An award-winning community interest company in West Wales which supports adults with learning disabilities and those in recovery from mental unwellness is working towards providing a bilingual service.
Clynfyw Care Farm at Abercych, near Boncath, employs 40 full and part-time staff who support 10 people living in supported tenancy cottages and 20 other service users from Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion.
Many of the staff are fluent Welsh speakers whilst others are learning the language.
Most of them have completed apprenticeships to ensure that they have a good knowledge of Health and Social Care legislation.
Apprenticeships from Levels 2 to 5 in Health and Social Care Practice, Core and Leadership and Management are delivered bilingually, when requested by apprentices, by PRP Training Ltd based in Pembroke Dock.
The company currently has three apprentices, including Cerys Fletcher who has joined the management team after progressing to a bilingual Higher Apprenticeship Level 4 in Leadership and Management in Health and Social Care.
Cerys is following in the footsteps of manager Sheila Morgan who also completed her Higher Apprenticeship Level 5 in Leadership and Management bilingually.
Apprenticeships are a wonderful resource and it’s important that all our staff understand the legislation relating to people’s rights and support our service users to get the best from them.
The Welsh language is part of our culture. Although not all our staff speak Welsh, we do try, wherever possible, to communicate with service users in their preferred language.
Clynfyw Care Farm is being highlighted by Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol and the National Training Federation of Wales (NTfW) as a champion of bilingualism in the workplace.
Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol leads the development of Welsh medium and bilingual education and training in the post-compulsory sector in Wales whilst the NTfW represents work-based learning providers across Wales.
Clynfyw Care Farm offers therapeutic day services to vulnerable and marginalised people including those with learning disabilities, mental health issues, domestic abuse victims, veterans struggling with life after being in the forces and other excluded groups.
In addition, the company supports community regeneration with a focus on resilience in the face of the climate crisis. As well as supporting 10 people living in Clynfyw Farm Cottages, the company also manages the Kinora mental health recovery centre in Cardigan and the Repair Cafe in Crymych.
In 2019, the company was named the Best Rural Diversification Project in Wales and Northern Ireland in the Rural Business Awards and followed up with a Queen’s Award for Enterprise (Sustainable Development) in 2020.
Dirk Kowohl, PRP Training Ltd’s quality assurance lead for health and social care and the company’s Welsh language ambassador, is full of admiration for Clynfyw Care Farm.
The link between staff and service users at Clynfyw is fantastic. It’s like one big family. They have a very unique and holistic approach to life and provide learning opportunities for staff and service users. Everything they do is service user oriented.
Ryan Evans, the NTfW’s bilingual champion, said:
Many workplaces are becoming more bilingual, which can be very beneficial to employers, especially when providing services to Welsh speaking customers.
Completing an apprenticeship bilingually or in Welsh can increase an individual’s confidence to work in both languages and their employability, whilst also being a great asset to their employer.
Clynfyw Care Farm is an excellent role model for apprenticeships, highlighting the benefits of learning and working bilingually in the workplace.
Dr Dafydd Trystan, from the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said:
Highlighting successful employers who are active in the apprenticeship sector is a vital tool in showing businesses and individuals that it is both possible and advantageous to support bilingual apprentices.
With the Welsh Government’s target to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050, it has never been more important for employers and their employees to develop their bilingual skills to increase their business and employability prospects respectively.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
To find out more about apprenticeship opportunities go to Careers Wales www.careerswales.gov.wales/apprenticeships or telephone 0800 028 4844.