European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL)

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AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Ireland. Our current project is titled Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways (2020-2021) started in January 2020. In 2014 AONTAS was nominated by the Department of Education and Skills to become the National Coordinator for the implementation of the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL).

The EAAL highlights the need to raise awareness and increase participation in adult learning. The project is funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union and co-financed by the Department of Education and Skills through SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority

The aim of this project is to develop innovative and community-based methods, identify the needs of learners, and develop policy recommendations for engaging vulnerable and marginalised adults in Irish adult education.

Priority Areas:



Project Activities

Project Advisory Group


The PAG is our governance structure for the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Ireland with 25 stakeholders from across the sector including DES, SOLAS, QQI, ETBI, NALA, Maynooth University, DCU, St Vincent de Paul, Léargas, and the Teachers Union of Ireland.

National Coordinator Network

The National Coordinators from across Europe collaborate through meetings and peer learning activities. There is huge value in this mechanism as Coordinators build relationships, share best practice, identify and discuss challenges, and continue to build the adult learning sector.

Hosting Study Visits

Supporting transnational cooperation with Ministries, National Coordinators and other education bodies.

One Step Up Information and Referral Service

This programme continues to succeed in encouraging adults to take up programmes and services in Ireland in the field of adult learning. The service includes:

- website
- freephone helpline
- messaging service
- information booklet
- promotional materials
- national campaigns
- outreach activities (fairs, exhibitions, events)

Recognition of Prior Learning

This project focusses on RPL through three core activities;

  1. Analysis of current RPL practices and learner pathways in Ireland, and best practice in Europe.
  2. Development and delivery of professional development programme for community adult education tutors and staff to build their capacity in this area.
  3. Undertaking of RPL community education pilot study.

AONTAS is collaborating with ACE in University College Cork on the first two activities in the RPL programme.

Learners as Leaders



LAL is an informal learning programme that seeks to empower and create social change within the adult learning sector designed and delivered by AONTAS the National Adult Learning Organisation.

Unit One:     Learner Stories
Unit Two:     Peer Mentoring
Unit Three:  Advocacy and Consultation
Unit Four:    Public Representation
Unit Five:     Professional Roles

Communications and Dissemination

AONTAS promotes adult learning continually by communicating the transformative impact it has on learners by sharing personal stories, blogs, research, podcasts and using social and print media. Utilising a multi-channel approach the EAAL project runs two national campaigns per year and disseminates activities and offers information and support directing learners to relevant services including One Step Up. In addition, AONTAS staff present at conferences and events bringing learners to share their experience and help build understanding for the capacity building of the sector in Ireland and Europe.

Adult Education Summit

Based on the huge success of AONTAS’ first Lifelong Learning Summit in 2019, as a closing event for the previous EAAL project, AONTAS will bring stakeholders from across the adult learning sector in Europe in 2021 for another adult education summit.


AONTAS welcomes collaboration and input with all areas of the European Agenda seeking to provide the best programme for policy implementation in adult learning and support quality, equity-based education for all. To get involved, please contact AONTAS Head of Advocacy, Dearbháil Lawless at