Friday, 27 November, 2015

AONTAS Announces Appointment of New CEO

NORAONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, has appointed Niamh O’Reilly as Chief Executive Officer, with effect from 1st January 2016. The appointment was made following a competitive open recruitment process, with applications received from a wide range of national and international candidates.

Niamh O’Reilly will take over the role from the current CEO, Berni Brady, who is stepping down from the organisation next month, after 23 years at the helm.  Niamh currently serves as Head of Strategic Development at AONTAS, and has been a member of the senior management team for seven years in the roles of Head of Membership Services and Head of Strategic Development.

Niamh said her priorities as CEO include: increasing membership involvement in advocacy activities; strengthening AONTAS’s position as the National Coordinator of the European Agenda on Adult Learning; and broadening the debate on the wider value and benefits of adult and community education.  Niamh has emphasised AONTAS' continued commitment in keeping learners at the heart of all we do.

Niamh holds a number of qualifications, including a Higher Diploma in Adult Education from UCD, a Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics from Trinity College Dublin, an MSc in Biological Science, also from Trinity College Dublin, and a BSc Hons in Biological Science from the University of Dundee. She is currently undertaking a PhD at NUI Maynooth, exploring the value of non-formal adult education for increasing diversity in higher-level education. She is also an elected board member of the European Association for the Education of Adults since 2011 and acts as a guest lecturer at NUI Maynooth.

To read the press release, click here.  

New developments to ‘One Step Up’ to make it even easier for adults to find their Education and Training Options

OneStepUp2One Step Up is a project set up as an initiative which promotes the EU agenda for adult learning and raises awareness about education and training options available through a website, an online calendar of events and a Freephone Helpline 1800 303 669.

Since the website was launched in November 2013 the project has received  11,189 profiles through the One Step Up website, received over a thousand calls through the Freephone Helpline and promoted over 900 education and training events taking place nationwide.

This year AONTAS, who manage the project and who have been assigned the role of National Co-ordinators for the implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) carried out a survey with key stakeholders (learners, providers) to get feedback on the usability of the website. 

To read more about the new developments to One Step Up click here

The National Adult Learner Forum 2016

Solas 23AONTAS has many years’ experience of organising and facilitating learner events and giving people a platform to voice their issues. Examples of this include our Lobby for Learning Days in which policy makers were given the opportunity to engage in dialogue with learners, and the SOLAS Learner Consultation in which learners were given an opportunity to help influence the Further Education and Training (FET) Strategy. As a result of this work AONTAS has been named as the main lead organisation in the FET Strategy to establish a National Adult Learner Forum.

The 1st National Adult Learner Forum meeting will take place on Friday 26th February 2016 during our Adult Learners’ Festival. Our goal is to create a National Adult Learner Forum that facilitates meaningful engagement of learners across FET programmes so that learners can effectively influence national FET policy. In order to build a solid foundation for this yearly event, 2015 will serve as an exploratory year so that AONTAS can learn from stakeholders and practitioners in order to identify what learner voice mechanisms exist at local level and how they can link to the National Adult Learner Forum.

To read more about the work of the National Adult Learner Forum click here.