Wednesday, 23 August, 2017

Learner Voice at the AONTAS AGM

Learners GroupThe AONTAS Annual General Meeting took place on Wednesday 24th May in Dublin. This year’s theme focused on ‘Widening Participation in Adult Learning’ and included inputs from a panel of adult learners and AONTAS STAR Awards winners The SAOL Project. AONTAS President Liz Waters opened the meeting by highlighting the key outcomes of work from 2016. Niamh O’Reilly, AONTAS CEO provided an update on the 2 year plan and Advocacy Lead, Benjamin Hendrickson presented our Advocacy Focus for 2017. 

We welcomed Moira Leydon, ASTI, Camilla Fitzsimons, Maynooth University, Brian Dooney, Age and Opportunity and Liam Ahearn Tipperary ETB to the Executive Board. 

Adult Learners Noeleen Watson, Joy Tendai-Kangere, Kevin Hanly and Imani Tutu took part in an inspiring panel discussion talking us through their experiences of returning to education. Following this there were table discussions where members highlighted the barriers to participation and ideas on how we could address these. The day concluded with a presentation by the women of  SAOL who talked about the impact of winning an AONTAS STAR Award. Their input included some thought provoking poetry and an engaging video. Liz Waters closed the event by highlighting the importance of adult education and the role of AONTAS.

EU Exchange for a Better Tomorrow

M1265763AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Ireland. As part of the Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow project (2015-2017), AONTAS in collaboration with Skills for Work, undertook ‘EU Exchange for a Better Tomorrow’, a professional exchange.

The delegation of eight comprised of the European Projects Officer at AONTAS, three Skills for Work staff, including their National Coordinator and four Skills for Work learners, coming from diverse backgrounds including: host families for student exchanges (Mná an Tí), a logistics warehouse operate and an employee at a semi-state railway company.

Over three days (24th -27th April), the delegation was hosted by the Malta Ministry of Education and Employment who organised a stimulating and busy programme of activities. Read more here.

Almost 100 learners take part in the National FET Learner Forum 2017

Limerick ClareThe National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum took place on Friday 7th April in Croke Park, Dublin. This event marked the second meeting of the forum when 100 learners from across Ireland met to discuss their achievements and challenges in FET. The learners in attendance were nominated to join the forum by their local education groups, and included particpants from Traineeships, community education, the Youthreach programme and the Back to Education Initiative.

The agenda included a range of speakers, including the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD who officially opened the forum event; panel speakers included Paul O’Toole, CEO of SOLAS, Clare McMahon, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) and Alan Hand, adult learner representative. John Lonergan also gave an inspiring input on the Power of Education for Change.

Read our blog here