Welsh language will not succeed in business on ‘good will alone’

Published on Tuesday, 01 February 2011 12:06
Posted by Scott Buckler

The Cross-Party Enterprise and Learning Committee is calling on the Welsh Government to capitalise on positive attitudes towards the Welsh language to ensure that it prospers in the workplace and is used to enhance services to the consumer

The inquiry found that while various bodies have developed initiatives for promoting the use of Welsh, not enough has been done to measure the success or evaluate tangible outcomes.

The Committee also notes that many young people leaving school with strong Welsh language skills are rarely given the opportunity to use those linguistic skills in higher education and employment and that there needs to be a planned transition between those stages in people’s lives.

The report states that many language policies implemented by businesses have often been produced by staff on a voluntary basis. Although the Committee commended this approach, it says that the language cannot rely on good will alone to thrive.

The Committee is also concerned by evidence which stated that some organisations were unaware of the linguistic skills available in their workforce. It wants more to be done to ensure that private and public sector bodies utilise and enhance the Welsh language skills of their staff.

Chair of the Committee , Gareth Jones AM, said: We are encouraged by the many innovative examples of how staff can be encouraged to use Welsh both in the workplace and with their external clients.“But we also found that the promotion and development of strategies to encourage use of the language in the commercial sector is uncoordinated.

“Our report makes a range of recommendations for the Welsh Government to take forward, either through the Welsh Language Board or the Welsh Language Commissioner.

“In order for the Welsh language to thrive, the public and private sector need to value Welsh as a work-related skill”

The report makes several recommendations including:

  •     that the Welsh Government commissions research into the specific factors that affect the confidence of non-fluent Welsh speaking consumers to use Welsh when engaging with public and private sector organisations;
  •     that the Welsh Government commissions further research and collates data on the usage of and attitudes towards the Welsh language by young people going into employment in order to inform policy development;
  •     that the Welsh Government commissions research into the benefits that financial institutions have found in providing a bilingual service to their customers, and explore ways in which this good practice can be promoted to other customer service organisations in the private sector;
  •     that the Welsh Government collaborates with businesses and consumers to develop guidance on innovative approaches to promotion of the Welsh language in the workplace and in businesses and seek regular feedback from consumers on its effectiveness.
  •     that the Welsh Government works with its partners to ensure that there is a coherent pathway from schools through to training and employment for pupils who wish to use their Welsh language skills in the workplace.

Source: ©Wales Assembly

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