YOUNG people and education staff in Wales can now access free Welsh lessons as part of a Welsh Government initiative to increase the number of Welsh speakers.
The commitment is part of the Co-Operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.
18 to 25 year olds can enrol on Welsh courses with the National Centre for Learning Welsh, and will not be asked to pay when registering.
Free Welsh lessons are also available to all teachers, head teachers and teaching assistants as part of the Welsh Government’s efforts to strengthen the teaching of Welsh in the new Curriculum and increase the number of practitioners who can teach in Welsh.
Education staff can access a new online portal where they can find a suitable course including virtual lessons, face-to-face lessons and self-study courses. The portal includes a Learning Wizard tool which helps provide a choice of relevant courses.
16-18 year olds at selected schools and Further Education colleges are taking part in a digital learning pilot project, run by the National Centre and SaySomethinginWelsh. Other initiatives for 16 to 18 year olds include a short online course with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and a Welsh confidence-building pilot in Powys with e-sgol.
Evidence and data collected as part of the pilot projects will inform a national scheme for 16 to 18 year-olds, from 2023.
Jeremy Miles, the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, said:
“I’m pleased we are increasing the opportunities to learn our language and making it easier for more people to have the opportunity to learn Welsh and use it in their daily lives.
Growing the number of educators who can teach through the medium of Welsh is key to achieving our aim of a million Welsh speakers by 2050, and this makes it as easy as possible for them to have access to Welsh courses for free. Providing free lessons to 18 to 25s means that they can continue to develop and improve their Welsh ability and to use the language within their work and social lives.
Cymraeg belongs to us all. I would encourage all teaching staff and young people who want to learn Welsh for the first time or who want to improve their Welsh to take this opportunity.”
Cefin Campbell MS, Designated Member, said:
“Everyone in Wales should have the opportunity to learn Welsh and experience the cultural and social benefits it brings.
The rollout of free Welsh lessons for young people and those in the teaching profession is another step towards making it as easy as possible to learn and speak Welsh and to achieve the target for a million Welsh speakers and beyond.”