“Exciting opportunities” in store as WGU rubber-stamps new Welsh language strategy

Welsh flag on campus

Date: Thursday 2nd February 2023

Enhanced learning and academic provision through the medium of Welsh is being pledged at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, thanks to its new Welsh Language Academic Strategy and Action Plan being approved and started to be implemented.

Founded on the basis that the Welsh language is treated equally, the plan demonstrates the institution’s commitment to creating a truly bilingual culture and will contribute to the Welsh Government’s ambition of reaching one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

The strategy will lead the way for the enhancement and provision of Welsh medium development at the university, with the priority aims of: 

  • Creating confident bilingual graduates who can work professionally in both Welsh and English and help create a bilingual workforce in Wales by:  
    • Increasing the number of learning opportunities for students to study through the medium of Welsh and to protect the right to Welsh medium provision.
    • Improving Welsh medium support and resources available to staff and students in their teaching and learning, and create a learning environment which explicitly recognises and encourages a bilingual academic community.
    • Reviewing the university’s Welsh medium provision and identify priority areas for development and support.
    • To improve the visibility of, and contribution by, Wrexham Glyndŵr University to the national agenda of increasing Welsh medium academic provision.

Elen Mai Nefydd, Head of Welsh Medium Academic Development at Wrexham Glyndŵr University, said: “This is an immense milestone for not only the university but also for the region and Wales as a whole.

“With support from Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, we can now get to work on offering bilingual provision for our students, as well as exciting opportunities for staff to engage with the Welsh language.

“We are excited for what the future holds now that we have approved and started to implement our Welsh language Academic Strategy and Action Plan as it’s going to lead to many fantastic steps forward, including an increase in the number of bilingual students, us as a university contributing to the strengthening of a bilingual workforce, and of course solidifying our community and cultural links, something I’m hugely proud of.”

Other benefits as a result of the strategy and plan include protecting the legal right for students to study and receive services through the medium of Welsh, providing new opportunities for Wrexham Glyndŵr University such as the Welsh Language Certificate and continued professional development of university staff, through the Welsh Work/Cymraeg Gwaith scheme. 

Emyr Owen, a Computer Science graduate of Wrexham Glyndŵr University, said: “As someone whose first language is Welsh, I believe the Welsh Language Academic Strategy and Action Plan is a positive step forward in improving Welsh language facilities at the university and I welcome its implementation.

“I believe it will make a huge difference to students across the university, allowing more students the opportunity to learn and engage with the university through the medium of Welsh. 

“As a proud Welsh-speaker, I know just how important it is that we encourage and celebrate the language. Not only does being bilingual give me a strong sense of identity and belonging, from a career standpoint, it’s a real strength to be able to speak two languages.”

Dr Dylan Phillips, Senior Academic Manager for Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, said: “The Coleg warmly welcomes Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s new strategy for the Welsh language. 

“This is a very important step forward in the university’s history and shows their commitment to increasing the opportunities available to students to study through the medium of Welsh, and for staff to upskill in Welsh. 

“It’s critically important that Welsh-medium provision is made available to higher education students in North East Wales, where there’s been an obvious increase in demand for bilingual graduates in recent years. We look forward to working with the university as the strategy is implemented.”

Towards the event of last year, Wrexham Glyndŵr University held its first Welsh Opportunities event, aimed at students studying at college or sixth form, who are looking for advice and guidance regarding Welsh language provision at the university.

Elen Mai added: “Our Welsh Opportunities event was a fantastic opportunity for prospective Welsh-speaking university students to come and find out how we at Wrexham Glyndŵr University support students in using the Welsh language as part of their studies.

“Students who came along commented on how brilliant it was to know what provision will be available to them should they choose to study with us, and how they would be supported whether that be through learning through the medium of Welsh, assessments, pastoral care, accommodation, and opportunities through Y Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, and much more.”