Adult Learners' Festival

AONTAS STAR Award Winners 2021

Adult Learning Initiatives that support Health and Wellbeing

Winner Small & Medium Organisation

Age Friendly Roscrea - Care and Connection through Covid

Age Friendly Roscrea is a community group that aspires to make growing older in Roscrea inclusive, caring and fun. It’s Care and Connection through Covid initiative has provided an essential service including care packages and health and safety information since March 2020. The group has offered a place, a voice and an ear for everyone during COVID-19.

Winner Large Organisation

East Limerick Traveller Project

The project is a collaboration between Ballyhoura Development and the HSE Traveller Health Unit (Mid West). The Project works with the Traveller Community to improve health outcomes and quality of life for members of the Travelling Community in East Limerick.

Adult Learning Initiatives that support Sustainable Development through Education
Sponsored by - Concern Worldwide


Cycle Up - Roscommon Women's Network

Roscommon Women’s Network’s Cycle UP Group upcycles textile items from their charity shop and produces different products for sale. In doing so participants master new sewing, design, pattern making and cutting skills as well as learning about the impact that textile waste has on the environment with expert trainers.

Adult Learning Initiatives that support Social Inclusion
Sponsored by - The Open University in Ireland

Winner Large Organisation

Irish Wheelchair Association's Ability Programme

The Ability Programme provides job seeking and employability skills coaching to young people aged 18 - 29 with any physical disabilities. Ability focuses on developing decision-making skills, critical thinking, self-directed learning and self-advocacy skills.

Winner Small & Medium Organisation

Aiseiri Progression Programme

The Aiseiri Progression Programme is a specialised education & training programme supporting men and women in addiction treatment and in the early years of addiction recovery to access meaningful education and training, set goals for work and to move forward equipped with the skills and confidence to achieve these goals.

Adult Learning Initiatives that support Learner Voice
Sponsored by - Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)


Belfast Recovery College - Making Silent Voices Heard

Belfast Recovery College implemented a unique Learning and Leadership Initiative developing a Community of Leaders through Learning - Making Silent Voices Heard. Their vision was to place the Learner Voice at the core of the College leadership, operations and curriculum.

Adult Learning Initiatives that support Third-level Access and Engagement
Sponsored by - The Teachers' Union of Ireland


Power in Participation

Power in Participation is a collaborative project looking at the impact of an outreach NUI Diploma in Community Development Practice on the personal and professional lives of programme graduates, all from the Traveller community.

Special Recognition for a European Social Fund (ESF) Initiative
Sponsored by - the European Social Fund


WALK REAL Ability Project

This project has kept service users connected and motivated during the COVID-19 restrictions by providing an accessible online space for them and staff to share information and resources. The “Employability Skills Padlet” has empowered the learners to take charge of their own learning and for staff to build their capacity to support people remotely.

Special Recognition for Mitigating Educational Disadvantage through Innovation (during COVID-19)
Sponsored by - Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI)


My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course

This course provides skills-based training and support for young people with an intellectual disability between the ages of 15 and 20. In November 2020 Blossom Ireland launched an assertiveness course through an accessible blended learning model called My Blossom Channel.