Creating work opportunities and keeping the pound local
As part of Theme 3 of the Cymraeg 2050 Strategy, the Welsh Government recognize the importance of infrastructure and context to ensure work opportunities for local people to use their Welsh day to day and contribute towards forming prosperous communities. The Mentrau Iaith have succeeded in establishing commercial projects such as cafes, shops, centres, trainee schemes, translation companies, nurseries and childcare schemes – services that contribute towards the basic economy of communities in Wales.
Through entrepreneurship, the local Mentrau Iaith have managed to secure almost £4.5 million of funding on top of the Government’s grants in 2019/20 for their communities by securing alternative grants, partnership working or implementing commercial schemes. The graphs below show that the Welsh Government funds a relatively small percentage, less than a third, of the Mentrau Iaith’s workforce. By securing funding from other sources, the Mentrau Iaith have been able to create 254 jobs in addition to those funded by the Welsh Government’s grant and national projects. By re-investing their profits into community projects, the Mentrau Iaith contribute towards the Welsh labour market, ensure opportunities for people to use the Welsh language in a work environment and reduce the number of young people who emigrate from rural communities to towns and cities.
The Labour Market
- Create a network of Social Enterprise Officers, funded by the Economy department, to establish Welsh medium workplaces for local people.
- Since 2017, the Mentrau Iaith have been responsible for running the local element of the Helo Blod project to offer advice and support to small businesses on the use of the Welsh language. It’s important that this element of the project continues in order to provide businesses with a local contact along with face-to-face advice.
- Better planning and co-ordination relating to the need for the Welsh language in certain posts and the world of education. It will be impossible to accomplish strategies such as “Cymraeg 2050” and “Mwy na geiriau”, and implement the Standards, if no workforce is planned and created.
- Since the strategy was published in 2017, the Mentrau Iaith haven’t received any additional investments to continue with their efforts to increase the use of the Welsh language. In order to do this effectively and offer employees a fair wage that reflects inflation, the Mentrau Iaith ask that all Menter Iaith’s minimum grants are increased to £100,000 a year and inflation for those Mentrau Iaith that already receive £100,000 or more. This will enable each Menter Iaith to employ 3 members of staff as well as maintain a prosperous company or charity that seek investments and create further job opportunities.
From experience: filling the Welsh gap
One of the network’s schemes that have succeeded to create the most Welsh medium jobs is the childcare scheme in south east Wales. The schemes run by seven of the Menter Iaith in the region are partly funded by local authorities but they are also commercial schemes that generate their own income. This income is re-invested to fund more opportunities to use the Welsh language in the most anglicised areas of the country.
The Mentrau Iaith , or their arm’s length companies, employ over 150 individuals in the childcare sector alone. By offering breakfast clubs, wraparound care, after school clubs and holiday clubs, the Mentrau Iaith have identified and responded to the real need for Welsh medium childcare in communities.