Sunday, 20 August, 2017

What Next : What is Adult Basic Education?

What Next : Where can I find information about my learning options?

The Adult Education Guidance Initiative and other useful services


Adult Education Guidance Initiative (AEGI)

The Adult Education Guidance Initiative was established with the aim of providing a quality guidance service for adults.  It consists of 40 guidance projects throughout the country which provide a quality adult educational guidance service to the returning adult about qualification levels, student funding, qualification recognition and the stepping stones of progression within courses and towards a career.

The AEGI is aimed at those adults who are considering or participating in:

·         adult literacy

·         Vocational Training Opportunities Schemes (VTOS)

·         community education, including the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI).

Former residents of designated institutions are also eligible to receive guidance from the AEGI. Guidance Counsellors meet with adults on a one to one basis and also facilitate group guidance to identify, and combine competencies and advise on opportunities available. This service is free and is funded by the Department of Education and Skills. People who don’t fall in the target categories can still call a centre and get information.  

The Guidance Initiative is available through your local ETB (Education and Training Board). An Information Officer or Guidance Counsellor can assist you with your decision. To read more about Adult Guidance or to find a Guidance Counsellor in your area visit


Every year the AONTAS Information Referral Service provides both direct and referral information on adult education issues to individuals and groups. Please visit  or call 01-4068220.


Activelink is the premier online network for non-profit organisations. They provide information on jobs, tenders, volunteering, events, fundraising, training, publications and funding in the non-profit sector. The website is updated daily and filtered into 2 weekly newsletter bulletins – Activelink (jobs and volunteering) and Community Exchange (training and events). Visit

Career Directions

Career Directions is a FÁS web based guidance programme and can suggest suitable careers for you, taking into account your likes and dislikes for different aspects of work, your qualifications and your health. You should have a minimum of 30 minutes available to do the basic matching and look at suitable careers suggested for you. Remember, you can save your session at any time and retrieve your information at a later date. Please note that FÁS and the local VEC are being merged and will be replaced by the Local Education and Training Boards. Existing services will continue to be available until Legislation is in place under the newly formed  further education and training authority SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanunaigh agus Scileanna) during the course of 2012. 

Citizens Information

Citizens Information is an Irish eGovernment website provided by the Citizens Information Board. The site provides a wide range of public service information, from Government services to information on moving abroad and much more.  In particular their education section gives clear and up to date information on courses and financial supports. The Citizens Information Board also produces a number of publications about your rights and entitlements. The Citizens Information Phone service and Citizens Information Centres are funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board. They provide free, confidential, independent and impartial information to all.

You can access information from the citizen information as follows:

  • By phone through the Citizens Information Phone Service. Lo-Call 1890 777 121, Monday to Friday, 9am - 9pm
  • In person by calling to a Citizens Information Centre near you, visit  and click on find a centre.

City & Guilds

City & Guilds is committed to developing the skills of people and organisations to secure their personal and economic growth and prosperity. The Ireland branch office was established in Dublin in 2002 and since then have had a dedicated team in place to support local centres, agencies, employers and learners. Their qualifications were formally aligned to the National Framework of Qualifications in September 2008. This is an important milestone in benefiting learners in Ireland seeking to progress seamlessly onto the next level of their training and career progression. For further information on courses available visit


In 2009, The Irish Universities Association, Dublin Institute of Technology and partners, on a national basis, launched an access route for students who wish to progress to higher education. The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is for students with a disability. Further information and details are available on the website

Department of Social Protection

If you are unemployed then your first point of contact should be your local Social Welfare Office.  As part of the Governments 'Pathways to Work' strategy, Intreo services are being established in social welfare offices throughout the country.  Intreo is a single point of contact for all employment services and the provision of income supports. It provides individualised supports to jobseekers to assist them in getting back to work and increasing their employability, including information about further education and training.  For more information and to find a centre near you  visit 

Education and Training Boards

ETBs lead, deliver and administer education and training programmes at local and community level across the country.  There are 16 ETBs in total. ETBs offer many educational services to adults, including adult basic education, community education, the Back to Education Initiative and adult guidance. Many of these services are relevant to the labour market. The newly established ETBs will come under the remit of SOLAS and will include staff and services previously available from FÁS and the VECs.

  • ETBs provide further education and training to over 200,000 adults annually; much of this targeting disadvantage, those with low basic skills and those seeking a second chance at education and training
  • Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) programmes offer education and training to 33,748 school leavers and adults - ultimately providing access to employment and/or third level education
  • Self-financing evening classes, covering a very wide range of subject areas, cater to some 50,000 adults annually
  • In 2013 and 2014, ETBs will assume responsibility for training centres, which transfer from FAS and work with SOLAS to provide a range of training programmes for opportunities and other clients. 

EPIC (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities)

EPIC (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities) is a free programme run by Business in the Community Ireland that supports adults from EU states who are entitled to work in Ireland. It also support those from non-EU states with stamp 4 to help secure employment, training and education in Ireland. EPIC provides six weeks classroom based training plus ongoing individual support including English for work training, Career guidance and Interview Skills. For more information please email or call 01 874 3840. Applicants need an intermediate or higher level of English in order to take part in the course.


In 2009, The Irish Universities Association, Dublin Institute of Technology and partners, on a national basis, launched an access route for students who wish to progress to higher education. The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is targeted at students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Further information and details are available on the website


The INOU is the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed. The INOU is a federation of unemployed people, unemployed centres, unemployed groups, community organisations and Trade Unions. The INOU represents and defends the rights and interests of those who want decent employment and cannot obtain it. They provide information on training and resources available to the unemployed to help them get back to work. You can speak in complete confidence to an Information Officer in the INOU Welfare to Work section, directly on 01 856 0088, Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 5.00 pm.  For more information please visit  

Local Employment Services network – OBAIR

The Local Employment Services network provides a range of services to the local community focusing on the provision of practical support, advice, guidance and information relating to employment, training, return to work and welfare rights options. The Local Employment Service is a community-based organisation set up under the Area Partnerships and funded through FÁS. If you are interested in any of the services or programmes they have on offer, call into any of the twenty six offices around Ireland for more information. To find the nearest office to you, visit:

Local library

Local libraries usually provide a number of courses on a regular basis. Many public libraries, particularly the larger ones, provide resources to enable users learn or follow a course of study themselves. These include language learning booths and computer based training materials. Ask for details at your local branch.  To check what’s available at your local library, visit .


The National Adult Literacy Agency is an independent charity committed to making sure people with literacy and numeracy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to learning opportunities that meet their needs. The National Adult Literacy Agency provides telephone support, online courses and referral information on where to go for help. Visit or call the NALA freephone 1800 20 20 65.

Qualifax, the National Courses Database

If you are looking for a particular course, Qualifax is an excellent place to start. The site allows you to search courses by area or subject. It is a comprehensive database of courses available in a variety of education settings, including VTOS, distance learning etc throughout the country. Visit   


Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry and rural communities. Agricultural/Horticultural courses are delivered through their eight colleges and some Institute of Technology and UCD. They also have e-learning available through  For further information visit

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI)

The USI is the sole national representative body for students in Ireland. Founded in 1959, USI now represents more than 250,000 students in over forty colleges across Ireland.  For further information visit

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