A NEW online Learn Welsh course has been launched for the agricultural sector.

The 10-hour short course, part of the National Centre for Learning Welsh’s ‘Work Welsh’ scheme, is tailor-made for the sector, and gives learners the freedom to follow the course in their own time and at their own pace.

The new partnership between the centre and business support organisation Menter a Busnes stems from one of the recommendations of the 'Iaith y Pridd' report, conducted in 2020 by Farming Connect. The report considered how the Welsh-speaking agri-community could contribute to the goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

While conducting research for the report, it became apparent there was a desire to learn Welsh among non-Welsh speaking farmers and workers in the supply and agricultural services sector who could see the practical benefits of being able to speak Welsh.

As a result, one of the recommendations was to 'create Welsh lessons with content built around agricultural themes' and the National Centre contacted Menter a Busnes to see if it would be possible to work together to respond to this recommendation.

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Dona Lewis, National Centre deputy chief executive, with responsibility for the scheme said: "We are very pleased to be working in partnership with Menter a Busnes in response to one of the recommendations of the 'Iaith y Pridd' report.

"We know that the percentage of Welsh speakers in the agricultural sector is higher than the national average, which is 43 per cent compared to 19 per cent, and there is a desire to learn Welsh within the industry.

"By making it a flexible online course, learners can follow it at a time convenient to them."

Alun Jones, chief executive of Menter a Busnes added: “The agricultural sector is a stronghold of the Welsh language, and we are seeing a growing interest among non-Welsh speakers in learning the language.

“Lois Evans, a member of staff at Menter a Busnes working on the Farming Connect programme, and a Learn Welsh tutor for adults, worked with the National Centre’s experts to develop the course, which is wholly relevant to the agricultural community.”

The Young Farmers is a prominent movement within the agricultural industry – 38 per cent of the organisation's members are non-Welsh speakers.

Phil Elis, the organisation's new chief executive, is himself currently following a Learn Welsh course. He added: “This course will be of great benefit to those members who are looking for that initial encouragement to learn the language. The Welsh language is such an important part of the culture and heritage of rural Wales and it is great to see that there is an effort to increase the number of people who use the language.”

This is not the first course that the centre has developed for a specific audience, with courses available for other sectors such as health and care, public services, tourism and leisure and retail.

Dona Lewis added: "We want to ensure that our 10-hour online short courses offer useful vocabulary for the workplace. During the process of creating these courses, we work closely with the different sectors to ensure workers can learn basic vocabulary to hold a short conversation in Welsh, relevant to their area of work.”

The Work Welsh 10-hour sector-specific courses, including agriculture, are available free of charge from the Learn Welsh website.

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