Our Partnerships Manager Nicola Day-Coiley, who is bilingual and was raised in a Welsh-speaking household, talks about our recent project to translate our online mentoring platform into Welsh.
Although we’ve been connecting young Welsh people with inspiring mentors for years, our online mentoring platform has only ever been available in English.
That all changed when our long-term partners Reaching Wider asked us to develop a Welsh language version of our platform so that we could offer mentoring to everyone in Wales.
This aligns with our mission to give young people access to opportunities regardless of where they live, allowing us to work in some of the most remote areas of the UK. Young people don’t need to travel anywhere on our programmes; all they need is access to a smartphone.
Wales is the least socially mobile of the four nations and has the least disadvantaged young people applying to university. Although many young people speak English, areas like Caernarfon in north-west Wales is 81% Welsh speaking. There’s been a huge investment in Welsh medium schools lately, so we wanted to make sure young people could speak to a mentor in the language they’re most comfortable using.
It’s also a great learning opportunity for the mentee and the mentor. Our mentors always tell us they learn from their mentees as well as vice versa, so it’s a great opportunity for mentors to practice their Welsh. There are more job opportunities in Wales if you can speak Welsh as well as English.
We started developing the Welsh version of our platform last summer, with our Head of Tech beginning the build in November. You might be surprised how big an undertaking it was on the technical side of things!
We’d incorporated feedback from the steering group, made up of HEFCW, schools, universities and young people.
We launched the programme in February and still have mentees joining every week. So far, 200 young people have been matched with a mentor and have sent 1,410 messages!
Now that our platform is available in Welsh, we can’t wait to start work with more organisations and schools in Wales so we can reach even more young people with our online mentoring.
Fe welwn ni chi cyn bo hir, Cymru!
The Reaching Wider Programme has contributed to the technical development of the Welsh-medium Brightside mentoring platform and app – The Reaching Wider Programme is a HEFCW-funded, Wales-wide, collaborative, widening access to higher education initiative. The Reaching Wider Programme supports transition to, progression and success in higher education (HE) for Reaching Wider priority groups under-represented in higher education in Wales.
Mae’r Rhaglen Ymestyn yn Ehangach wedi cyfrannu at ddatblygiad technegol llwyfan ac ap Cymraeg rhaglen Fentora Brightside. Mae’r Rhaglen Ymestyn yn Ehangach yn cael ei hariannu gan CCAUC ac mae’n gynllun cydweithredol sy’n ehangu mynediad at addysg uwch ledled Cymru. Mae’r rhaglen Ymestyn yn Ehangach yn cefnogi’r broses o bontio i addysg uwch ac mae’n cefnogi grwpiau blaenoriaeth Ymestyn yn Ehangach sy’n cael eu tangynrychioli mewn addysg uwch yng Nghymru i wneud cynnydd ac i lwyddo mewn addysg uwch.