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Calls for Investment in Welsh Medium Vocational Courses

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Throughout the week at the Urdd Eisteddfod, the Welsh Language Commissioner has been discussing the importance of the Welsh language as a useful skill for employment.

Asking children and young people about the kind of jobs they want to do after leaving school, it became evident that many wish to work in vocational areas, with care, construction, and hair and beauty being the most popular.

The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said:

“If we are to create a Wales where people can live their lives through the medium of Welsh and where the language is a central and natural part of life, there is a need to ensure that the education system as a whole prepares the workforce and the linguistic skills to provide bilingual services.

“One part of the education jigsaw that appears to have received less attention than others over the years is the range of choices available in post-16 education. Further education is a vital part of the educational journey, and of the wider economy. The colleges are rooted in our communities and they present a range of courses – from the academic to the vocational, from college to the workplace, and from adult learning to higher education.

“However, there is a gap in the Welsh language provision in FE colleges, and in vocational courses in particular. This should be addressed as a matter of urgency, so that students with have the skills to serve their communities with the necessary skills.”

Iestyn Davies, Chief Executive of Colleges Wales, said:
“We welcome the Commissioner’s message about the importance of the Welsh language as an employability skill this week. As a sector representing 131,000 students in Wales, we are working hard to ensure that students have the opportunity to continue with their Welsh medium learning as they prepare for differnt careers. With two thirds of young people aged 16-19 attending oned of the 12 FE colleges in Wales, the role of further education is key in providing education, training and skills which are compatible with the workforce’s needs.
“As we work together as a nation to reach the Welsh Government’s target of 1 million Welsh speakers by 2050 we want to see a constant increase in the Welsh language provision for our students.
“To support this increase, we need investment, but there is also a need for partnering with Welsh-medium organisations, schools and universities and, more importantly, include the need for Welsh language skills in teacher training courses.”