The first year of giving free Welsh lessons for young people and staff in the education sector has been a success according to the Welsh Government, making it easier than ever for people to learn the language.
The scheme is part of the Welsh Government's Co-operation Agreement with Plaid Cymru.
Between 22 September 2022 and 31 March 2023, over 1,500 16 to 25 year olds have joined Welsh language learning lessons along with 450 teachers and prospective teachers.
The Cardiff based street artist, Daniel Reeves, better known as ‘Revealist,’ has taken advantage of the scheme. He said:
“I saw a post about the learning Welsh on Instagram, it stated that there were free lessons for all under 25s. I googled it and signed up instantly.
“I found learning Welsh really easy whilst online with the tutor. She was very helpful. It’s been incredible having people from so many different walks of life supporting me on my journey, but I think the best thing has been being able to feel proud about something I’m working on.”
One of the teachers who has learned Welsh over the past year is Tom Trevarthen of Ysgol Henry Richard in Tregaron - a finalist in this year’s Welsh Learner of the Year award.
"I have lived in Wales since moving here to study over a decade ago, and last year I decided it was high time I learned Welsh, and I just got on with it, and have thoroughly enjoyed.
"The Welsh language now plays an important part in my social life and work life. Many children at the school speak Welsh as a second language, and I hope that seeing me learn and gain confidence in using my Welsh has inspired them.”
Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language, said:
"The Welsh language belongs to us all, and our aim when launching this initiative last year was to make it easier than ever for people to learn Welsh and to gain the confidence to use it in their daily lives. I'm delighted that almost 2,000 people have had this opportunity over the past year.
"Through providing Welsh lessons for free, we have ensured that young people can continue to develop and improve their Welsh language skills after leaving school, and that they can use the language at work and in their social lives.
"Developing the Welsh language skills of the education workforce is key to reaching our goal of one million Welsh speakers by 2050."
Cefin Campbell MS, Designated Member, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm and take up for this offer of free Welsh lessons for young people and those in the teaching profession. It is a key part of the package of policies to strengthen the Welsh language, happening through the Co-operation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government.
“A year on from the launch it is great to see the impact this scheme is having. I hope that we see the success of the scheme continue and build even more momentum going forward.”
Dona Lewis, Chief Executive of the National Centre for Learning Welsh, said:
"The Centre's main aim is to create and support new speakers of Welsh, and we offer a range of opportunities for people to enjoy learning and using Welsh.
"There are specific schemes for young people and the education workforce, with face-to-face classes, virtual ones, and online self-study courses. There is a buzz in the sector and demand for new opportunities, and we will continue to work with our partners to expand our provision."