A finance chief has copped a top award for her efforts in learning to speak Welsh.
Chartered accountant Kate Jackson, chief finance officer with the team supporting North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick, felt that learning Welsh would be a big help in her job.
At the end of a successful 18-month course at Coleg Llandrillo, Kate was presented with the coveted Welsh Learner of the Year (Entry Level) Award during a ceremony at Y Galeri in Caernarfon.
The certificate, now proudly displayed on the wall of her office at police HQ in Colwyn Bay, celebrates the fact that she was one of the three most proficient learners from the group of 27 people taking the course at the Llandrillo College.
Kate says her new found linguistic skills are already enabling her to have simple conversations with her colleagues, which she hopes to turn into full fluency as she becomes more competent and used to using Welsh on a regular basis.
Kate, who has been with the PCC’s office for almost two years, has spent most of her career in local government finance roles and studied to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy at the University of Wolverhampton while also working. Over the years she had gradually added to her qualifications.
At one stage Kate spent three years with an aerospace design company in Munich and during that time decided to learn German.
She said: “I got an O Level in German when I was at school but it took a good 12 months before I became fluent in it while I was in Munich.
“Having lived abroad, I know how much it is appreciated when one makes the effort to try to communicate with people in their first language.
“The Police and Crime Commissioner, together with North Wales Police Force, has a clear policy to promote bilingualism at work and as a new employee with no previous knowledge of Welsh, I felt it was up to me to do my best to learn the language.
“I started on the learners’ course at Coleg Llandrillo and did one night a week there with the lessons lasting about two hours.
“It was very intensive but most of all it was fun and the other people on the course were learning Welsh for various reasons including for work.
“North Wales Police also has its own internal Welsh learners’ courses and I also managed to qualify for level two and level three on those.”
“I use Welsh as often as I can at work and I’m now able to have simple conversations with people.
“I feel that I’m improving all the time and I’d love to be able to speak the language fluently eventually.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick had high praise for Kate’s initiative in deciding to learn Welsh.
He said: “I am enormously proud of what she has been able to achieve and the fact that she won the Welsh learners’ award.
“Bilingualism is embedded in the systems of North Wales Police and of my office as PCC and I strongly believe in the bilingual approach as we police an area that is bilingual.
“It is difficult to speak a language when you have to acquire the ability to do so, but I think Kate has set a really good example to others.”