The first accredited Agile course for public services in Welsh? Probably

📸 by Jon Li from Pexels

At the beginning of this year, I wrote about our intention to help organisations in Wales to do iterative, agile change in Welsh. Over the past two months, we have been improving, developing and translating our training to contribute to this goal.

We have been running our Agile Master in Public Services Programme for over 7 years. The course was developed in partnership with the Public Services Transformation Academy (established by the Cabinet Office), and to date, the programme has over 800 graduates.

The course teaches the principles of Agile and through several simulations and gives attendees the experience of how iterative change can be done in practice in a safe environment.

The training reflects how we help organisations tackle complex problems in their communities. We often start projects with our clients sharing the main principles of Agile and case studies directly from the training. This process helps build understanding (and confidence) in this way of working and helps to get everyone on the same page from the start.

In order for me to feel more comfortable running projects through the medium of Welsh and to create the necessary Welsh language and terminology, I knew we had to adapt and translate our training. I tried to start this process in the spring but failed completely.

At the time I think this was a result of a lack of confidence on my part using Welsh in the context of work. I think this is a common experience for those of us who moved away from Wales to start our careers. While I am comfortable enough nattering away in the pub, I have not used formal Welsh for over 15 years.

Starting the process of rebuilding my vocabulary (building it from scratch in some cases) was daunting. I was quite embarrassed of contributing to Welsh meetings (I still feel this embarrassment) and I think this discomfort was preventing me from investing the energy needed to help me feel more comfortable working through Welsh in general.

But with much encouragement from several pals and with a great deal of help from Alys Cowdy (one of my co-workers), last week, we managed to run our first cohort of the Agile Master of Public Services (diolch Cyngor Gwynedd). Better late than never! We ran 95% of the training through the medium of Welsh (all except for a few case studies shared by a non-Welsh speaking colleague) and even enabled the attendees to take the exam in Welsh.

I think this makes the programme the first Agile course designed for public services delivered completely in Welsh. I’m really proud of this. In order for the Welsh language to grow and thrive, I think we need to create opportunities for people to participate in every aspect of their life (if they want to) in Welsh. This shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be by design. Having seen my fluency erode away since leaving secondary school I’m not the best person to be creating these opportunities. But I am willing, so I’m going to keep trying.

In 2022 I have set ourselves the goal of running 5 cohorts of the course. If you would like to learn more about how to tackle complex problems using an agile approach, get in touch.

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Joseph Badman

Joseph Badman

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MD @WeAreBasis. I help public services solve messy problems one sprint at a time. Part-time wizard, meet-free meathead & self-management nerd 🎩🌍🤓.