Young Welsh speakers see the language as a boost to career prospects – new report
New research shows that Welsh speakers between the ages of 16-18 see the language as beneficial for their careers and that opportunities to study in Welsh are very important to them.
A large majority of learners in schools and further education colleges also described their experience of Welsh-medium or bilingual education as good or very good.
The research, conducted by the Welsh Language Commissioner, shows that over 90% of those questioned are proud to be able to speak Welsh and over 80% feel that the Welsh language will help them secure jobs in the future.
But the figure falls to just under 60% w2hen asked if they feel confident that they will use the Welsh language in their careers?
Over 1,000 young people participated in the research, which also highlights differences between school and college learners, in terms of their perception of their ability in the Welsh language, the language medium of their education and their attitudes towards the importance of the Welsh language.
The main reasons learners cited for not choosing to study subjects through the medium of Welsh was the perception their English language skills were stronger and that studying through the medium of English was easier for them; that a subject (or subjects) were not available in Welsh; that their further studies were likely to be in English or that there were better study prospects in English.
Of the Welsh speakers who intend to continue their education after leaving school or college, only 40% said they intend to stay in Wales.
For Welsh speakers who intend to continue studying here, the opportunity to study in Welsh or bilingually was an important factor in choosing their next place of study.
Welsh Language Commissioner Efa Gruffudd Jones said: “This research, with a substantial number of young learners responding, clearly shows the importance of the Welsh language for learners in Wales.
“The vast majority are proud to be able to speak the language and note that opportunities to study through the medium of Welsh are important when choosing where to study, as well as opportunities to use the Welsh language as part of everyday life at school or college and with their friends.
“However, further consideration needs to be given to learners’ reasons for not choosing to study subjects through the medium of Welsh and it is worrying to note the difference between the availability of courses through the medium of Welsh in our colleges compared to our schools.
“The Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol is making substantial efforts to address the improvement of Welsh language provision in the further education colleges, but there is also a need to reinforce the key provision that exists in Welsh-medium and bilingual schools.”
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