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Wales Institute for Work-based Learning / Athrofa Cymru ar gyfer Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith

Dysgu hyblyg a chefnogol / Supportive, flexible learning

Silver and Gold

In this blog for National Mentoring Day 2017, one of our students, Mark Cutliffe, considers the importance of listening. Mark is currently a student on GWLAD’s Coaching and Mentoring module studying towards a Masters in Professional Practice. Following many years working with his own businesses and local charities he is seeking to develop coaching and mentoring practices in order to help others. Mark is creative and involved with a number of projects currently such as, ‘One Heart Drummers’ an organisation that provides drum circle experiences and team building sessions, as a trustee at the St Madoc Centre on Gower and supporting many local organisations. Along with studying at the University, Mark is exploring the relationship between creativity, the natural world and coaching and mentoring to evaluate the benefits of various combinations and develop interlinking projects.


A Turkish proverb says, “If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” Many days of my life are spent working with people and I think it’s fair to say, there is a lot of silver! But what if we chose gold? How would our world look if we really started to listen to each other? Not just hearing the sound that can be produced, especially from those with megaphone mouths, but really listening to the words, the heart, the passions and stories that people carry?

Even in war, jamming communications is a valid tactic to wreck an enemies attempts to advance men, machinery and co-ordinate attacks. Yet today we so often allow a hundred and one incursions into our communication lines, even though our modern technological world has more means than ever to keep in contact. We ask, ‘What is wrong with the world?’ But could at least a part of the answer be, that nobody is listening properly?

Meanwhile, the whole world is shouting. It can appear that those who shout loudest often get heard however those who are shouting loudest sometimes have the least to say. Advertising is designed to grab your attention, whether that is on packaging, shop fronts or TV and radio ads. Everything is aimed at being catchy and stick in your head while a walk through a supermarket is like an assault on your eyes and minds.

Years ago I went into a music-less pub and had to leave after ten minutes as the alcohol-fuelled conversations got louder and louder as everyone was competing to be heard. My brain felt scrambled and on reflection, our hectic world does nothing to aid anything more than superficial thought and conversations at a deeper level. We tread water relationally attempting to carve out times to connect. Surely it should be the other way around and out of those deeper connections, the rest of our world should flow?

Thoreau wrote, “The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.” How would our closest relationships look if we listened more? Our friendships, work situations and society? Just to throw in a juxtaposed question, what if they also listened back?

What would it do in our own hearts if we felt really listened to? For a start, we wouldn’t have to work so hard to get our point across. How would it affect our life if those who have some level of power over us had the heart and time to hear and really listened? In a world where we can instantly speak to someone on the other side of the world, how can it be that an elderly man down the road can feel so lonely and a person feel alone in a crowded room?

Some time ago, I sat a bus stop and with fifteen minutes before a bus was due, though it would be nice to actually try and communicate with another human rather than heading into a my-twit-face media cocoon on my mobile. I choked out a ‘hello’, that’s all, to an elderly gent. What proceeded was a gently spoken yet profound conversation about the horrors that he had seen in the Second World War. What he told me, still sits in my mind. A hero? Sure, but one who carries a story without many people to tell that story too.

I think I would like more gold in my life! I recently had a great session at the business campus with a focus on listening skills and that got me thinking, plotting. I intend to experiment with the power of listening. Maybe I can’t just change the world, but perhaps I can make a world of difference to one other person. What if we look to change ourselves, and go mining for gold? What if we can learn to listen?

Mark Cutliffe
Mentoring and Coaching Student (GWLAD)

08/10/2017

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Mindful Practice Makes Perfect

Mindfulness has had a lot of coverage in the media over the past few years.  For a meditative practice, with its roots in Buddhism, it is interesting to consider where the practice has found its place in the 21st century.  From the NHS to schools, universities and heavy industry, more and more people are trying it out and finding that it can, indeed, be beneficial for our physical, emotional and mental health.

So what is mindfulness?  It is about being awake in the present moment, instead of living our lives on automatic pilot.  We spend a lot of our time either reliving or pre-living our lives in the theatre of the mind, focusing on what has happened already and what might happen next.  The practice of mindfulness enables us to bring ourselves back into the moment, once we have noticed that our mind has wandered.

The body is a great way of managing our minds, which might sound a little strange.  In mindfulness, when we notice our mind has wandered, we come back to the present by bringing our attention to the breath, and the body.  Wherever our minds may go, our bodies can only ever be in the present moment.  Yet mindfulness is not only attention training, we practice with a quality of kindness to ourselves, rather than harshly judging ourselves – which may be our usual approach!

Here are a couple of exercises to try, if you feel so inclined.

Coming Home to the Body

If you notice you feel off-centre, or ‘frazzled’, try this short exercise.

Bring your attention to the contact between your feet and the floor.  Really feel the sensation of connection or pressure, or if there you have no sense of this, notice that instead – an absence of sensation.  If you are sitting down, bring your attention to the sensations of contact between your thighs and buttocks and the seat of the chair as well, just noticing, without judging in any way.

Now bring your attention to the breath.  Simply noticing the breath as it enters the body, travels to the lungs, and the slight rise in the trunk as you do this.  Following the breath as it leaves the body, in the same way.  There is no need to breathe in any special way, just let the breath breathe itself.

And every time the mind wanders, just bring it back to where you want it to be, with a quality of kindness.

Mindful Eating

You can practice mindfulness by bringing attention to the food you eat.  Perhaps choose a snack, a piece of fruit – or chocolate – and bring your full attention to the taste, the smell, the texture and anything else you notice.  And when your mind wanders, just bring it back to your snack!

Mindfulness in the Workplace

Join GWLAD for our work-based learning programme that looks at the research surrounding Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy, and the impact on personal, professional and organisational well-being.

“I decided to join the Mindfulness in the Workplace course because work-related stress has been one the greatest challenges I have faced. My whole leadership style has changed as a result of the course, resulting in more effective ways of working and better team morale. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve the effectiveness of their workplace, as well as the quality of their own working life.” Dawn Smith, Managing Director, The Final Word

Mindfulness in the Workplace is one of many modules offered under the GWLAD Project. Through GWLAD, businesses and not-for-profit organisations in South West Wales can access up to 70% funding towards staff development courses and programmes, which are designed to be flexible, develop employee skills and improve organisational performance. Funding is only available for a limited time, so contact GWLAD today for further information and to start making a difference to you, your workforce and your organisation.

If you would like to find out how GWLAD can make a difference to your business, please contact a member of our friendly team on 01267 225167, drop us an email via gwlad@uwtsd.ac.uk, or take a look at our website or Facebook page. Alternatively, why not pop along to one of our free and informal ‘taster sessions’, where you can meet the team, chat to our knowledgeable tutors and get a taste of how our courses can develop your skills and organisational performance.

On Twitter? Follow GWLAD (@UWTSD_GWLAD) for all the latest news and updates.

GWLAD is led by the Wales Institute for Work-based Learning at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Mentoring and Coaching for your Business

Mentoring and coaching have enjoyed increasing popularity in the last few decades, largely due to the changing nature of organisational environments and the need for a responsive management that keeps pace with global changes. Organisations are moving from bureaucratic, centrally driven entities to more collaborative and collegial units, dependent on versatility and softer skills of engagement. It is also increasingly recognised that organisations grow through the vision and creativity of the people who work in them and that human beings learn from and through each other. Furthermore, the relatively low cost and flexibility of mentoring and coaching make it a particularly appropriate tool during difficult or uncertain economic times. With BREXIT on the horizon, opportunities exist for your business to exploit local talent to make a statement on the wider global platform.

Mentoring and coaching are seen to be structured developmental processes that begin with conversations around personal strengths and positive self-definition, with the aim of enhancing an individual’s skills, knowledge and work performance. They engage with and utilise human contact to explore possibilities and expand horizons, and are premised on the assumption that most people can learn provided they are facilitated to do so in ways that deploy their preferred learning styles. At GWLAD, we see mentoring and coaching as essential avenues for helping organisations to grow their workforce whilst enhancing what is treasured locally.

Individual desire for self-advancement is the most invigorating of human instincts and yet it is often curtailed by limiting self-beliefs anchored in doubt, half-truths about what advancement represents and sometimes even erroneous beliefs about where and how higher education might be attained. Raising beyond the limitations of established myths requires the intervention of challenging conversations that create new possibilities in one’s mind. Isaac Newton is said to have credited his phenomenal exploits and achievements in science to the shoulders of giants upon whom he stood. One could call Newton’s giants forerunners, mentors or coaches. How the men and women who motivate and cause others to overcome barriers to learning are named is not as important as the function they served. We all need somebody or something whose example, comments or conversations challenge our contentment with current or fixed perceptions of reality. Today, for example, we need to explore how our vibrant business community in Wales can take advantage of the sharp bends occasioned by BREXIT to reach new markets. Could Brexit be the opening of new horizons?

Mentoring and coaching achieve their intended purpose where mechanisms for supporting mentors and coaches including professional training and structural arrangements are in place. Mentoring and Coaching is one of many modules offered under the GWLAD Project. Through GWLAD, businesses and not-for-profit organisations in South West Wales can access up to 60% funding towards staff development courses and programmes, which are designed to be flexible, develop employee skills and improve organisational performance. Funding is only available for a limited time, so contact GWLAD today for further information and to start making a difference to you, your workforce and your organisation.

The GWLAD Project is led by The Wales Institute of Work-based Learning (WIWBL) at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and is supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Delivering positive change to businesses across South Wales

The GWLAD (Growing Workforces through Learning and Development) Project, launched in May 2016, is a project through which businesses and not-for-profit organisations across Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea can access practical, flexible and achievable staff development courses and programmes, with subsidies of up to 70% available to assist with the cost.

The Project has already engaged with over 60 individual businesses across the region, ranging from sole traders to large enterprises, delivering a range of modules such as Leadership, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Mindfulness, Sustainability and much more. Modules can be undertaken on their own or can build towards an overall qualification in Professional Practice, such as a Certificate in Higher Education or Postgraduate Diploma. Through the GWLAD Project learners can also claim University credits for prior learning and experience, which also makes it a great option for individuals who have lots of experience in their field of work and would like to utilise this to build towards a formal qualification.

All programmes are highly flexible and designed to meet the needs of the business and employee, and developed with a view to the learner developing or implementing a process or procedure that leads to a positive change in the workplace. In addition to the suite of modules offered through the Project, GWLAD can also collaborate with businesses to develop bespoke industry-specific programmes and pathways. Coastal Housing, Castell Howell, Tata Steel and Fieldbay Ltd are examples of organisations currently benefiting from GWLAD’s bespoke training programmes.  The leadership programmes have led to two awards for Fieldbay, from the CIPD and the Universities Association for Lifelong Learning (UALL).

“Working with GWLAD and the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is reaping massive benefits for Fieldbay, as we are able to develop modules to meet our individual business needs and it has enabled us to implement Higher Education learning in the workplace”. Paula Lewis, Group Senior Nurse – Fieldbay Ltd

Employers have already reported the positive impact that they have seen since engaging with the Project – but you don’t have to take our word for it – check out our YouTube channel (Wales Institute for Work Based Learning) to see testimonials from some of our learners and employers, and to hear from our experienced tutors about the courses on offer.

“We are delighted to work with the GWLAD Project at UWTSD and are already benefitting from the Leadership and Management programme. We have seen an improvement in the essential skills of participants on the GWLAD Project, resulting in measurable benefits to us. At Castell Howell we value our staff immensely and the Project offers them the opportunity to develop and learn new skills, accept responsibility and provide them with the confidence and ability to meet modern day challenges.” Mike Davies, HR Director – Castell Howell

Undertaking the programmes naturally requires the commitment of both the organisation and the individual. There are many forms of support available to our learners, including one to one tutorials with mentor tutors, resources to assist in developing study skills and guidance through the process of writing and undertaking assessments.

If you would like to find out how GWLAD can make a difference to your business, please contact a member of our friendly team on 01267 225167, drop us an email via gwlad@uwtsd.ac.uk, or take a look at our website or Facebook page. Alternatively, why not pop along to one of our free and informal ‘taster sessions’, where you can meet the team, chat to our knowledgeable tutors and get a taste of how our courses can develop your skills and organisational performance.

On Twitter? Follow GWLAD (@UWTSD_GWLAD) for all the latest news and updates.

GWLAD is led by the Wales Institute for Work-based Learning at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

Online Technology to support research

Before Christmas, I delivered a webinar for the Researcher Development Programme at UWTSD on the subject of online technology which can help researchers. There are a wide range of web-based applications which can support many aspects of research as well as aiding communication and collaboration. Many of these are available as ‘apps’ and hence easy to use on a range of web-enabled devices, and the majority are free to use.

 

Several online tools can be helpful for planning and reviewing, and are particularly useful for visualising information. Mind-maps are good for this sort of activity, and whilst a pencil and paper could suffice, digital forms of mind-mapping give outputs which are clear and easy to read CD_Researchand re-use. A good example of this is ‘Mindmeister’ (https://www.mindmeister.com ), especially because it allows real-time editing by one than one person, and hence provides options for collaborative activity. Offline, downloadable mind-mapping software is also available, eg. Freemind (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page . ‘Flowchart’ tools such as Gliffy (www.gliffy.com) and Diagramo (www.diagramo.com ) can also be very useful, particularly for planning logical sequences such as the paragraphs in a literature review or thesis.

Many online tools have ‘social’ aspects allowing for sharing of information, and one such is ‘social bookmarking’ which allows individuals to collate and tag useful web-pages. Tags are searchable (if made publicly available), and hence useful resources can easily be shared and located. One current example of this type of tool is Diigo (https://www.diigo.com ). Social media in general can be very useful for research, and applications such as Facebook and Twitter give opportunities to ‘follow’ experts, share knowledge, promote research, and receive feedback from peers.

Referencing is an important issue for anyone aiming to write research articles, theses, or academic essays. Many academic institutions promote specific applications such as ‘Refworks’, but there are also free online tools that can be very helpful. One example is ‘Mendeley’ (https://www.mendeley.com). This provides an online store of articles, reports etc, and because of its ‘social’ nature, there are options to locate similar sources. Perhaps most useful, though, is its referencing plug-in for Word which seems to have a wider range of referencing styles than Word itself, and easier editing options.

Another set of online tools relates to the use of surveys, a quantitative research method that is common in the social sciences. These tools can be useful because they allow anonymity of response, and ease of analysis. Examples of online survey tools include Surveymonkey (https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/ ) and Google forms (https://support.google.com/docs/answer/87809?hl=en).

Survey websites such as SurveyMonkey also contain other tools such as sample size estimators, and a good example of this sort of tool can be found at: http://www.raosoft.com/samplesize.html. This is particularly useful if you are dealing in % values, and allows adjustment of population size (a lot of other calculators just assume a very large population).

You can view a power-point presentation which covers more information and tools at: http://www.slideshare.net/cpdavies1/information-technology-to-support-research , and a there is also a YouTube video available of the complete webinar at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8lYyZ9jRUY

By Dr. Christine Davies, 9th February 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gwobrau Cynnal Cymru

Mae Athrofa Cymru ar gyfer Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith, Prifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant, ar restr fer Gwobrau Cynnal Cymru/Sustain Wales 2016 yn y categori Sefydliad AB/AU Cynaliadwy. Yn eu hail flwyddyn bellach, mae gwobrau Cynnal Cymru yn cydnabod cyflawniadau eithriadol sefydliadau, unigolion, cymunedau ac addysgwyr ledled Cymru sy’n ceisio cynaliadwyedd. Mae’r Athrofa ar y rhestr fer ochr yn ochr â Phrifysgol Bangor a Phrifysgol Aberystwyth yn y categori Sefydliad AB/AU Cynaliadwy, sy’n cydnabod yr ymrwymiad a wneir gan addysgwyr ôl-orfodol i ymgorffori cynaliadwyedd yn eu camau gweithredu, eu harferion a’u cwricwla bob dydd.

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Mae cynaliadwyedd wedi’i ymgorffori’n rhan annatod o ddiwylliant Prifysgol Cymru Y Drindod Dewi Sant, a oedd yn 8fed yn y DU (ac yn 1af yng Nghymru) yn nhabl Cynghrair People and Planet 2015. Mae wedi ymgorffori cynaliadwyedd amgylcheddol, economaidd a chymdeithasol yn ei Chynllun Strategol ar gyfer 2016/2017, a derbyniodd dair Gwobr Green Gown EUAC yn 2015 a Nod Arlwyo Aur cyntaf y DU gan y Soil Association yn 2014. Hefyd mae’r Brifysgol wedi ymrwymo’n wirfoddol i ymwneud yn llawn â Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol (Cymru) 2015 a’i saith nod cynaliadwy, er nad oes gorfodaeth arni i wneud hynny. Yn seiliedig ar y diwylliant hwn o ymrwymiad sefydliadol cyffredinol i gynaliadwyedd y mae Athrofa Cymru ar gyfer Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith wedi gallu datblygu prosiect Tyfu Gweithluoedd drwy Ddysgu a Datblygu (GWLAD).

 

Mae darpariaeth ‘dysgu seiliedig ar waith’ unigryw yr Athrofa’n galluogi’r prosiect i gynnig cyrsiau israddedig ac ôl-radd i gyfranogwyr sy’n dysgu i raddau arwyddocaol iawn yn eu gwaith. Mae’r dysgu’n barhaus, yn cael ei weithredu ar unwaith, ac yn hynod adlewyrchol. Mae’r dysgwyr yn gyflogedig yn llawn amser wrth iddynt gwblhau eu haddysg, gan sicrhau mynediad i’r dysgwyr hynny sydd heb amser na gallu ariannol i adael eu gwaith i gael addysg. Drwy astudio fel rhan o’u gwaith, yn hytrach na chael addysg yn ychwanegol, a thrwy ymrwymiad rhan amser, mae’r dysgwyr yn gallu cwblhau eu hastudiaethau’n gynt, eu defnyddio’n fwy effeithiol, a hyd yn oed cael cyllid proffesiynol i’w helpu. Drwy weithio i gyfarfod y dysgwyr ble maen nhw, a helpu i ddatblygu llwybrau at ddatblygiad proffesiynol a chyflog uwch i ddysgwyr o amrywiaeth eang o gefndiroedd, mae prosiect GWLAD yr Athrofa’n helpu i feithrin cynaliadwyedd cymdeithasol ac economaidd cymunedau ledled De a Gorllewin Cymru, gan sicrhau bod gan ein ffrindiau a’n cymdogion y sgiliau sydd eu hangen ar gyfer y dyfodol.

 

Rhowch eiliad o’ch amser i ddilyn y ddolen hon os gwelwch yn dda a phleidleisio dros Athrofa Cymru ar gyfer Dysgu Seiliedig ar Waith heddiw! http://www.cynnalcymru.com/online-vote/

 

 

 

 

 

Sustain Wales Awards – Sustainable FE/HE

The Wales Institute of Work-Based Learning (WIWBL), University of Wales Trinity Saint David has been shortlisted in the 2016 Cynnal Cymru/Sustain Wales awards in the Sustainable FE/HE Institution category. Now in their second year, the Cynnal Cymru awards recognise the outstanding achievements of organisations, individuals, communities, and educators across Wales in pursuing sustainability. WIWBL has been shortlisted alongside Bangor University and Aberystwyth University in the Sustainable FE/HE Institution category, which recognises the commitments made by post-compulsory educators to embed sustainability into their actions, practices, and curricula every day.


Sustainability is deeply embedded in the culture of University of Wales Trinity Saint David, which was ranked 8th in the UK (and 1st in Wales) in the 2015 People and Planet League table, incorporates environmental, economic, and social sustainability throughout its 2016/2017 Strategic Plan, and received three 2015 EUAC Green Gown Awards and the UK’s first Gold Catering Mark from the Soil Association in 2014. The University has also made voluntary commitments to engage fully with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and its seven sustainability goals, despite no legal obligation to do so. It is from within this culture of overarching organisational commitment to sustainability that the Wales Institute for Work-Based Learning (WIWBL) has been able to develop the Growing Workforces through Learning and Development (GWLAD) project.

 

WIWBL’s unique ‘work-based learning’ delivery allows the project to offer undergraduate and postgraduate level courses to participants who draw a significant portion of their learning from work. Learning is ongoing, immediately applied, and highly reflective. Learners remain employed full-time while completing their education, opening access up to those learners who have neither the time nor the financial ability to leave work to pursue education. By studying through their work, rather than pursuing education as an additional, part-time commitment, learners are able to complete their studies more quickly, apply them more effectively, and even gain access to professional funding. By working to meet learners where they are, helping develop pathways to professional advancement and increased earning for learners from a wide range of background, WIWBL’s GWLAD Project is helping to build the social and economic sustainability of communities across South and West Wales, and ensuring that our friends and neighbours have the skills they need for the future.

Please take a moment to follow this link and vote for the Wales Institute of Work-Based Learning today! http://www.cynnalcymru.com/online-vote/

By Stephanie Meyer

GWLAD Wins Green Impact Bronze Award

On Thursday 7th of July, the GWLAD (Growing Workforces through Learning and Development) Project were honoured with receipt of a NUS Green Impact Bronze Award at a ceremony on UWTSD’s Carmarthen Campus.

Green Impact is a UK-wide programme that seeks to engage organisations in sustainable behaviour, help them to pursue social and environmental sustainability, and recognise their achievements in having a positive social and environmental impact on the local and global communities. In the 2015/2016 year, Green Impact was used by 179 organisations, ranging from NHS Trusts to Student Unions (like the National Union of Students group here at UWTSD, through whom GWLAD completed our award). More than 1,000 teams completed more than 45,000 actions ranging from conducting heating and cooling audits of buildings and improving recycling procedures to participating in community projects and reducing water consumption.

Here in GWLAD, pursuing a Bronze Award has meant everything from limiting printing in the office and making more use of video-conferencing facilities to planting trees, flowers, and veggies in our home gardens. We’ve even turned our efforts to be more sustainable into a bit of a game by introducing monthly challenges such as leaving the office lights off and going for a 15-minute daily walk, allowing everyone to have some fun with what can otherwise be challenging and sometimes frustrating changes.

If you are looking for a way to engage your own organisation with sustainability, but are unsure of where to start or overwhelmed by it all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the GWLAD recruitment team (01267 225167 or gwlad@uwtsd.ac.uk) or attend one of our GWLAD Taster Sessions – modules in Sustainability are available at Levels 4, 5, and 7, and are a great place to begin your journey!

GWLAD is led by The Wales Institute for Work-based Learning (WIWBL) of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) Group and supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

 

The Bilingual Workplace

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Helen Davies – Professional Learning Fellow

My first impression of working on the GWLAD Team (Growing Workforces through Learning and Development) project, led by the University of Wales Institute of Work-based learning (WIWBL), was that I had joined a wonderfully diverse team of people and I was immediately struck by the bilingual working environment. Many, but not all, of my new colleagues were Welsh speakers, particularly the younger team members who would converse quite naturally through the medium of Welsh. The non-Welsh speakers on the team had a refreshing desire to learn and the offer of lunchtime ‘Conversational Welsh’ sessions were snapped up.

 

My delight at such enthusiasm led to a conversation on the importance of language preservation with a colleague who had joined the team from Kenya and was fluent in both Kiswahili and Kibukusu, two of Kenya’s thirty six languages. She was instantly able to sum up my thoughts: “Your language is part of your identity. It captures a way of being that cannot be translated. If we lose a language we lose ways of expression lost to humanity forever”.

Another team member, originally from Vermont, in the north eastern region of the USA who speaks French and Sierra Leonean Krio explained her reasons for wanting to learn Welsh – “If your friends and family speak a different language, learning the language will not only help you communicate but will help give you a better understanding of their culture and their way of thinking. Having married a local man from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen, this sense of belonging is important to me.”

This is also true in business. People feel more comfortable speaking their own language, so when you start negotiating you start with a positive. Good communication skills can make sure that you have a good understanding of the customer’s needs and therefore provide a more effective service.

Bilingualism is extremely widespread. It is the norm, not the exception and we must remember this. Roughly 60%-65% of the world’s population speak at least two languages in their everyday lives. We are part of a linguistically vibrant, colourful and interesting society but we must be aware that it is predicted that only a limited number of languages will survive over the coming centuries. The good news for Wales is that Welsh is predicted to be one of these.

Much of the electronic correspondence that I now receive on a daily basis is either through the medium of Welsh or is at least bilingual. The increasing use of Welsh in the workplace proves that the language is indeed alive, kicking and continuing to evolve for the 21st century. This evolution will ensure that Welsh will not become a seductive, beautiful language, used exclusively for sharing our literature, our arts, our festivals and our great tradition of song yet no longer viable; but instead, a functional living language suited for operating effectively in the very modern Wales.

Bilingualism in itself is a fascinating subject and is just one of many modules offered under the GWLAD project which has been supported by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government. The project is currently offering subsidies of between 50% and 70% and is available to all businesses or not for profit organisations in South West Wales. For more information contact the GWLAD team on 01267 225167 or via email gwlad@uwtsd.ac.uk.

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