Report on the Welsh language skills needs of employers welcomed
The publication of a new report which provides a valuable insight into the current and future Welsh language skills needs of employers in Wales, has been welcomed by First Minister, Carwyn Jones, and Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates
Commissioned by the Welsh Government, the report is based on the findings of a survey of over 4,000 employers across Wales in eight key sectors - Childcare, Social care, Creative industries, Financial and professional services, Retail, Construction, Hospitality and Agrifood.
The findings provide the Welsh Government with an understanding of the current and future Welsh language skills needs of employers in Wales. The information will be used to ensure there are sufficient people in the workforce able to meet Welsh language demand and that employers are aware of the benefits of the Welsh language and promoting this wherever possible.
The survey found that in general there was a positive attitude from employers towards the Welsh language, with 66% of those surveyed saying they already employ staff with Welsh language skills.
While it found that very few employers reported difficulties in filling posts that required Welsh language skills, the majority of employers said they had never sought Welsh language training opportunities for their employees.
It also showed vast difference in attitudes both regionally and in different sectors, with employers in North Wales and those within childcare most likely to feel Welsh language skills are important.
The First Minister said:
"We know that the link between the economy and the language is a key element in securing the language’s future and the findings of this survey will help inform both the support we provide for businesses and future employees.
"We want people to be able to live their day-to-day lives in Welsh and to achieve this we must have people in the workforce who are confident in using their Welsh. We will use the survey’s findings to help us plan post-16 training accordingly, for example providing more apprenticeships through the medium of Welsh so that young people can continue their training in Welsh in preparation for working life.
"We will also continue to work with employers to promote the advantages of the language to the companies themselves, as well as their customers and staff. Currently there are not enough opportunities for employees to use or learn Welsh, this is something we have to change. Welsh language is a valuable skill and specific language training relevant to the workplace should be encouraged."
Deputy Minister for Skills and Technology, Ken Skates said:
"It’s vital that we make our employers aware of the benefits of Welsh in the workplace and also make it as easy possible for people to use Welsh in their day-to-day working lives – whatever their ability.
"We are taking practical steps to try and address this through our Policy Statement on Skills – a new 10 year plan to create a more highly-skilled Wales. As part of this, we want to introduce a new Skills Gateway which will support employers to identify and take action on the skills of their workforce, for example highlighting the potential business benefits associated with Welsh language skills.
"We are currently consulting on how the Welsh Government and employers co-invest in skills development. This could mean, for example, changing the level of investment needed from an employer if a qualification is seen to have a positive impact on the use of Welsh. The consultation closes on 16th May.
"I would encourage everyone with an interest in skills delivery and the Welsh language to take part in the consultation. Their views are crucial if we’re to develop a sustainable, effective and practical approach to promoting Welsh in the workplace."
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