Marchnad Lafur Cymraeg is a pilot project that aims to develop the Welsh language as a catalyst to the economy.
The project was initially funded through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. Its aim is to explored ways of engaging with various sectors and companies with the potential of developing services and products that use Welsh linguistic skills.
During the start of the project, the working team compiled extensive research in order to build a better understanding of the relationship between language and economy and its relevance to rural areas in Wales.
From this research and meetings with relevant stakeholders, it was clear that the project would look largely on the local economy in order to have more of an impact during the short period of time allocated to the project.
The project developed three pilot clusters which would act as indicators in proving the language’s value to the economy and its potential of creating job opportunities with Welsh language skills.
Research was carried out on a number of sectors including technology, apprenticeships and the Arfor scheme, before deciding on the three final clusters.
The day nursery cluster was the first to be developed and worked in conjunction with our main partner, Menter Iaith Cymru. A number of Mentrau helped to develop proposals for the Welsh language day nurseries. The cluster worked on developing a rough handbook, which facilitated the process of establishing day nurseries through the medium of Welsh.
The second cluster took a different route. Following discussions and initial research, the project identified social enterprise as a viable second cluster to further its impact.
The first task for the cluster was to hold a ‘Community Ownership’ conference, which was an opportunity to bring like-minded enterprises to understand the needs and challenges social enterprises faced while operating through the medium of Welsh.
Following the conference recommendations, the project created a working group, shared good practice and offered a mentoring scheme for new social enterprises by using the experience of well-established enterprises.
The third cluster was the result of discussions held by the social enterprise working group, recognising the need for a Community Investment Fund for towns in Wales in order regenerate the local economy. The pilot cluster worked with two communities in North West Wales, by supporting the development of a funding mechanism alongside important research into other similar funds.
The fund will specifically target sustainable tourism in these areas and hopefully it will inspire other funds in different communities in the near future.
The project has concluded with many interesting outputs, which have the potential of helping to regenerate rural areas, by creating a stronger economy with the Welsh language playing an integral role.
In order to build on the outputs of the project, there needs to be a joint approach, with stakeholders and government officials working closely on the ideas and recommendations that have developed during this project. As a result, this will help to mainstream the Welsh language and for it to become a regular part of the economy and workplace.