Health board introduces scheme to boost Welsh language skills
Hywel Dda University Health Board has appointed a full time Confidence Building Officer and is introducing a series of short courses to help staff become more confident in speaking Welsh.
The initiative has been launched as part of the Work Welsh scheme by the National Centre for Learning Welsh, which aims to assist employers to encourage the workforce to use more Welsh at work.
Enfys Williams, Welsh Language Services Manager at Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The purpose of the confidence building courses is to change linguistic habits and improve confidence, so that our staff are more likely to use their Welsh to communicate with others and complete tasks in the workplace through the medium of Welsh.
“As a Health Board we recognise the importance of the Welsh language in the workplace for our staff and service users.
“Our workforce language skills data shows that there is a significant percentage of Welsh speakers working for the health board however following recent feedback it is clear that many feel that it is a lack of confidence that is holding them back”.
Siwan Iorwerth, Manager of the Work Welsh Scheme, National Centre for Learning Welsh said: “We are very pleased to collaborate with Hywel Dda Health Board to increase the Welsh language skills of the workforce which will ultimately increase the Welsh language services within the health board.
“These courses will give the individuals confidence to use more of their Welsh at work as well as in their everyday lives.”
The full-time Confidence Building Officer, Richard Jones, will be employed by one of the Learn Welsh providers, Aberystwyth University, for a period of 12 months.
The aim is to offer short confidence building courses and work with individuals to change the use they make of the Welsh language with patients.
The series of Confidence Building courses will be open to all health board staff as well as targeting specific groups of staff such as Receptionists, Apprentices and Nurses; staff who have direct contact with patients.
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Perhaps it would be smarter to divert the funding for that post into funds for training native Welsh speakers with a sound standard of education at the school of Medicine at Bangor or Cardiff. Long term that could improve retention of skills and reduce our reliance on stealing talent from countries who desperately need to keep their young talent to improve their own health services.