A MECHANICAL engineer is lending her support to a Welsh Government drive to encourage more adults to take up Welsh lessons.

Catherine Mendez, 45, from Blaenavon, moved to Wales from Sunderland in 2008 and has been taking lessons with Welsh for Adults for five years.

Now she lives life bilingually and hopes to encourage others to learn the language, be they complete beginners or already proficient.

“I feel like a different culture has been available to me,” she said. “Learning the language of my new home has opened the door to the Welsh culture and I have found a new group of friends with whom I can practice my new language skills.”

Ms Mendez, an engineer at Newport-based Zodiac Aerospace, has been treasurer of Menter Iaith Casnewydd for three years, an organisation promoting community Welsh in Newport, and leads an informal bird walk at Newport Wetlands.

“I used to live in Germany and while there I picked up on some German words,” she said. “I believe languages are important to the culture of the country and the Welsh language certainly gives Wales its uniqueness. It would be a shame to lose that part of the heritage.”

Welsh for Adults centres can be found across Wales and offer courses to suit students from entry level stage right through to proficiency.

Minister for education and skills Huw Lewis said: “There is always a reason to learn Welsh, from learning a new skill, hoping to progress in the workplace, conversing with family or wanting to meet new friends.

“The Welsh Government has devised a strategy to make the Welsh language sustainable, but we can only succeed if we all take responsibility and use the language at every opportunity.”

For details, go to welshforadults.org or learn welsh.coleggwent.ac.uk