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MS told equal status for Welsh and English should be celebrated

18 May 2023 3 minute read
Rhianon Passmore MS. Photo National Assembly For Wales / Cynulliad Cymru is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Siân Williams

A Welsh Labour MS has been told equal status for Welsh and English should be celebrated after she claimed that young people are put off applying for jobs because they don’t speak Welsh.

Rhianon Passmore MS for Islwyn was speaking at this morning’s Public Accounts and Public Administration Committee (PAPAC) when she made the comment.

The committee is holding a public appointments inquiry and wants to understand the real, and perceived barriers, to increasing the diversity of candidates for public appointments in Wales.

This morning’s (19 May) hearing was taking evidence from two experts in the field, one of them being Dr Doyin Atewologun CEO of Delta Leadership and Inclusion Consultancy.

Dr Atewologun is also Deputy Chair of the British Psychology Society’s Diversity and Inclusion at Work group and currently holds faculty positions at universities in London, Nigeria and South Africa.

Speaking in committee, Ms Passmore said: “When I speak to my young people in my constituency one of the biggest things that crops up, and I will say this, is ‘oh I couldn’t apply for that because I don’t speak Welsh’.

The MS asked Dr Atewologun, whether she felt, “there is work to be done in that regard, bearing in mind that our programme of government which is to expand the number of Welsh speakers etc etc as part of the cultural heritage and movement moving forward. How do you feel that can be countered because it is a reality for lots of young people?”

Equal status

Dr Atewologun said she totally understood that reality, “I’ll speak from the perspective of lived experience rather than necessarily being an expert in how societies operate in multiple languages. I grew up in a country that speaks many different languages – Nigeria, however, you know because of historic reasons English is, quote unquote the lingua franca.”

Lingua franca is a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.

Dr Doyin Atewologun

Stressing her point, Dr Atewologun continued: “I applaud and celebrate the need to acknowledge the equivalence, and live and work in a society where there’s two or more languages …

“Based on some of the work that I’ve done in South Africa I might even recommend that we look to a country like South Africa which is really seeking to provide equivalency in terms of experiences in terms of language.”

More specifically, explained Dr Atewologun, she would recommend that Welsh Government continue doing what it does now in treating “both languages” Welsh and English, favourably. She added that the government should also continue to share its intent and explain why it is doing this.

“There is a value for society more broadly if we can operate equally in both the Welsh and the English languages,” said Dr Atewologun who is a multiple award-winning professional who has worked with several FTSE 100 businesses, United Nations agencies, the UK Civil Service and professional services firms

Chair Mark Isherwood MS asked Dr Atewologun whether she agreed, “yes or no, if British Sign Language should be incorporated into this?”

“Yes” was her response.


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15 Comments
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Riki
Riki
17 days ago

But it’s only equal in Wales right? It’s not really equal then is it?

Stephen Owen
Stephen Owen
17 days ago
Reply to  Riki

What is your point?

Richard
Richard
17 days ago

So sad this antipathy towards the nations’ historic national language remains in parts of the Labour Party in eastern Gwent 🥲.

Always keen on equality for others outside Wales but not for our own folk

Riki
Riki
17 days ago
Reply to  Richard

That’s a very Brythonic (Welsh) trait. You literally have serving soldiers who’ll fight for the freedoms of other nations, while handing over Wales to the Germanic monarchs of England.

Dark Mrakeford
Dark Mrakeford
17 days ago
Reply to  Riki

Easier to fight with the winning team than fight for your own land and people.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
16 days ago
Reply to  Riki

Yes! Collaborating with the army of the occupiers. Quislings.

Peter Cuthbert (Dr)
Peter Cuthbert (Dr)
17 days ago

In years past I used to look for jobs in Education in Wales. Almost every single one that would have suited my skills stated that the applicant must speak Welsh. Thus I can feel some sympathy for the youngsters complaining that the need to speak Welsh is a barrier. However, it clearly underlines the need for the Senedd to abolish Nursery and Primary education in Wales that is not Cymraeg. All kids up to secondary school should be immersed in Welsh and eventually the issue will fade away. Incomers with older English only speaking kids would obviously have problems, but… Read more »

boris
boris
17 days ago

Thats all well and good but that is hardly fair to all the people who have not been immeresed in welsh – are you saying sorry but we do not care about you

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
16 days ago
Reply to  boris

Then immerse them. What’s the problem? We’re all immersed in English (whether we like it or not)

Richard
Richard
16 days ago
Reply to  boris

Great news about your expected baby Boris …well done to you and the good lady. How many is that now ?

Frank
Frank
17 days ago

Rhiannon Passmore should consider job applicants unable to speak French in France or German in Germany, Italian in Italy, English in England …….

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
17 days ago

Welsh Labour MS Rhiannon Passmore forgets that if you apply for a job, don’t have the qualifications ,won’t get the job. Even a simpleton, or a Tory, understands this simple premise? See, I wouldn’t apply for a position that required French if I didn’t speak the language.

It’s obvious that she’s hostile towards our language and objects to the very idea that Welsh should even have equal status to English, baring in mind it is the native language of Britain. I think her mask has slipped revealing the bigot beneath.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
16 days ago

If a would-be applicant for a job lacks an essential or desirable element in the skill set for that job, then obviously they wouldn’t consider applying. It’s not a “barrier”, any more than an inability to write programming code is a “barrier” in IT. It’s merely a job requirement, and a would-be candidate can resolve that issue for themselves by acquiring that skill. Why is Rhiannon Pasmore singling out the Welsh language here?

Che Guevara's Fist
Che Guevara's Fist
15 days ago

It’s very difficult for people to get a job in the UK if they can’t speak a word of English. And not a word of concern from the colonialist collaborators can be heard.

But as soon as Welsh is a requirement for a job in Wales…

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