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New 'Work Welsh' health course

New online course helps healthcare workers learn Welsh

A new online Learn Welsh course has been launched for the healthcare sector as part of the ‘Work Welsh’ programme run by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.

The free, 10-hour course introduces vocabulary and phrases relevant to front-line staff such as nurses, doctors and other health workers.  Tips on pronunciation and a range of language exercises are also included.

The course is one of a number of new online courses, tailored for different sectors, developed under the ‘Work Welsh’ programme, which aims to strengthen Welsh language skills in the workplace.

Other courses have been developed for care workers, the retail sector and for people working in tourism and hospitality.

Since launching ‘Work Welsh’ in 2017, over 7,000 workers across Wales have taken part in Welsh language training with the programme.

Strengthening Welsh language services in the health, social services and social care sectors is a priority for Welsh Government, as outlined in its ‘Mwy na Geiriau/More than Words’ strategy.  This work supports the Government’s aim of achieving one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Eluned Morgan AM, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, explains:  “The healthcare sector needs to meet the new Welsh language Standards which coincide with new rules to promote the Welsh language.  It’s vital to encourage Welsh speakers to use the language in their careers and to encourage others to learn the language.

“Lessons are a fantastic way of helping people learn and develop confidence, but attending a regular class can be difficult for shift workers.  The flexibility offered by online courses, therefore, is very useful and I hope many NHS staff will start or re-start learning Welsh with this course.”

Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, adds:

“The response to the ‘Work Welsh’ programme has been tremendous and there’s a genuine demand for flexible Welsh language training, tailored for different sectors, in workplaces across Wales.  We’re delighted to be able to introduce this new online course for the healthcare sector.”

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Staff at Hywel Dda University Health Board are among the first in Wales to try out the new course.  The Board already supports ‘Work Welsh’ and staff have followed the original online course developed by the programme, as well as residential courses to build confidence.

Bernardine Rees, Chair of Hywel Dda University Health Board says: “The Health Board is proud to support the Work Welsh scheme in order to further strengthen our bilingual services for our bilingual population.

“Many of our staff, including myself, have truly benefited from the original online course and the residential courses. I’m sure that this course will be as popular with our staff – if not more so - as it’s tailored specifically for the healthcare sector. Patient experience is a priority and even a few words of Welsh here and there can truly make a difference, so give it a go. Mae’n wych – it’s excellent!”

Pictured left to right are: Front row, Hywel Dda University Health Board staff, Gwenan Davies, Senior Language Officer, Bernardine Rees, Chair and Tracy Davies, Mental Health Practitioner, with Efa Gruffudd Jones, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh; back row are Mark Lawler, Senior Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist, Trainer/Supervisor and Martin Ellsmore, Therapeutic Practitioner, Hywel Dda University Health Board.

Read about Tracy Davies' experiences following the 'Work Welsh' scheme.