Developing a bilingual workforce for a bilingual capital


Cardiff Council is making significant strides in developing a bilingual workforce in the capital as the number of employees with Welsh language skills continues to rise.


Over the past 12 months, the number of staff working for the authority with Welsh language skills has increased by another 8.6% since 2020-21, and currently represents more than 14% of the workforce, excluding schools.


During 2021-22, there was also a 158% increase in the number of jobs advertised where Welsh language skills were an essential requirement and a more than 100% increase to almost 650 jobs that were advertised with Welsh skills as desirable.


The growth is representative of the work underway to achieve the vision of Cardiff being a truly bilingual capital city, where the Welsh language is embedded in the very fabric of every day life, and the Council's commitment to making the organisation anincreasingly bilingual workplace, in order to support this aim.


Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "As part of our Bilingual Cardiff ambition, we recognised that an important factor in achieving our goals would be nurturing a bilingual workforce to deliver bilingual services for residents in Cardiff to access.


"That's why we offer all staff, of all language abilities, the opportunity to learn Welsh or build on their existing skills for free and I'm really pleased to say that during 2021/22, more than 1,000 Cardiff Council staff took part in Welsh language courses and almost 1,000 officers completed Welsh Language Awareness training."


Cardiff's progress in growing its bilingual staff is one of the measures included in this year's annual Welsh Language Standards report, which will be considered by Cabinet on Thursday, July 14. The standards seek to improve the services Welsh-speakers can expect to receive from organisations in Welsh and increase the use people make of Welsh-language services.


The annual report also captures other highlights of 2021/22 including the approval of the Bilingual Cardiff Strategy 2022-27, which supports Welsh Government's Cymraeg 2050 Welsh language strategy for one million Welsh speakers and sets out how the capital seeks to achieve the growth in Welsh speakers here to help reach this aim.


Education is a crucial driver in growing the number of Welsh speakers in the city, with the Council's Welsh in Education Strategic Plan (WESP) being closely aligned to the Bilingual Cardiff strategy. The annual report notes that more than 650 pupils were allocated reception places at  Welsh-medium primary schools for September 2021, representing 17.3% of the total intake across the city.


Other achievements in the annual report include a record 14.5 million words translated by the Council's Bilingual Cardiff team during 2021-22 - an increase of 25% compared to 2020-21 and  more than 25,000 people engaging with the digital Tafwyl Festival, which was supported by the Council, and live streamed from Cardiff Castle while Covid restrictions were in place.