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Health board celebrates success of Welsh language programme

1 March 2024

The success of a new role introduced by Hywel Dda University Health Board (UHB) to increase staff’s Welsh language skills and confidence is being celebrated this St David’s Day.

The Confidence Building Officer role, funded by the National Centre for Learning Welsh, was introduced in 2023 as part of the Work Welsh scheme to provide a series of short confidence building courses for staff.

The series of courses have been very successful with 121 members of staff attending during the past year from a broad spectrum of fields including nurses, telephone handlers, apprentices, consultants, mental health professionals, administrative staff and many more.

Enfys Williams, Welsh Language Services Manager for Hywel Dda UHB said: "As a health board we recognise the importance of the Welsh language in the workplace for our staff and service users. Our workforce language skills data shows that there is a significant percentage of Welsh speakers working for the health board, however, following previous feedback it is clear that many feel that a lack of confidence is holding them back.

"Through this new role, we have been able to provide staff with confidence building courses, the purpose of which is to change linguistic habits and improve confidence, so our staff are more likely to use their Welsh to communicate with others and complete their tasks in the workplace through the medium of Welsh.”

Following positive feedback and success over 2023, the health board is pleased to confirm the full-time confidence building officer role (employed by Learn Welsh provider, Aberystwyth University) will be continuing their work with the health board for a further 12 months.

The aim is to offer short confidence building courses and work with individuals to change their use of the Welsh with patients. The series of confidence building courses will be open to all health board staff with particular emphasis on staff who have direct contact with patients, such as school nurses, apprentices, porters and staff working in the dementia field.