The value of the Welsh language and learning: Dewi’s story
Recently we spoke to Itec’s curriculum manager Dewi Richards-Darch about his experiences with completing apprenticeships and his journey of re-discovering the Welsh language.
What qualifications have you completed?
I’m Currently working towards my ILM L4. As part of the framework, I have completed my digital literacy L2.
How was your experience starting your journey with apprenticeships?
I started in the work-based learning sector as an unqualified tutor in training many years ago. It was through this role that I had the experience of discovering apprenticeships and was enrolled onto my L3 Learning and Development. From completing this qualification and gaining an insight and further skills into the sector allowed me focus and develop my career in education. Not only did it help me focus it also established a mentality that I was able to learn and move forward in life.
I found that through completing an apprenticeship vocationally I was able to develop better suiting my styles of learning through a combination of theory and practical activities. Most recently I started working towards my ILM L4 and am assessed through a wide range of methods that suit my needs. Using an evidence-based approach rather than examination has helped me complete qualifications. It helped me learn about myself and me realise that I wasn’t suited to academic forms of study. I only began progressing in my career when I discovered vocational learning.
Did you face any barriers, if so, what were they?
The biggest obstacle to completing an apprenticeship is time. It’s great that you can use work-based evidence to form your portfolio however work commitments can often mean you get side tracked slowing your rate of progress. Obstacles like this are common and the use of assessment methods such as recorded discussions and video evidence help considerably in keeping ahead and on top of things.
How did Welsh affect you and your qualifications?
As a young person I never really appreciated the value of the Welsh language. I attended a Welsh language primary and comprehensive schools where everything was taught in Welsh. It was difficult to get by outside where English was the primary language and found that I had to learn translations of key terms and vocabulary of topics such as maths to get by. This to me was a challenge and originally thought of it as a barrier. When I left school, I found myself leaving the Welsh language behind not realising its importance until later in life.
In hindsight, I realise that it wasn’t a barrier and that it is important that the Welsh language is not just preserved and that it continues to be used in society and education settings. Since working with Itec and through my apprenticeship I have re-engaged with my language and use it more frequently in the workplace setting and outside more naturally. My confidence has improved although I am still picking myself back up and continuing to learn while working.
Through my qualification, I have completed the Prentis Iaith course and have done so at the understanding level. It gave me knowledge of technical terminology that I wasn’t fully aware of before but also helped me realise that I remembered more than I previously thought. It helped boost my confidence even more.
How has your confidence changed with apprenticeships and the Welsh Language?
Using Welsh to design digital learning resources has been a great experience in teaching others basic language skills. The feedback received from these resources has been great in most instances, so I know they are having an impact with learners across our contracts.
My confidence is continuing to grow day by day. Sometimes I still need to take time to read over Welsh language to gauge understanding and use tools like geriadur to learn the meaning of some words but I’m getting there slowly.
If you could give any advice about learning Welsh to anyone, what would it be?
Welsh speakers who’ve lost touch – Simply use it and don’t lose it. Look for ways no matter how small an opportunity to use your language and build your confidence one step at a time.
Non-Welsh Speakers – set your self a challenge to learn just a little. Dysgu.cymru is a great tool to get started on your journey. Look online for social groups you could attend to learn alongside others! It really isn’t that scary!