In preparation of Diwrnod Shwmae Sumae on 15 October, we can announce that Ceredigion Work Welsh Scheme Learner of the Year is Melisa Elek.

Melisa is an Essential Skills Training Officer working at Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training (HTC). She has been studying Welsh on the Council’s Work Welsh Scheme for three years. As a crowning achievement to her commitment to her studies, Melisa Elek passed her Advanced level Welsh exam in the Summer of 2022. She truly is now one of the new Welsh speakers of Ceredigion.

Originally from Canada with her family’s roots in Croatia, Melisa Elek is a citizen of the world. She lived in many places across the world before coming to Ceredigion, making her home here because she felt the county was a wonderful place to raise a family. She moved to Wales determined to learn and use the Welsh language. By now she uses Welsh regularly in her personal and professional life. She speaks Welsh merrily with friends and neighbours. At work, she uses Welsh regularly with her colleagues and with the students in her class.

In accepting the Ceredigion Work Welsh Scheme Learner of the Year award, Melisa Elek paid tribute to the support she received on the Council’s Work Welsh scheme and the encouragement she received from HTC: “I had so much support from Ceredigion County Council’s Work Welsh scheme with the weekly intensive classes. I also had a lot of help from my tutor Huw Owen to prepare me for my Advanced level exam. I must also thank my managers at Hyfforddiant Ceredigion Training for encouraging me to attend the sessions.”

During the awards ceremony, Councillor Catrin M S Davies, Cabinet Member and Chair of the Council’s Language Committee, said: “What a pleasure it is to celebrate Melisa’s efforts and success. In congratulating her and sharing the good news it is also a chance for us as a county to take pride in the fact that we attract and keep new Welsh speakers. Long may this continue, and here’s hoping we can attract, encourage, and assist many more people to join the Welsh-speaking world in Ceredigion.

Congratulations to Melisa Elek and best wishes to everyone studying on the Council’s Work Welsh scheme, especially those who have been inspired to start studying this year, as we work together to achieve the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050. In Melisa Elek’s own words: “Give it a go, and don’t give up! It’s certainly worth the effort, and learning Welsh enrichens the experience of living in Ceredigion and in Wales”.

Ceredigion’s Work Welsh scheme is run in partnership with the National Centre for Learning Welsh. Arranged and delivered by Huw Owen, the Work Welsh Training Officer, and the Council’s Learning and Development Team, the program has now run for 5 years. It provides training for staff from all parts of the Council at all levels of learning Welsh. In addition, the programme provides informal learning opportunities to staff, including the Clwb Cinio and many cultural events, in order to provide a holistic experience of the world of Welsh in Ceredigion.

Go ahead and celebrate the Welsh language on Diwrnod Shwmae Su’mae on 15 October. Give it a go.