Adult learning is transformative with wide-ranging benefits at the personal, community and societal level. Persistent educational inequality in the adult population is unacceptable. In this plan we will deliver work of the highest quality for our members so that adult learners have the opportunity to fulfil their education aspirations, which they so richly deserve.
For all adults to achieve their educational aspirations through an equitable lifelong
For all adults to achieve their educational aspirations through an equitable lifelong learning system.
Our mission is to advocate for the right of all adults in Ireland to quality learning
Our mission is to advocate for the right of all adults in Ireland to quality learning throughout their lives, and to promote the value and benefits of lifelong learning.
AONTAS has a growing membership of 400 organisations and individuals
AONTAS has a growing membership of 400 organisations and individuals committed to lifelong learning. Our membership includes learners; tutors; and statutory, nongovernmental, community, and voluntary organisations from across the island of Ireland.
We respond to member issues, make policy submissions, publish evidence-based policy papers, and host policy events with stakeholders, policy makers and politicians. We are also represented on a diverse range of national steering groups and committees and at EU level.LEARN MORE
We produce and publish the internationally recognised and long-established (founded in the 1980s) Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education – The Adult Learner as a joint publication with the Adult Education Officers Association (AEOA). This publication provides essential reading for anyone interested in or studying adult learning.LEARN MORE
We support community education organisations through the 100+ member- strong, nationally recognised structure – the AONTAS Community Education Network, established in 2007. We provide its members with essential support, advocacy and continuous professional development opportunities to give voice to and support the sustainability of the community education sector.LEARN MORE
We promote lifelong learning nationally through an extensive communications strategy that highlights the value and benefits of adult learning, and supports members to promote their work.LEARN MORE
The Adult Learners’ Festival is an internationally recognised nationwide festival of adult learning that encourages adults to return to education and we support our members to highlight opportunities available through open-day events. The AONTAS STAR Awards recognises excellence in adult learning provision that advances educational equality and holistic learner-centred programmes.LEARN MORE
We provide essential opportunities for our members to link with other adult learning practitioners from across Ireland, to build new connections and learn about the latest updates from the sector. This work includes hosting membership meetings, informing members through our social media channels, regular targeted correspondence to members, and through our monthly e-bulletin ‘AONTAS News’.LEARN MORE
We promote Irish adult learning expertise in Europe. We lead and participate in strategically significant ERASMUS+ programmes and extend opportunities to our members. AONTAS is active in all three ERASMUS+ key action programmes: KA1 mobility Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme for adult learning practitioners, KA2 and KA3 as national coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL). We are on the Board of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA).LEARN MORE
We support adult learners to become advocates by sharing their lived experiences of adult learning. This includes providing them with an opportunity to share their issues through consultations, publishing learner stories across our communication channels, supporting learners to participate or speak at events, and engaging with policy makers and politicians at national and EU level. We also lead and deliver the National FET Learner Forum as part of the FET Strategy (2014-2019).LEARN MORE
We provide information on education and training options to adults in Ireland through our One Step Up Information Referral Service. Information is delivered through a Freephone Helpline, our website (www.onestepup.ie), our One Step Up Information Booklet, through targeted communications campaigns, and participation at regional fairs and events throughout the country.LEARN MORE
“Life involves learning throughout all stages”
“I met a diverse group of people and listened to inspirational stories”
Creating an inclusive lifelong learning society: Everyone should have the opportunity to actively participate and succeed in adult learning and to fulfil their educational ambitions regardless of their past educational experience, social class, sexual orientation, civil status, gender, race, ethnicity, religion or disability. The policy and practice in the adult, further, community, and higher education systems should be continually shaped by acting on a diverse range of authentic learner voices.
Community education will be sustainably funded, effectively measured and recognised on an equal footing with other areas of the education system. It will be recognised as having a specific and crucial role in supporting educational equality.
Policy makers will recognise the role lifelong learning plays in achieving social, civic, environmental and economic sustainability. We will also ensure the sustainability of AONTAS as an organisation.
AONTAS is committed to supporting our membership across the island of Ireland, with a specific focus on rural areas, to engage in advocacy. AONTAS will support adult learners and our members to become even more effective local, regional and national lifelong learning advocates.
AONTAS will support the realisation of the wide-ranging potential of adult learning for societal benefit and progressive social change by providing robust, up-to-date evidence through a newly established research unit that offers learner-centred, practitioner-based research purpose built to inform and enhance the impact of our advocacy work.
AONTAS will deliver grassroots-led, evidence-based policy submissions and position papers that advance educational equality benefiting members, adult learners, their families, local communities and society as a whole.
AONTAS will communicate the value of our work and that of our members with a range of key stakeholders, policy makers, and politicians, raising public awareness of the importance of adult education.