Welsh learners course for the WI launched
New online service developed by the National Centre for Learning Welsh
The National Centre for Learning Welsh and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes in Wales have announced the launch of a new online language learning service exclusively for the benefit of WI members.
The 10-hour online course will allow WI members to learn Welsh in their own time and at their own pace, so helping to increase the number of Welsh speakers in the organisation.
An internal review in 2017 showed that 27% of the WI’s 16,000 members in Wales can speak Welsh. A further 13% of non-Welsh speaking members expressed a keen interest to learn the language.
As a result, the WI in Wales approached the National Centre for Learning Welsh with a request to create a bespoke online beginners’ course to meet the needs of those members wishing to learn Welsh or improve their fluency. The service will be made available to members across Wales’ 600 WI branches, and members outside Wales.
It is the latest in a series of online courses created by the Centre as part of its ‘Work Welsh/Cymraeg Gwaith’ scheme, which aims to strengthen Welsh language skills in the workplace. The scheme has been a significant success with around 13,000 individuals taking part since its launch in 2017.
The latest course was announced at a launch event at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in Llanelwedd.
Dona Lewis, Deputy Chief Executive at the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said: “We’re delighted to be working with the WI in the development of our online Welsh language learning course specifically tailored for members of the organisation and made available exclusively to them. The course is practical in nature and geared to help members to quickly assimilate everyday Welsh.”
She added: “It’s the first time for an organisation to directly commission us in this way and is an endorsement of the positive contribution the National Centre is making in the promotion of the language across a range of sectors.”
Mair Stephens, Chair of NFWI - Wales, said: “The WI plays a unique role in providing women with educational opportunities and the chance to build new skills. We’re grateful to the team at the National Centre for Learning Welsh for their enthusiastic support in the development of this exciting initiative.”
She added: “The WI has a long and distinguished track record in Wales and we actively promote the Welsh language as a matter of policy. Many of our members meet and converse in Welsh and many of our events are held bilingually.
“I’m sure the new online course will be of enormous benefit to members wishing to learn Welsh as they carry out their invaluable work within their communities.”
Notes to Editors
National Centre for Learning Welsh
- The National Centre for Learning Welsh was established following a Welsh Government review called ‘Raising our Sights/ Codi Golygon’, which recommended creating one single body to be responsible for the Welsh for Adults field.
- Following a tendering process, the University of Wales Trinity Saint David won the contract to establish the Centre. The Centre is funded by the Welsh Government.
- The Centre officially started its work in August 2016.
- The Centre contracts 11 course providers (including universities, further education colleges and county councils) who run courses on its behalf in all parts of Wales.
- Approximately 1,500 courses are held each year.
- Further information: learnwelsh.cymru
Federation of Women’s Institutes
- Since 1923 it has been mandatory for the National Board Member for Wales to be a Welsh speaker.
- The WI’s four-strong executive staff team in Wales are Welsh speakers.
- In Wales the WI has 16,000 members across 600 branches and 13 County Federations.
- The WI is the largest women’s voluntary organisation in the UK. It celebrated its centenary in 2015 and currently has 215,000 members in approximately 6,300 WIs across England, Wales and the Islands.
- Further information: https://www.thewi.org.uk/wi-in-wales