Welsh learners across Wales and beyond are being encouraged to enter the ‘Dysgwr y Flwyddyn/Learner of the Year’ competition at the 2023 Llŷn and Eifionydd National Eisteddfod, 40 years after the competition was first launched.
Shirley Flower from Clwyd was the winner of the first ever Learner of the Year competition, which took place at the Llangefni National Eisteddfod in 1983. Since then, the competition has been held 36 times, with many familiar names among the winners.
The competition is open to learners aged 18 and above who are confident using the language in their everyday lives. Individuals can nominate themselves; a relative, friend, colleague or tutor can also make a nomination. The application form can be found on the Eisteddfod’s website, and the closing date is 1 May.
The initial round will be held virtually on 11 and 12 May, with the final round held at the Eisteddfod on Wednesday, 9 August, with the judges: radio presenter, Tudur Owen; Liz Saville Roberts MP; and Geraint Wilson-Price, head of Learn Welsh Gwent.
The winner will be announced at a special ceremony on 9 August.
The competition is organised by the Eisteddfod and the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
Betsan Moses, Chief Executive of the National Eisteddfod, said: “Celebrating the contribution of new Welsh speakers is vitally important to the Eisteddfod and the Learner of the Year competition is one of the festival highlights. We’re proud the competition is celebrating its fortieth anniversary, and are looking forward very much to getting to know this year’s competitors.”
Dona Lewis, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: “The Learner of the Year award is a fantastic way to celebrate the successes of inspiring individuals and to highlight the many opportunities to learn and enjoy our language. The standard each year is high, and the competition is one of the highlights of the Learn Welsh calendar. Pob lwc – good luck to all this year’s entrants!”
The winner will enjoy a busy year, spreading the word about learning Welsh, taking part in both virtual and face-to-face events and activities.
Joe Healy, from Wimbledon, London won the award in 2022. A year on, and Joe has started working as a full-time Learn Welsh tutor with Learn Welsh Cardiff. He teaches courses for young people and classes at Oasis, Cardiff, which supports refugees and asylum seekers.
Joe said: “Winning the Learner of the Year award was a huge privilege, and also an emotional experience. It has opened doors for me, in terms of my career, and has enabled me to share my language journey with other learners. It’s been a very busy year since winning the award, but I’d encourage learners to go for it – pob lwc!”