Welsh Language Rights Day
Since November 2022, each of the four members of the data team here in the Education Workforce Council (EWC) are Welsh speakers. This is the first time, since our inception, that we've had a fully bilingual team. At the EWC, about 30% of our staff are Welsh speakers, with 40% declaring some level of Welsh.
Providing a Welsh service to our registrants is essential to us as an organisation. According to our Annual Education Workforce Statistics for Wales 2022, nearly a quarter of our registrants are Welsh speakers, and nearly 20% are able to work through the medium of Welsh. We have a number of external facing teams who deal with the public from day to day, over the phone, via email and face to face.
Even though the data team isn't a front-facing team, dealing with the public, the Welsh language is very important to the team.
Nia Griffith, Data Manager said "It's really important for me to be able to use Welsh as part of my job. Even though we deal with data mainly, it's important to understand the context of what we discuss, and the Welsh language is a big part of that. Understanding when, how, why, and where the language changes, and how that is reflected in the data."
Three of the four come from north Wales, but now live in Cardiff. All four say how important Welsh is as a language in work, as well as at home. Dafydd Jones, Data Officer: "The language means a lot to me. Welsh is my first language, and it's what I speak with my family." Jethro Jones, Data Officer "it means I can keep up with what happened over the weekend in Welsh with my colleagues."
But how important is using Welsh as part of their jobs? "Essential", according to Adam Williams, Data Officer "as well as being beneficial, being able to work bilingually created a more entertaining workplace for me, personally." Nia adds to this "the EWC is a workplace that uses Welsh naturally, there's a lot of Welsh spoken around the office, what with work going on and social chatting. It's not a battle to be able to converse in Welsh, it goes hand in hand with day-to-day work."
The EWC has committed to providing a bilingual service of the highest standard to the public. Even though the data team don't interact with the public directly on a day-to-day basis, they do contribute to the phone service by answering calls. They also set the standard of good practice of how, having Welsh speakers is beneficial to an effective team.
According to Dafydd "Since all members of the team are bilingual, we can discuss work in Welsh", and Nia "We are in a lovely situation where all members of the team are bilingual, so we can hold team meetings as well as communicate and work fully through the medium of Welsh."
Ensuring staff have opportunities to use the Welsh language in their daily work is equally as important to the organisation as providing the highest quality bilingual services to the public. As Nia says "providing a bilingual service to the public is important to the EWC. Each team in the EWC has at least one Welsh speaker, and so we can provide this important service." And according to Adam "the organisation has committed to providing a comprehensive bilingual service to the public - something that is beneficial to the staff as well as the public."
You can contact the EWC in Welsh or English, over the phone, via e-mail, and on our social media platforms. We look forward to hearing from you.