Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the Adult Learners' Festival?

The 2023 AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival will take place from the Monday 6th – Friday 10th March. This will be a nationwide celebration of adult learning coordinated by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation in collaboration with other key national organisations and stakeholders.

Over the past sixteen years, the Festival has become a firm fixture in the Irish adult learning calendar, showcasing the range of learning opportunities available across the country and encouraging adults to try something new.

2. What are the STAR Awards?

The STAR Awards are an awards initiative coordinated by AONTAS as part of the annual Adult Learners' Festival to acknowledge the fantastic work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland.

Now in their 17th year, the STAR Awards recognise outstanding work in adult learning. The STAR Awards also give initiatives the opportunity to spotlight their excellent work across Ireland and bring national recognition to learners, staff and organising bodies.


3. Who can nominate a project?

Nominated Initiatives are welcome from all groups, throughout Ireland, as long as they focus on adult and community education and demonstrate innovative approaches to adult learning within their relevant category. Nominations for this year are now closed and winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony in March 2023!


4. What are the categories?

Nominations are invited from any individual, group or organisation involved in adult learning in five categories:

5. What are the judges looking for?

The following bullet points are examples of what can make a winning initiative. It is recommended that nominated initiatives try to demonstrate a variety of these:

6. Why should I nominate an initiative for a STAR Award?

It is important that we continue to showcase the value of adult and community education in responding to the needs of individuals, communities, society and the economy. Adult learning initiatives have adapted and reimagined their learning provision including; new ways of recruitment and outreach, online/ hybrid learning and assessment, utilising new methods of communication technology and providing safe spaces for those learners to engage in education during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also some unique opportunities and prizes for the shortlisted projects and eventual winners.

The STAR Awards are the perfect opportunity to highlight the value of adult learning to a variety of audiences - politicians, funders, media and the wider public to help spread the voice and visibility of adult learning and the vital service it provides.

7. Who judges the STAR Awards?

The independent STAR Awards Judging Panel includes representation from a number of key stakeholders in the adult and community education sector in Ireland.

8. How do I nominate a group?

Nominations are now closed for this year, but keep an eye on our website and social media for updates about the shortlist. The winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony on Friday March 10th 2023.