”