Cymraeg at CITB
This St David’s Day, we are putting a spotlight on CITB’s commitment to supporting the Welsh language.
St David’s Day is a celebration of Welsh culture, heritage and the arts; a day of parades, concerts and eisteddfodau (festivals of music, language and culture). Flags are flown. The national anthem is sung with extra zeal. And daffodils or leeks are proudly pinned to lapels.
The Welsh language was spoken in Britain before Roman occupation and, believe it or not, is one of ten languages indigenous to the British Isles still spoken today. The language flourished in the mediaeval era, but its use was banned following Henry VIII’s Act of Union.
After years of discrimination, the Welsh Language Act 1967 allowed people to use the Welsh language in legal proceedings in Wales. It was updated in 1993 to give the Welsh and English languages equal status in public life in Wales.
At CITB, we are proud to embrace a bilingual environment. Not only do we ensure both languages are treated equally, but we actively promote and encourage the use of Welsh.
Both the CITB and Go Construct (Am Adeiladu) websites are bilingual, all National Occupational Standards (NOS) are translated and published bilingually, and customers can complete their Levy Returns in Welsh.
All our Welsh customers and stakeholders can access our support and products in their native Welsh language. All correspondence is sent out bilingually in Wales, including surveys, newsletters, press releases and more.
This is made possible by our dedicated, fiercely passionate CITB Cymru team. 40% of the team speak Welsh, with a further 40% learning the language.
This means employers, colleges, and local and national Welsh Government representatives can contact their local CITB Engagement Advisors in Welsh.
Welsh Language Scheme 2023
We are going one step further with our newly launched Welsh Language Scheme.
The Scheme outlines our commitment to allow everyone who receives a service from CITB, or communicates with us, to do so through the medium of Welsh or English, depending on their personal choice.
This builds on our existing proactive work, such as representing Welsh on social media, which has resulted in some impressive results. Bilingual or Welsh-only social media posts garnered 116,000 views in 2022, including our employer network announcement for South West Wales.
Additionally, we are making the Managers and Professionals HS&E Tests available in Welsh for the first time. Meanwhile the CITB Cymru newsletter reaches an ever-larger audience, letting our stakeholders know what is happening in their local area, in Welsh and English.
Moving forward, we are making sure any new CITB initiatives are consistent with the Scheme and encourage the opportunity to offer bilingual services.
This includes CITB platforms such as the Shop, Jobs Portal, E-courses Learning Progress and others which we will seek to make bilingual. We will also ensure communications in Wales will be published simultaneously in both languages across all platforms.
Why is this important?
538,000 people speak Welsh, just under 18% of the population of Wales aged three or older. The Welsh language is more than just words, it’s an integral part of Welsh culture.
Offering bilingual services demonstrates our commitment to treating everyone fairly, equally and providing a positive customer experience. The Welsh language isn’t, and mustn’t be viewed as, an ‘add on.’
Not only does being bilingual improve accessibility, but it’s good for business, too. Penrhyndeudraeth-based TIR Construction Ltd are reaping the benefits of employing Welsh-speaking employees and apprentices.
“Having employees who speak Welsh is very advantageous to our business and employing apprentices has also helped our company to secure contracts,” said company director Tania Edwards.
“We do a lot of work for clients in North West Wales who prefer to communicate in Welsh, so it’s important that our apprentices have the opportunity to do their apprenticeships bilingually or totally in the Welsh language if they prefer.”
The Welsh language is embraced and spoken at home, in the workplace, in the community and at CITB. There’s still work to be done, but our new Scheme ensures that supporting the Welsh language is at the heart of all that we do in Wales.
We are committed to supporting the Welsh Government’s plan to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050, and through raising awareness and promoting bilingualism, this number may be reached even sooner.
And finally, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (Happy St David's Day)!