Sunday, 20 August, 2017

What Next : Foreword

Adult learning in a time of reform


There have been a number of developments relevant to the adult and community education sector over the past few years. The further education and training sector is currently undergoing one of the most significant reform periods in its history. This reform is being driven in the context of cost savings but also elimination of duplication, streamlining of services and to create an integrated further education and training sector. 

This reform required new legislation which was enacted in 2013.  A brief summary of key changes is included below; please bear these in mind when reading this booklet, as some of the terminology, names of agencies etc will change when the legislation has been passed. The latest information on legislation and policy changes relevant to adult and community education is available in the policy section of the AONTAS website.

Please note that these changes should not affect your access as a learner to local adult education services.

 VECs (Vocational Education Committees)

In 2013 the number of VECs was reduced from 33 to 16 .  The Education and Training Act passed in July 2013 provided for the establisment of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs).  ETBs now co-ordinate all of the further education activities formerly provided by VECs, as well as the training activities provided at FÁS Training Centres.  For more information visit 


In 2011, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn announced the dismantling of FÁS and the establishment of a single co-ordinating body for the further education and training sector, SOLAS. For this first time SOLAS will co-ordinate provision within both the VEC sector and FÁS training.  FÁS staff were redeployed to both the Department of Social Protection and SOLAS. The Further Education and Training (SOLAS) legislation was enacted in July 2013, and SOLAS was established in November 2013.  Training Centres formerly run by FÁS have transferred to the relevant ETB. 

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

In November 2012 legislation (the Education and Training Act) was passed which brings together the agencies FETAC, HETAC and the NQAI to form a new qualifications authority. QQI is in the process of establishing new arrangements with providers who formerly dealt with FETAC and HETAC.  For more information visit 

Intreo ( the National Employment and Entitlements Service)

In October 2012 the government launched Intreo – a new approach to engaging with people on the live register.  The service is part of the governments 'Pathway to Work' strategy and  aims to offer earlier interventions to people who are on the live register in order to enhance their employment prospects.  Staff in Intreo will carry out an initial assessment of new entrants to the live register, and will refer them onto appropriate interventions depending on their needs. 

Intreo operates as a one-stop shop and uses an integrated decision making approach to help people back into employment as quickly as possible.  The service was originally piloted in four areas but will be phased in throughout the country during 2014. Intreo will work closely with SOLAS to help people on the live register to access training and education appropriate to their needs for employment.  

For more information on latest policy developments in adult and community education, visit our policy section or

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Last Updated: 28/08/2014 ^ back to top