Dr Mike Chick is a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Wales specialising in language teacher education.
Over the last 10 years, Mike’s work has largely been focused on improving access to language education for people seeking sanctuary in Wales and working to find ways to remove barriers to entering university.
He has led on a collaboration project with the Welsh Refugee Council and OASIS, to provide English language classes for refugees and sanctuary seekers. The project brings university students together with refugees who are often a similar age to deliver language education and break down the barriers for people arriving to Wales to build a new life.
Providing better pathways for those settling in Wales to live full lives is an important part of Mike’s role, he strives to give people the opportunity to progress in education or to find rewarding work that will boost their career prospects.
Mike devised the University of South Wales Sanctuary Scholarship programme for those seeking asylum and led the application for USW to become a University of Sanctuary.
Mike says, “There is a huge need for qualified, professional English language teachers for people seeking asylum in Wales and this award I share with all the ESOL teachers who go above and beyond language teaching every day to help their students feel a sense of belonging and inclusion in Wales.”
Committed to going the extra mile to support others, Mike has been volunteering as an ESOL teacher for the past nine years and since summer 2022 he has been organising weekly ESOL classes for Ukrainian refugees hosted at the University’s Treforest campus whilst leading on arrangements for twinning USW with a Ukrainian University.
He says, “Working with people seeking sanctuary who are escaping war, persecution, and terror, has been the most important, rewarding and life changing work I have done. I am fortunate to meet, on a daily basis, people who are facing tremendously challenging circumstances yet do so with such grace, humour, resilience, and fortitude that one can only be humbled and inspired. I am so proud that Wales aspires to be a Nation of Sanctuary and a place where everyone can get a second chance at education.”