Shwmae! My name is Cath Baldwin, I’m the Welsh Language Officer for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. I’ve been doing this job for 13 and a half years now and I love the fact that my job gives me the opportunity to use my Welsh every day! I wasn’t taught Welsh at school, and as no-one in my family was Welsh speaking I had to learn the language as an adult. Being able to use Welsh every day at work is a real bonus, but what excites me most about my job is that I can help and encourage others to use their Welsh too. Many of the people that I come into contact with at work have learned Welsh at school but haven’t used the language since. This can often mean that they feel a little rusty and it’s lovely to hear them use the language again, gradually building up their confidence.
Often, my job gives me opportunities to talk about the Welsh language with people who are not Welsh speakers or Welsh learners. I really enjoy this part of my job too. Helping my colleagues think about how and why to include the Welsh language in their daily business can be very rewarding, especially when they realise that helping others to use their Welsh doesn’t have to mean extra cost! Fortunately, Welsh is seen as an asset these days, and something to be proud of, however I think more needs to be done to raise awareness of how valuable Welsh language skills are to employers – especially if you want to work in public service. My advice about Welsh at work would be whatever Welsh you know, use it as often as you can. If you don’t know any Welsh yet – it’s never too late to learn!!