This is a guest post from the Widening Access team at Cardiff Metropolitan University.
The Widening Access team at Cardiff Metropolitan University work across Cardiff and South-East Wales; particularly with Refugees and Asylum Seekers. The main part of their work involves offering University standard courses in the community, including the two main Asylum and Refugee support centres in Cardiff: The Trinity Centre and Oasis. At Trinity in particular they run Preparation of Academic IELTS classes, in partnership with a local anti-poverty project, designed to help learners get to the level of English language required to gain entry to university or college. The classes are designed in such a way to help refugees and asylum seekers learn and gain the education they need for further study or work, while they are waiting for their residency applications to be proceed. The classes are also completely free and have been running for a number of years. Approximately 45 people enrol per year, and between 10 and 20 learners come through, and gain the level required and go on to further study. During this time, learners are also able to enrol on other courses run by the Widening Access team, join the university library and even gain Level 3 and Level 4 Higher Education credits through other modules the team run, whilst waiting for an application to be processed. It is this distinction, or lack of, that is crucial to their work. Asylum Seekers, Refugees, Stateless Persons, etc. all given the same opportunities as UK citizens through the removal of cost for a course. Anyone can enrol, complete and gain credit for these Widening Access learning opportunities through Cardiff Met. So that, once a person’s application is processed, they are able to clearly show that they have been engaged in an educative learning programme and move on to their choice of course or work in society.