Cardiff and Vale College and Santander UK have joined forces to deliver a bespoke Welsh language programme for employees across the bank’s branches in Wales.
Since 2015, Santander UK has been working closely with the Welsh Language Commissioner to widen the services it offers in the Welsh language in order to better support local communities in Wales.
The CAVC For Business team is supporting Santander UK in launching a new opportunity for its employees to embrace the Welsh language and incorporate it into their services across their branch network. The College has designed and delivered the first phase of a bespoke beginners’ Welsh language programme across Santander’s branches in South Wales.
The programme is being delivered over five months through a series of face-to-face sessions where employees can learn Welsh phrases and vocabulary that relate to banking services to enable them to support customers in Welsh where beneficial. The sessions started in March this year for 22 Branch Directors and Branch Managers who also now have access to a newly developed online training tool to support their learning and encourage Welsh to be spoken in their branches. The sessions will continue throughout the summer.
Luke Davies, Business Development Manager at Cardiff and Vale College said: “We are delighted to work with Santander UK on this project. It’s enormously satisfying to hear that this bespoke training is having an immediate positive impact on its employees and customers.
“We have collaborated closely with Santander to offer a number of learning options including face-to-face training and an e-learning tool to make it easier for Santander colleagues to fit learning around work and other commitments.”
Santander UK Regional Manager, South Wales, Christian Dalton said: “The Welsh language is one of the treasures of Wales and is part of what defines Wales as a nation. It is important that we at Santander reflect the customers we serve by enabling colleagues from our Welsh branches to learn and speak Welsh for the benefit of our customers and the local community.”
There has already been some extremely positive feedback from people who have been involved in the scheme and it follows other initiatives by Santander to support Welsh speakers such as dual language signage in branches in Wales as well as cash machines across the UK providing the option to transact in Welsh.
Samantha Marshall, Branch Director of Santander’s Pontypridd branch said: “Unlike many of my colleagues I didn’t learn Welsh in school and, although I have lived in Wales for 20 years, I have learned only a few words. Although I struggle with the pronunciation I have really enjoyed my first two Welsh sessions and have come back to the branch and tried out some of the phrases with my Welsh-speaking colleagues.
“I have even been introduced to a Welsh-speaking customer who was delighted when I said a few words in Welsh. They were really impressed with the programme Santander was running.”