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North Wales Fire and Rescue Service staff star in Welsh learning CD


Hot on the heels of being unveiled as the winner of the Welsh at Work category at last month's Institute of Welsh Affairs Inspire Wales Awards - North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is launching a new CD featuring the voices of some its own staff and which is aimed at helping other members of the workforce to learn Welsh.


This is the latest CD in the Service's Welsh language distance learning course and is a continuation of the material produced for levels 1 and 2.


Many members of staff have completed the level 2 course and this new CD, adapted from a learning programme run by North Wales Police, has been produced in direct response to demand from staff to progress with their Welsh language skills.


The new CD features the voices of the Service's own members of staff and will be featured on the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.


Ann Pierce, Finance Accounting Technician, was one member of the staff who recently completed the Level 3 Welsh language learning course offered by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. She said: "Learning a new language can be fun, and the CD is an invaluable tool to help staff on their way to fluency since it features a lot of additional learning material.


"I'm really looking forward to using the new CD to help practice my Welsh language skills - it's an easy way to keep key words and phrases at the forefront of your mind. I found using the Welsh I'd learnt often was the key to remembering it - and the CD will help me to do this."


Chief Fire OfficerSimon Smithsaid:  "Being a bilingual organisation enables us to provide the highest quality emergency response to the public ofNorth Wales- we often deal with vulnerable people in some very vulnerable situations where being able to provide a bilingual service can actually be a matter of life and death.


"Our staff have a very positive attitude towards the use of Welsh in our workplace, as well as in the community and the services we provide to the public. Staff who act as Welsh Champions work above and beyond their normal roles to help us to promote the use of the language and we actively encourage our employees to learn Welsh and use their skills. All this has brought us an even better standard of customer service.


"It is encouraging that we have experienced a real demand for bilingual services in our community - and the fact that the take up in receiving our home fire safety checks through the medium of Welsh has gradually risen from 4% to 20% in three years is proof of this.


"And we have recently adopted 'Cymraeg' stickers on firefighter helmets to help identify our Welsh speakers when they are out at incidents.


"We would like to thank our partners at North Wales Police and the former Welsh Language Board for their help and support with improving our Welsh language skills."

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