(Title Image: Liverpool Echo)
Here are some of this week’s international affairs, culture & Welsh language questions.
Building confidence to use Welsh at colleges
Shadow Welsh Language Minister, Suzy Davies AM (Con, South Wales West), noted that during a recent event held by Colegau Cymru, she heard that FE college lecturers, students and apprentices with Welsh language skills preferred to use English. Surely one of the main ways to support the use of Welsh in further education was more Welsh-speaking staff – it was clear that the required number of Welsh-medium teachers and lecturers was going to fall short of what was required.
Minister for International Affairs & Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan (Lab, Mid & West Wales), agreed there was a problem but positive steps were being taken.
“I do think that we have a problem in relation to a number of people who’ve been through Welsh-medium education who don’t have the confidence, to use the language, in particular in FE colleges. And that’s why this group is so essential, I think, so that we do have Coleg Cymraeg that encourages people to use the Welsh language. But one of the things they’ve done is to create ambassadors to try and get people the same age as students to convey that message themselves. And I think that is extremely important, and a step forward.”
– Minister for International Affairs & Welsh Language, Eluned Morgan
Making Wales’ presence known around the world
Dr Dai Lloyd AM (Plaid, South Wales West) mentioned that the Welsh Government’s international strategy mentioned 21 overseas offices, but it wasn’t clear where the Welsh overseas presence needs to be further developed or, indeed, what the government intended to do once links had been established.
“Your strategy goes on to say that you will raise Wales’ profile by working with Welsh diaspora, alumni, and partner organisations, focusing in the first year on the USA and Japan, and identifying influential Welsh people around the world. You say also that you will create a comprehensive database of Welsh links, with an aim to create 500,000 contacts in five years. However, the international strategy doesn’t go on to elaborate what exactly you’ll do with those links once they’ve been forged.”
– Dr Dai Lloyd AM
The Minister clarified that each overseas office had to have enough flexibility to do things slightly differently depending on where they were. The economy was a key focus concerning the diaspora and making links to improve inward investment.
Work was already starting with the FAW on promoting Wales during Euro 2020 – particularly in Italy. National Museum Wales are also hoping to hold an exhibition in Japan during 2022 to build upon efforts to raise Wales’ profile during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Welsh Government happy to let Westminster take the lead on safe standing
Andrew RT Davies AM (Con, South Wales Central) asked, in light of proposals at the UK Parliament to introduce safe standing at English football grounds, what the Welsh Government intended to do to ensure that Welsh clubs playing in the English pyramid weren’t left behind.
Mandy Jones AM (BXP, North Wales) saw the possible approval of safe standing as a catalyst to redevelop parts of Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.
On the latter point, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas (Ind, Dwyfor Meirionnydd), said it was for the owners of the Racecourse to ultimately take that forward though he was open to discussions – pointing to investment at Colliers Park with the FAW.
He added that the Welsh Government has no position on safe standing, but perhaps didn’t need to:
“….the current regime ensures that the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, as the licensing authority, is responsible for admitting spectators to football grounds, which include all those in the Premier League and the English Football League….Clearly, where Welsh teams participate in those leagues, they are covered.”
– Deputy Minister for Culture, Tourism & Sport, Dafydd Elis-Thomas