APPLICANTS looking to secure a job with the Welsh Government will soon have to have a basic level of Welsh language skills, it has been announced.

As part of their efforts to increase the number of Welsh speakers over the coming years, all applicants for government jobs will have to demonstrate a “courtesy” level of the language skill – either at the time of interview, or within six months of employment.

The requirement calls for people to be able to answer the phone bilingually, and speak and understand basic words and phrases.

It comes as the government hopes to grow the number of Welsh speakers to one million.

This was announced as part of the Cymraeg 2050 plan, as, earlier this week (Monday, July 13), plans for the next five years were unveiled.

While many support the effort to protect the national language, the announcement did not receive universal praise.

There was some political divide, with Conservative supporters arguing the best person should be hired for jobs.

Earlier this week, the Argus asked our readers what they thought of the announcement, and you can check out a selection of these comments below.

Argus readers react to Welsh language requirement for government jobs

The following comments were submitted to the South Wales Argus Facebook page here.

Leigh Richards said: “If I wanted a job with the say the French govt think some basic French language skills would come in useful. In fact if you want to work for any govt in the world a basic grasp of that country's native language would be necessary - why should Wales be any different?”

Andrea Kinnear: “Utterly ridiculous. Wales doesn't have the skill set needed to cover all Welsh Assembly jobs. It's just another misguided way of resurrecting a language. People should be able to choose what language they speak. There will be lots of dumbed down jobs given to people without the correct skill set just because they speak Welsh.”

SallyBella Clifford said: “Good grief, people. I can't speak Welsh in any meaningful way but I can do all that's required here and more after 2 weeks on Duolingo. If these very basic requirements are a barrier to you then I doubt you're much loss, to be honest.”

Mark Harris said: “The pool of talent able to work for the Welsh Government has just diminished hugely.”

Fixer Williams said: “An excellent move, well done Welsh government.”

Liam J. Dowler said: “If I’m honest Welsh language should be encouraged in all workplaces in Wales. I can’t be the only one who feels bad for not being able to speak the language. Gov has done good work in education, kids are very good at it. It should absolutely be encouraged in the workplace, but not enforced by any means.”

Carrie Hodson said: “Imagine working for the government in literally any other country and getting mad because they request you be able to greet people in the native language.”

Roy Purnell said: “The Welsh mafia strike again. The best person for the job.”

Wayne Lewis said: “Happened where I work a few years ago, hasn’t been a problem people just got on with it.”

Jeff Shute said: “This happened when S4C was born. Candidates were not employed by merit, but language skills? Sorry no.”

Jake Enea said: “No the Welsh government are just limiting opportunities and sending jobs over the border.”

Mansel Davies said: “We're not talking about people applying for a job at the supermarket or Marks and Spencers here. We're talking about people who want to work for the Welsh Government. Surely they would expect a certain knowledge of our language to come with the territory, and I would have thought applicants would welcome this decision.”

Read more stories from the South Wales Argus