A new Welsh language hub in Wrexham has been formally opened by the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, AM.
The CAMU Welsh language hub at Coleg Cambria, Wrexham was formally opened by the First Minister yesterday.
A special celebration was held to mark the occasion in the company of a number of partners who have been involved in the initiative including Wrexham County Borough and Flintshire County Councils and organizations such as Menter Iaith Fflint Maelor and the Urdd.
CAMU aims to enhance the value of the Welsh language as a skill for the workplace through developing the language skills of young people and adults to create a stronger bilingual workforce in the area.
It strives towards the normalisation of the use of Welsh in economic situations and a more extensive use of the language in delivering services to the public.
CAMU will provide a programme of language courses specifically tailored for the workplace in partnership with local employers in the public and private sectors as well as third sector organizations who want to improve their bilingual customer service.
A series of training programs for young people in the language centre will also focus on improving bilingual skills for the workplace in areas such as care and public services.
The name CAMU was chosen as ‘camu’ in Welsh means ‘step’ implying that a visit to the centre is taking a step towards improving and using your Welsh language skills.
In December last year, Coleg Cambria was awarded a grant from the Welsh Government’s Capital Investment Fund to establish a Language at Work Centre in partnership with Wrexham County Borough and Flintshire County Councils.
The College went on to remodel and refurbish a block of old classes on the Yale site and transformed them to create a hub of multi-purpose rooms hosting the latest technology.
The centre will also provide an opportunity for adults to practise their Welsh in a work situation together with a place for students and school pupils in the area to use the Welsh language in a social context. It is hoped that CAMU will also act as a trigger for increasing and supporting Welsh language activities in the town of Wrexham and more widely across the counties of Wrexham and Flintshire.
“CAMU offers an unique and innovative opportunity for organisations and businesses to develop their capacity to provide a bilingual service to their customers,” said David Jones, OBE, Chief Executive and Principal of Coleg Cambria.
“We are committed at Coleg Cambria to champion bilingualism, Welsh culture and heritage and CAMU is a key and exciting milestone as we work towards the goal of creating a bilingual community in this part of Wales. We are confident that CAMU will have a positive impact on the workplaces of the area.”
As well as being a venue for holding classes and activities, CAMU is also home to Wrexham County Borough Council’s Welsh language advisory teachers. It is also intended to establish a number of joint ventures with local organisations at the hub including the development of a bilingual radio station for young people.
The First Minister said: “It is a pleasure to be here in Wrexham to open ‘CAMU’ – one of 10 new centres we are funding across Wales. The 2011 census results have been disappointing in the area with over a 4% reduction in the numbers that speak the language – I was delighted, therefore, that we have been able to support the proposal to establish this Language at Work Centre.
“The Centre will be an important link with the Private Sector in the North East and is a great resource for Wrexham town and surrounding areas, to promote the language as a ‘language for the workplace’ amongst people of all ages.
“I’m also glad that the Centre is reaching out to the surrounding community and has established an advisory panel from amongst local organizations to be an integral part of the planning and sharing of ideas.”