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Rugby international helps businesses develop Welsh language skills

Nigel Owens (left) and James Hook during the filming of 'Iaith ar Daith' - ©S4C/Boom Cymru

A competition to encourage businesses to develop their Welsh language skills is being launched by Menter a Busnes in collaboration with rugby international James Hook.

Called ‘Iaith ar Waith’, the Menter a Busnes (MaB) competition also highlights Welsh’s increasing importance and growth in the workplace.

The prize is a five-day Welsh course tailored to the needs and level of the winner. The course will be provided through Nant Gwrtheyrn near Pwllheli – home to the National Welsh Language and Heritage Centre – or, if preferred, it may be delivered virtually.

At the end of the course, the winner will also have the unique opportunity to practice some of what they have learnt in a tutor-facilitated session with fellow-Welsh learner James Hook.

James’ Welsh learning journey was documented on the S4C programme Iaith ar Daith, where he practised his Welsh with world-renowned rugby referee Nigel Owens from Pontyberem.

“I am delighted to be taking part in this competition, and I’m looking forward to chatting with the winners. I remember how unsure of my ability I was when I began learning Welsh, so hopefully, I will be able to pass on some tips to them.

“Learning to speak Welsh has been a long-held ambition for me – not just professionally but personally. Not only is the Welsh language part of our culture and heritage, but it is increasingly becoming an important component of business and enterprise in Wales and highlights our identity on the world stage.”

The Welsh language is at the heart of independent economic development company Menter a Busnes’ day to day activities. Also, through its Schools Initiative – launched in 2019 – MaB is playing an active role in assisting the Welsh Government in the drive to achieve one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

Primary findings in a report into consumer demand and the opinions of business leaders by the Welsh Language Commissioner (Using the Welsh language – the business case) reveal that the majority of businesses see the Welsh language as a benefit to the business and is a factor that ‘enriches the brand and the value of goods and services.’

Also contained in the Commissioner’s report is research from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

According to the CAB research, 94% of fluent Welsh speakers interviewed felt having a good Welsh language service ‘helps a company stand out’, and 90% of those interviewed said they felt being able to deal with organisations in Welsh made them feel ‘valued as a customer’. Of those interviewed, 82% felt more inclined to choose a company that provides a good Welsh language service.

Individuals, whether business owners or those who take on a managerial role within the company can nominate themselves or others to take part in the ‘Iaith ar Waith’ competition by visiting www.facebook.com/MenteraBusnes