Social Care Workforce Development: Welsh in Social Care work
Welsh language and culture
- Welsh is a living language – in work, in school, at home and in our Communities.
- The Welsh language is used by 1 in 5 of the population of Wales. Over 26% of the population of Denbighshire speak Welsh.
The importance of language in care
Language choice is crucial for good quality care:
"It's important that people working in social services and social care recognise that many people can only communicate their care needs effectively through the medium of Welsh.
For many Welsh speakers being able to use your own language has to be seen as a core component of care, not an optional extra."
To deliver a service which meets people's individual needs and respects their diversity, services must be able to support Welsh language and culture and be able to communicate with people whose first language is Welsh. It is important to recognise that:
- People are better able to express their views and needs in their language of choice.
- Language is an essential part of a person’s identity - responding sensitively to language, whilst focusing on the individual, is an essential principle of maintaining dignity and respect.
- to provide high quality care, there has to be an appreciation that language is a matter of need.
Welsh language policy and legislation
Recent legislation regarding the Welsh language and developments in language policy in Wales requires health and social care providers to ensure that they have appropriate and adequate staffing arrangements in place to provide bilingual Welsh and English services for people who use their services.
The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 established the post of Welsh Language Commissioner (external website).
Two principles underpin the Welsh Language Commissioner's work:
- In Wales, the Welsh language should be treated no less favourably than the English language
- individuals in Wales should be able to live their lives through the medium of the Welsh language if they wish to
"More than Just words" (2013) (external website) introduced standards to explain how organisations are expected to use the Welsh Language in Health and Social Care (2013) its aims are:
- to ensure that the language needs of Welsh speakers are met
- to provide Welsh language services for those who need it
- to demonstrate that language plays an important part in the quality of care and isn’t seen as an “add-on”.
The 'Active offer' simply means providing a service in Welsh without someone having to ask for it. The Active Offer means a Welsh language service should be as available to users as the English language. To not actively offer Welsh language services may result in people’s dignity and respect being compromised.
Find out how Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) are looking at and reporting (external website) if a Care service is providing the Welsh language 'Active Offer'.
Using Welsh in care
Recognising that the ability to speak Welsh is a skill of its own, which should be valued and used in a positive manner in the workplace will ensure that it is seen as a professional skill.
Find out why it’s important to use Welsh at work (external website) and what Social Care Wales are doing to promote the use of the Welsh language within the social care sector.
Developing Welsh language skills
Social Care Wales has partnered with the National Centre for Learning Welsh on Work Welsh. This is a national programme to help more social care workers learn Welsh, so you can communicate more comfortably and effectively with the people you care for, in their language of choice.
There are different levels and methods of learning available across Denbighshire (classroom, online, blended) and the National Centre for Learning Welsh advertises the range of courses available and the opportunities to practise your Welsh online (external website) and in social situations.
Resources to support all learners
Here you will find various resources to encourage, assist and support staff to use their Welsh language in the workplace.
Additional Welsh language resources
Parallel.Cymru (external website) provides details of various courses to learn Welsh, including using Duolingo and 'Say something in Welsh'. The website also notes details of opportunities to practise Welsh to include listening to podcasts, S4C programmes, Radio Cymru together with books and magazines specific for learners.
Promoting and facilitating the use of Welsh
You may have seen people wearing orange speech bubble badges. This shows that service is available through the medium of Welsh. Worn on a badge or lanyard, the badge is called Iaith Gwaith (translated: 'Working Welsh') because people normally wear the badge at work. If you would like to order free ‘Iaith Gwaith’ badges, lanyards, posters or stickers for staff who can speak Welsh in your organisation, please contact the Welsh Language Commissioner (external website).
Dysgu Cymraeg? If you're learning Welsh you can order resources specifically for Welsh learners by contacting the National Centre for Learning Welsh (external website).
Menter Iaith Sir Dinbych
The role of the Menter iaith (Welsh initiatives) (external website) is to raise awareness of the Welsh language and culture, by encouraging people to develop their knowledge and use of the language and be able to practice their language skills in a friendly and social environment in the community.
Banners to educate people about the various events we celebrate in Wales (for example, eg St David’s Day, Owain Glyndwr, St Dwynwen’s Day) are available on the Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych website.
Helo Blod (external website) is a free translation and text checking service.