School of Medicine wins Welsh Education Champion Awards

17 May 2017

From left to right: Sara Whittam and Awen Iorwerth receive their Welsh Education Champion Awards 2017
From left to right: Sara Whittam and Awen Iorwerth receive their Welsh Education Champion Awards 2017

Two Welsh medium staff members at Cardiff University's School of Medicine have won the Welsh Education Champion Awards at the 2017 Enriching Student Life Awards (ESLA).

The ESLA Awards Ceremony is an annual event created by Cardiff Students' Union to recognise staff and students who contribute to the Cardiff University experience. Both Sara Whittam and Dr Awen Iorwerth were selected by students in recognition of their work in Welsh medium education.

Sara, the School's Welsh language Development Manager and  Awen, Welsh medium Lecturer, are both funded by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol.

A Welsh medium first

The School of Medicine has recently encouraged several positive developments in its Welsh medium provision. In January Dr Awen Iorwerth presented the first Welsh medium lecture on bone health at Cardiff University This was a great success with over 200 students present.

Seven School of Medicine Students were also the first to be awarded Incentive Scholarships by the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol earlier this year. The Coleg offers scholarships worth £1500 for students who intend studying at least 33% of their undergraduate course in the medium of Welsh.

In addition, the School's Welsh medium undergraduate students recently featured in S4C's documentary series,'Doctoriaid Yfory' (Tomorrow's Doctors). The popular series demonstrated how much Welsh speaking patients value being able to discuss their conditions in their first language.

Using your language skills

But this is just the beginning as both Sara and Awen have plans to further develop the School's Welsh language provision. Awen explained:

"I'm delighted to have received this award -particularly as this is a nomination by the students. But receiving this award doesn't mean our work is complete. We've only just started! Although we have acted upon several opportunities, it's essential that the Welsh medium curriculum is established and normalised within a School that sees its importance for Wales based students and patients."

Sara added: "It's a great honour to have received this award on behalf of everyone who has contributed towards developing medical education in Wales. Over the years our students have been eager to have more Welsh medium provision to enable them to use their first language with patients on placements and at work. We hope students and patients will benefit from the exciting developments to come."

Elliw Iwan, the Cardiff University Coleg Cymraeg Branch Officer, also reached the shortlist for the Welsh Education Champion award. You can find out more about the School of Medicine's Welsh language opportunities by visiting the website.