ALL job vacancies advertised by the Welsh Government will now require applicants to have a basic "courtesy" level of Welsh.

It comes as the Welsh Government has published its new five-year Work Programme for Cymraeg 2050, the national strategy to reach one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

The programme, first set out in 2017, plans to reach a million Welsh speakers and double the language’s daily use by 2050.

Among the plans is milestones of 30 per cent of children in school year one to be in Welsh-medium education by 2031.

To help achieve that target, the new programme aims to increase the percentage of children taught in Welsh in year one to 26 per cent by 2026, up from 23 per cent last year.

Another measure is that all candidates for Welsh Government jobs must show basic levels of Welsh language skills - either on application or within six months of starting.

The strategy says: "All posts advertised by the Welsh Government will require candidates to demonstrate at least a basic “Courtesy” level of Welsh language skills within an agreed timeframe. Candidates will be expected to evidence those skills either on appointment or within an agreed and appropriate timeframe during their probationary period (usually within 6 months of starting in post)."

As part of the strategy, new job adverts will no longer say "no Welsh language skills required" as it "no longer reflects the requirements or ethos of the organisation".

The document adds: "This is to be replaced, as a minimum requirement for all posts, with wording emphasising that Welsh language skills are an asset to the Welsh Government.".

Courtesy level Welsh is defined as an ability to:

  • Pronounce Welsh language words, names, place names and terms
  • Answer the phone bilingually, greet people or make introductions bilingually
  • Understand and use proactively everyday expressions and simple key words relating to the workplace
  • Read and understand short texts providing basic information, for example in correspondence, or to interpret the content using available technology
  • Demonstrate language awareness – which includes an appreciation of the importance of the language in society and an awareness of what is required to provide bilingual customer service

Conservative Senedd member Tom Giffard wrote on Twitter: "The Welsh Government is becoming a closed shop. I'm proud to speak Welsh, but why should be excluding the 75% of people in Wales that don't from working for the Welsh Government? Shouldn't we just be appointing the best person for the job?

What else is in the Government’s work programme?

  • Introduce a Welsh-medium Education Bill
  • Introduce a 10-year plan to increase the number of Welsh and Welsh-medium teachers
  • Improve pupils' attainment of Welsh in English-medium schools
  • Develop a programme for supporting the use of Welsh by children and young people, with a focus on transition between education, the community, the family and the workplace.
  • Give Transport for Wales new powers to ensure rail, bus and active travel meet Welsh language standards
  • Create a Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan and use economic levers to strengthen Welsh speaking communities
  • A renewed focus on the benefits of workers using Welsh in the workplace

Publishing the plan, Jeremy Miles, minister for education and Welsh language, said: “Our vision for our language is outward-looking and inclusive and I want everyone in Wales to feel like the language belongs to us all.

“Cymraeg 2050 is a long-term strategy which sets out a road map and vision for creating bilingual citizens who have both the ability and opportunity to use Welsh in their everyday lives.

“By publishing this document early in this Government's term, we’re maintaining the momentum that’s grown since 2017 and we’re giving our partners a clear indication of our intentions for the next five years.

“We must plan carefully and decisively to increase the number of children and adults learning Welsh. We must create more opportunities for people to use the Welsh they have and we must ensure the right conditions exist for people to use the language together, whether in geographical or virtual communities, workplaces or social spaces.

“I look forward to working with our partners, across Wales, to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy learning and using Welsh.”