Andrew Forde - Youtube and being a Welshman
On the eve of the big rugby match against the Old Enemy, we’re reminded of how far reaching the sport (although far from being unique in this sense) in interpreting and transporting Welsh identity to a wider audience. An example of how this interest in the game has highlighted this identity is the Vlogger and Welsh speaker from Cardiff, Andrew Forde, who had a profile in Wales Online recently for a particular video he composed his best bits of the last six years, including his 2017 exploits with Scarlets, Wales and the Lions. His Youtube channel of unique rugby montages has attracted and audience of millions across the world and has brought Wales is identity to the fore in the digital world. Here he discusses being a Welsh speaking Welshman from his own perspective and being known as “the Welsh guy”on Youtube. Do you identify as being Welsh? If so, can you explain why this is? I definitely identify as Welsh. I was born in Cardiff and I’ve always felt Welsh. I lived in Wales until I was 18 years old, but now I live in England, although I’m still a very passionate Welshman. I hae a Welsh flag draped in my bedroom so that the first thing I see in the morning is the red dragon to remind me of where I’ve come from. When you think about Wales and the Welsh identity, what factors come to mind? What do these mean to you? When thinking of Wales one of the main factors that come to mind is sports and definitely rugby Our rugby culture differentiates Wales from other countries, especially European nations and personally it means a lot as it reminds me of good times with friends watching rugby vitories in the past as well as the fact I wouldn’t be broadcasting rugby videos if I wasn’t Welsh. Welsh culture is alsounique in terms of music and the feeling of singing Welsh songs with friends on a match day or even walking down the street is one of my favourite feelings. If there was just one thing you could tell the world about Wales, what would this be? I’d tell the world about the Welsh language, by emphasising it’s uniqueness and beauty One word that means a lot to me is the word hiraeth as there is no real translation into English and it’s a feeling I’m sure that every Welsh identifying person has felt away from Wales. Since moving to England I’ve felt hiraeth many times and so I appreciate every chance I get to go back. Can you think of any events or situations from your personal or family life in which being Welsh played a particularly important role? Something that has definitely helped me is the fact I undertook the Welsh Baccalaureate at school. There is no equivalent qualification available to English pupils, and the qualification allowed me to reach university. If I wasn’t a Welshman, it’s possible I wouldn’t have achieved university as I wouldn’t have studied the Welsh Baccalaureate. R At what level would you say is your Welsh language ability I speak Welsh often and am fluent. I learnt Welsh by attending Welsh medium Ysgol y Wern and Glantaf in Cardiff. My parents can’t speak Welsh but they felt strongly that I should have Welsh medium education and I appreciate the fact that I can speak Welsh. Can you think of any incidents or situations from your academic, personal or professional life in which the Welsh language played a particularly important role? If so, please describe one of these. The Welsh language has played an important role in terms of personal opportunities. For example, I’ve been on the Jonathan programme where I had the opportunity to speak with the ex-player Gareth Edwards in discussing THAT try he scored against New Zealand in 1973. The Jonathan programme is through the medium of Welsh and it’s certain that without the Welsh language it wouldn’t have been possible for me to have this chance of speaking with Gareth Edwards. Briefly describe your current job, professional role or company/organisation/brand. At the moment, I create rugby videos, kind of 'Rugby Montages' on YouTube. I aim to load around 5 videos per week, but this varies. The type of videos also vary as sometimes they focus on one player or it’s a mixture of a particular theme within a game, for example, I’ve created a video of one of the stupidest decisions in a rugby match. How would you say that your brand is contributing to the future of Wales and/or use of the Welsh language? To a degree I’m contributing to the lasting identity of Wales as I try and ensure that the videos, I create ar of young Welsh players. An example is the videos of Josh Adams, Tomos Williams and Seb Davies before they established their national rugby careers which allows people who don’t watch regional rugby to see how good individual players who are called to play for Wales are. Is there anything about your company/organisation or brand which you would regard as being uniquely Welsh? On THYoutube I’m seen as “the Welsh guy” as I focus on Welsh players and the fact that it’s obvious that I’m Welsh makes me unique on Youtube. There are no similar Youtube channels which are Welsh per se and it’s completely unique. On the other hand, I’m seen as showing bias towards Welsh players by many of my viewers. What are the main goals or challenges facing your company or industry in the next few years? My main objective is to grow bigger each day. In the last few months I’ve managed to attract around 1,500 new subscribers per month, and the aim is to maintain this growth. This can be challenging as it forces me to keep being productive and I need to ensure that all of my videos ar of the same standard. There’s also the risk of running out of ideas, and therefore I must ensure that there are enough themes in the pipeline. As the video themes vary, it can be a challenge to ensure the same number of viewers for each video. What main message or tip would you like to give applicants to help them secure a job with your company/organisation? The most important thing is to ensure good editorial skills. The process is difficult and it’s not easy to learn and it needs to be of a good standard to enable me to share videos often and ensure that a large number of viewers watch them. In the past, I’ve had to put a lot o work towards a number of video creations that have not performed as well as others and I’ve ensure that this is minimised. Finally, is there anything else you would like to tell us that may be of interest to readers of the Swyddle blog? At the moment, my channel has over 14,000 subscribers as well as some 15 million views of my videos on the whole channel, with over 1 million views of one video. I aim to load a number of videos every week, an I would appreciate it if Swyddle readers could watch my videos!
Making Your Voice Heard
Spreading the Word Do you have a burning issue that you need to bring to the fore or an announcement or event you need highlighting? Swyddle's blog is the place to voice your unique opinion on all things related to the Welsh Economy, Entrepreneurship, Recruitment and topics on Bilingualism in general on the whole. Sending your content or copy Contact us [email protected] or 029 2030 2182 if you'd like a platform on our website and social media - reaching an audience of thousands each week.
Why it’s okay for bilingual children to mix language
Why it’s okay for bilingual children to mix language Few would consider mastering more than one language a bad idea. In fact, research points to a number of cognitive, economic and academic advantages in being bilingual. Parents who speak different languages understand the family home is an important setting to learn both, and seek various ways to help their children thrive bilingually. One of the best-known approaches is the “one-parent-one-language” strategy (OPOL). Each parent uses one language when communicating with their child, so their offspring learn both languages simultaneously. OPOL emphasises consistency – sticking to one language each – as key to its approach. But this creates the myth that mixing languages should always be avoided. My recent study, part of a new wave of multilingualism studies, would suggest this received wisdom is just that: a myth. My research looked at Japanese-British families living in the UK with pre and early school-age children who were following a more-or-less strict OPOL language policy. I was particularly interested in examining the impact of OPOL in the family home – how does this unique language environment affect the way children use languages? Most of the Japanese mothers who participated in my research were fluent in Japanese and English, while the fathers possessed an elementary grasp of Japanese. This made English the primary language of communication between the parents and outside the home. For this reason, the mothers were careful to carve out additional space for more sustained Japanese language learning with their children. In other words, this dedicated space for communicating in Japanese (the minority language) was time children would spend exclusively with their mother. This seemed to create a connection between “Japanese language” and “motherhood” in the children’s perception. With bilingual children, the parent with the ‘minority’ language will often make extra time for learning and communicating.Shutterstock This link became apparent in how children used Japanese as a means of emotional bonding with their mother and adopted a much broader behavioural “repertoire” than usually associated with language. For example, switching to Japanese could sometimes serve as a method to appease mum when she seemed unhappy. At other times, refusing to communicate in Japanese was a useful means of defiance, even when the dispute was not related to language. Language can never be a neutral communication tool. How it is used at home and beyond – socially, at school, in the workplace – brings additional connotations and meanings which are used consciously or unconsciously in communication. Creativity with language The OPOL approach emphasises the need for parents to monitor children’s language closely and correct them if they mix the two languages. In practice, many parents speaking the minority language are bilingual themselves – so they understand what their children are saying even when they do mix the two. Parents may feel it is difficult to keep correcting children when they mix languages because they just want to have a meaningful conversation whatever language their child uses. This is especially the case when children show annoyance at being corrected. But what if a child uses language that is difficult to categorise into either Japanese or English? An example involved the use of English words absorbed into Japanese pronunciation. One of many borrowed words adorning the Japanese language, “ice cream” is usually pronounced “aisukurimu”, emphasising the general feature of vowel-ending sounds in Japanese. The distinction between singular and plural does not exist in Japanese nouns in the English language sense, so whether using singular or plural, even in a borrowed word, “aisukurimu” is the form normally used. But one of my child participants showed his mother a drawing of two cones of ice cream and described them as “aisukurimuzu”, with a Japanese pronunciation but in English plural form. The child had created something in between, perhaps to avoid being corrected. Another example is interaction between Japanese-English bilingual siblings. A six-year old girl was trying to convince her four-year old brother to let her play with his toys. Following firm rejections by her brother, the girl drew on her communicative repertoire to convince him. First she shifted from an authoritative demand to a softer and humbler request. She rephrased the question by using various polite forms. Then her voice changed nasally, suggesting that she was about to burst into tears. Even more interestingly, while the negotiation had begun in English, in the middle she shifted to Japanese. Although this may give the impression of language mixing, a considerably more complex process was taking place. The shift was accompanied by the incorporation of Japanese cultural elements, such as honorific titles that emphasise emotional attachment, a relationship of dependence between sister and brother, and an assumed obligation to care by the brother. She succeeded. A more holistic approach These examples show how creatively and strategically human beings use language in their daily communication. Whether bilingual or not, we all constantly select from our repertoire anything that will best serve our purpose. For instance, imagine you want to ask a favour from your neighbour. You would use polite language in a friendly voice. But what about your facial expression? Your body language? For bilinguals, shifting between languages is all part of their repertoire. Our language repertoires are shaped by meaning, based on the knowledge garnered throughout our lives. And the ways we use language also shape its meaning. So ways of using OPOL in the family bring specific meaning to language used at home, and children make full use of its emergent meaning in their own interactions. The popularity of OPOL rests on its commonsense simplicity, which is mostly that it is consistent. But when we see a child actively using, adapting and negotiating their repertoire, it casts doubt on the belief that it’s bad for children to mix languages. What it could actually be doing is demonstrating high-level flexibility and interpersonal skills. Being bilingual is not simply about being able to speak two languages. Rigidly policing consistency in the one-parent-one-language approach could actually restrict bilingual children’s linguistic ability and creativity. And in the same way, it could also limit their parents’ ability to reveal their own bilingual skills, using their own repertoires. More evidence-based articles about languages: You’re never too old to become fluent in a foreign language Speaking dialects trains the brain in the same way as bilingualism Emotions shape the language we use, but second languages reveal a shortcut around them
Welsh Language Digital Future
A new report published by the British Council Wales has found that Wales should better use the appeal of its ‘soft power’, its culture, education and sport sectors, to gain more recognition and influence on the world stage. We also take it that the Welsh language forms a large part of this soft power appeal. The ‘Wales Soft Power Barometer 2018’ report compares Wales to nine countries and regions across the world and was ranked sixth in the Index overall, behind Quebec, Scotland, Flanders, Catalonia and Hokkaido in Japan but ahead of Corsica, Northern Ireland, Jeju in South Korea and Puerto Rico. It combines analysis of existing data on each area’s government – the use of digital technology, culture, enterprise, engagement and education with the results of a newly commissioned survey of 5000 people in ten countries asking opinion on the cuisine, friendliness to tourists, luxury brands, political values, liveability, culture and sport. Digital Technology Performs Best In the data analysis Wales scored best for its digital technology taking third place behind Scotland and Jeju and for its enterprise sector, and this is no surprise considering the surge of digital and creative technology hubs emerging across Wales including the creative industry centre at the Egin in Carmarthen, the medical digital ecosystem in Swansea and Cardiff along with Cardiff Start, Innovation Point and BeTheSpark. This field of digital technology will be a key tenet of the Welsh language’s future flourishment and Welsh language technology being showcased at the ‘Pioneering Wales: Cymraeg 2050 Technology’ event at Tramshed Tech in Cardiff this week was an indication of the future. Ap Cwtsh and Duolingo For example, “Ap Cwtsh” is the title for a mediation and mindfulness app entirely through the medium of Welsh and was one of a number of innovative, short-term projects, funded by the Welsh Government, which aim to increase people’s daily use of the language and with more people taking Welsh lessons on Duolingo than can actually speak Welsh, the opportunity presented by digital platforms to project the Welsh language on a global stage is crystal clear. A list of Welsh Language Apps can be found here
Two Languages, Two Roles
The independent Welsh Language Commissioner was established to promote and facilitate the use of the Welsh language and can impose compliance standards on specific organisations to ensure that Welsh language services are as good and equally accessible as English. However, the Commissioner has accepted that this can be challenging for some small businesses and charities, but with a little imagination and creative planning, it is possible to work towards that aim and offers advice and guidance to all organisations, whether they have a statutory requirement to use the Welsh language or not. In this respect, Swyddle has consistently argued that it need not be expensive or disruptive to “business as usual” to develop a bilingual identity and function. Support and Guidance There are many services and numerous free guidance on offer to support this aim. The Commissioner, for example, has conducted a range of resources and research which is geared towards supporting bilingualism, including the use of Welsh in the retail, food and drink sectors and also guidance on recruitment considerations, bilingual marketing and most recent guidance on bilingual social media. The Welsh Government has also launched a free service to small business, offering support on developing bilingual branding and communications. A Bilingual Workforce One of the most efficient means of initiating, maintaining and developing a bilingual function in an organisation is to recruit bilingual staff. It’s not necessary to have a dedicated Welsh language team, dealing solely with clients whose language preference is the Welsh language. By recruiting Welsh speakers into customer facing and/or other key positions, you very efficiently increase your customer offering and service proposition. One bilingual individual can perform two functions because they can conduct the same role in both languages. The Commissioner herself believes that increasing the use of Welsh in the workplace would increase the use of Welsh in general and would improve the skill level of the workforce; and in relation to social media communication, she has argued that “Using the Welsh Language in social media is also an opportunity to think about recruiting a member of staff or volunteers with Welsh language skills in order to ensure that you have the internal capacity to create bilingual content.” Competitive advantage Providing a Welsh service can be your Unique Selling Point. You have an opportunity to develop your bilingual brand identity and reach new customers. National research has shown that only 12% of businesses had a complete Welsh language customer service. Winning and retaining Public Sector contracts The new era of statutory Welsh Language Standards and compliance means that contractors who can demonstrate bilingual capacity will have an advantage in tendering for public service contracts. For companies based in Wales, it is far easier to recruit a Welsh speaker, which in itself strengthens your position in retaining tenders at renewal. We can also form part of your tendering team. Customer service Providing bilingual customer service enhances the entire customer service proposition; offering the service in the language of the consumer’s choice. It demonstrates a stronger commitment to customer service. Virtuous circle Having bilingual staff in place also provides a virtuous circle of repeat business, an internal culture of bilingualism giving confidence to other staff members to use or develop their Welsh and increases consumer confidence and brand identity. Specialist Recruitment Swyddle has a dedicated, bespoke and specialist recruitment service that can provide Welsh speakers for permanent, contract and temporary positions across Wales. Contact us on 029 2030 2182 or [email protected] so discuss how we could meet your needs.
5 Things Recruiters Really Hate!
Whatever your area of expertise, when it comes to job applications and interviews, it seems some ‘pet peeves’ are universal. Whether it’s a stock CV phrase or an interview bugbear, most hiring managers know exactly what they like and what they don’t like. REED Online recently asked over 300 recruiters to tell them their biggest recruitment turn-offs and exactly what they’re looking out for when considering a candidate. Is poor spelling and grammar and a weak handshake really the recipe for candidate rejection? 1.) Bad presentation Aside from the obvious (i.e. qualifications and previous experience), most recruiters indicated that presentation should take precedence. In fact, nearly half of those surveyed selected a logical order for presentation as the most important thing to consider on a CV. Good formatting and appropriate length were also underlined by most hiring managers as pre-requisites, suggesting that even the best-written CV can be let down by poor presentation. And if you’re wondering how long is too long, an overwhelming 91% of recruiters see a word document of two to three pages as the right way to go. Although obviously, it’s what you do with it that counts… 2.) Poor spelling and grammar Over 50% of recruiters highlighted poor spelling and grammar as their number one application turn-off. These are common bugbears for recruiters as not only do they demonstrate a lack of time and effort spent re-reading a CV, they’re also relatively easily fixed. In comparison, only one in four of those surveyed stated that an obvious lack of qualifications specific to the role was their main CV gripe. 3.) "I enjoy socialising with friends’ For many hiring managers, there’s nothing worse than a generic CV. With that in mind, one in three recruiters stated that their biggest pet-hate phrase is ‘I enjoy socialising with friends’. This was closely followed by the similarly stock-statement ‘Good team player/good working in a team or as an individual’, with 28% of hiring managers surveyed identifying it as their own pet-peeve phrase. 4.) Arriving late 42% of recruiters highlighted arriving late as their number one interview irritation. Although it can’t always be helped, candidates arriving late can start their interview on the wrong foot and one in five hiring managers indicated experiencing this at some point during their career. For many, it’s those candidates nonchalantly arriving late without an apology which really gets their goat. Interviewees who have the courtesy to call ahead could just set themselves apart. Aside from tardiness, an obvious lack of preparation for the interview came in second place, with one in four voting it their biggest interview faux-pas. 5.) Weak handshake Finally, the importance placed on positive body language and a good handshake should never be overlooked. They may seem like old-fashioned ideas but, for many recruiters, the right body language still rings true and sends out a positive message about an interviewee. And if you’re wondering, 80% of employers said they like it firm. The handshake. Obviously… Source: https://www.reed.co.uk/recruiter-advice/bad-grammar-and-a-limp-handshake-are-these-the-signs-youve-picked-the-wrong-applicant/?CampaignCode=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nwsltr&utm_campaign=recruiter_email_nwsltr_article_signs_wrong_applicant&utm_content=
Supporting Small Businesses – Welsh for Business Support
A bespoke project geared toward supporting the use of the Welsh language in small businesses has been officially launched. As part of the service, Welsh for Business Support Officers will offer a range of free services including translating menus, social media messages and promotional material, with retail, food and drink a clear target. 1. A National Network The aim of the project is also to engage with a wide number of businesses to increase their aweareness of the Welsh language and to encourage them to increase the use and visibility of the language and to nurture a deeper relationship with a smaller number of businesess in relation to increasing their use of Welsh. A number of events are being (and will be) held with businesses across Wales to raise awareness and to facilitate these services including ten local networks and one national network. 2. Good Customer Service Providing bilingual services makes commercial and business sense. There is clearly an increasing demand for bilingual services as the norm from organisations and businesses operating in Wales. 82% of Welsh speakers are more inclined to consume the services or products of a bilingual company and 83% of Welsh speakers saying they would stay loyal if you provide a bilingual service. At present, 350,000 of all people aged 3 and over speak Welsh daily and future generations in Wales will increasingly demand fully bilingual services. The percentage of those who speak Welsh is highest amongst those aged between 3-15 years old (as high as 50% in some areas). 3. Bilingual Staff Swyddle has consistently argued that if you are a business, this increasing demand offers you the opportunity to expand your customer base by differentiating your company from the competition. An example of this is demonstrating added value by offering a bilingual experience for visitors and Business Wales is offering funding for businesses that can offer this kind of added value. It’s also possible to go a step further and employ bilingual staff, which is both a long term and cost-effective solution because bilingual staff can perform their role in two languages Market directly to Welsh speaking customers. By doing this it’s possible to develop a bilingual corporate identity from within; to demonstrate a commitment to customer service and nurture loyalty from existing customers and provide a direct link to and interaction with your local communities. Working with Swyddle will enable you to achieve this quickly and effectively by recruiting bilingual staff to your business. Get in touch on 029 2030 2182 for a chat to see how we could support you.