On Monday 1 April, Aled Roberts started in his job as
Welsh Language Commissioner; and for the next three months he will travel the
length and breadth of Wales to meet people and to understand their experiences
of using the language.
Aled Roberts is the second person to hold the post of
Welsh Language Commissioner, following Meri Huws’s seven years in the role. He
is a former Assembly Member (2011-16) and has worked as a consultant for the
Welsh Government on developing Welsh-medium education.
Drawing from his personal experience with the
language, he is keen to understand what motivates people who are able to speak
Welsh to use the language, or not to do so, in their everyday lives.
He said: "I was brought up in a Welsh speaking household
in Rhos; but received my education in English. Even though my group of friends
were all able to speak Welsh when we were growing up, we always spoke English
with each other. It was not until I came home for Christmas after spending my
first term at Aberystwyth University that I noticed we were missing out on so
much by not speaking Welsh with each other; and so, one
night, we decided to switch to speaking Welsh with each other. It wasn't easy
to change, and it took a few months for us to get used to it; but it was
possible, and we’ve spoken with each other in Welsh ever since.
"I know that my friends and I were not the only
ones who did not see Welsh as a language to use when talking to each other; and
that choosing to speak English is even more common these days. We all want to
see a bilingual Wales and realise the vision of a million Welsh speakers. As
Commissioner, I want to understand what are the barriers that prevent people -
and young people in particular - from choosing to use Welsh, and see how we can
all work together to overcome these barriers. I also want to hear what are
people's experiences of using Welsh in the workplace and when accessing
Over the coming months, Aled Roberts will travel
around Wales to meet people in their communities to understand the reality of
the situation. He will use people's real life experiences to guide his work in
strengthening the position of the language.
He said: “I will try to visit as many communities as
possible during the next three months. But if someone is a member of a local
club, group or society and want to invite me along for a chat, then I’d
encourage them to get in touch, and I’d be very happy to meet with them.”