Sunday, 20 August, 2017

Blog Archive

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

Posted on April 13, 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.

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‘European Union: Solidarity in a time of Uncertainty’

Posted on March 21, 2017

BL5Q4725On 10th March, almost 100 attendees took part in the AONTAS EU Seminar- ‘European Union: Solidarity in a time of Uncertainty’. The event marked the closing event of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2017.

The agenda included 10 speakers, spanning from academics, to practitioners, to learners. Twelve Slovenian adult learning practitioners and learners also participated in the morning’s proceedings, as part of a week-long study visit to Ireland.

Minister John Halligan

Delivering the Opening Address, Minister John Halligan acknowledged the important work of AONTAS in supporting adult education in Ireland. He highlighted the wider benefits that learning has to health, personal development, social engagement and community development, and noted that Ireland is leading the way in making a commitment to learner representation at both national and regional level.

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Permanent link | Categories: EU Impact

Learner Voice at the Centre of European Vocational Skills Week

Posted on December 20, 2016

Imani Tutu1The first European Vocational Skills Week took place from 5th to 9th December 2016. As the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL), AONTAS welcomed the introduction of this initiative. It provided an opportunity to profile the diversity of education and training opportunities available to learners across the EU with hundreds of events taking place. It also provided AONTAS with an opportunity to highlight the importance of the learner voice at both a national and European level.

As part of the week, AONTAS attended a two-day conference in Brussels “Adult Skills: Empowering People”, with over 250 participants attending from across the EU and hosted the launch of ‘I’m an Adult Learner 2016’ on 9th December in Dublin. 

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We’ll have another day at the fair

Posted on December 06, 2016

BL5Q4258AONTAS has supported a number of learners to become advocates and raise their voice on the importance of adult learning - Alan Hand is one such learner. Alan shared his experience of returning to learning at the National Adult Learner Forum which took place in the Mansion House, Dublin in February 2016. He has taken part in a number of high profile media interviews throughout the year and is representing learners at the European Commission’s Adult Skills Conference in Brussels this week as part of the European Vocational Skills Week. Adult learners are now being represented and influencing policy at local, national and European level.

Name: Alan Hand

Place of Learning: Abbeyleix Further Education Centre, Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB), Co Laois

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Permanent link | Categories: Learner Story

Without the access course I would not have been prepared for university

Posted on November 28, 2016

John DuffyJohn Duffy worked in the private sector for over 20 years but when he became unemployed he decided he needed a new direction. He returned to education through the University College Dublin (UCD) access programme. Through the course, John developed a solid foundation of skills which prepared him for progression to a full-time third level programme. John received a huge amount of support which encouraged him on his learning journey and also helped change his negative perception of formal education.

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Permanent link | Categories: Learner Stories

AONTAS Membership Engagement: A Vital Link for the Community

Posted on November 25, 2016

JimPriorJim Prior is Coordinator of Southill Family Resource Centre, a member of the Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN) and Vice President of AONTAS. The LCEN represents over 19 community education based organisations across Limerick city and they have been members of AONTAS for over 12 years. Here Jim shares how the LCEN has engaged with the work of AONTAS over this time.


“AONTAS membership has given us the opportunity to contribute our grassroots perspective and influence the national agenda for adult and community education at a top level.”

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I realised my qualifications were not recognised here

Posted on November 21, 2016

Colette picAfter building a successful career on a secretarial course at the Senior Cycle College in Ballyfermot, and further professional and workplace training in Switzerland, Colette Flynn returned home to Ireland but soon realised her workplace training and qualifications and experience were not recognised. She decided to return to education in order to gain the recognition she deserved. She entered the ALBA programme – Bachelor of Arts for Personal and Professional Development for Adult Learners. The programme was learner centred, recognised prior learning and allowed participants to have a choice in their own learning. Due to the closure of All Hallows College, the ALBA programme’s last students will graduate in 2017. Alumni, including Colette, have come together to form the ALBA Association. They recently became members of AONTAS and their aim is to encourage third level institutes and community groups to make the ALBA programme available for other adult learners.  

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"Adult learners can use their skills, know-how and experience to excel in a learning environment"

Posted on November 14, 2016


Joy -Tendai Kangere returned to education through the UCD Access and Lifelong Learning programme. The programme prepares adults, who may not have formal qualifications, for successful study at University level. Joy completed the Access to Arts & Human Sciences course which allowed her to progress to study for a Bachelor of Civil Law Honours degree.

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I Finally Obtained my “Deferred Dream”

Posted on November 07, 2016

BL5Q4197Una Buckley is an adult learner from Dublin and returned to education to complete what she calls her “deferred dream”. Una achieved a certificate through an outreach programme from Maynooth University and went on to finish a degree in All Hallows. She has become a strong advocate for adult learning; representing learners at national level and speaking at numerous adult education events and conferences including the 9th ICAE World Assembly in Montreal, Canada in June 2015.

Una shared her story at the first National Adult Learner Forum that took place in Dublin in February:

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D8CEC - 20 Years from the Classroom to the Community

Posted on November 03, 2016

1 D8CEC Awards Ceremony

AONTAS is passionate about advocating for the value of community education and our Community Education Network (CEN), set up in 2007, is pivotal to this work. The CEN comprises of over 130 community education organisations who work collectively to gain recognition for community education, raise its profile and lobby to ensure it is adequately resourced. As an organisation we have long argued that community education has a proven track record in effectively engaging the most educationally disadvantaged learners and providing quality educational experiences that meets their needs and the needs of the local community.

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(93 blog posts)