As an EU Member State, Ireland has access to EU funding programmes like Erasmus+ which support people to acquire new work skills, contributing to active citizenship, and personal development. Such programmes allow AONTAS to support our members to promote and profile the work of adult learning in Ireland. It also provides our members with an opportunity to learn from our EU neighbours and bring new ideas back to Ireland. In our latest blog we summarise the outcomes of our ‘Making an Impact at European Level’ project which supported the professional development of 7 AONTAS Community Education Network (CEN) member organisations.
Each year AONTAS get many calls through its One Step Up Freephone Helpline (1800 303 669) from adults looking to do their Leaving Certificate. Often these adults want to do the Leaving Certificate as they never had the chance first time round, as they left school early to start their working life. As an adult it can be difficult to take that first step back into education, but there are plenty of opportunities and supports available if you wish to choose this route.
AONTAS has published a report on the European Agenda for Adult Learning project ‘Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow’ (2015 – 2017). In out latest blog EU Projects Officer Dearbháil Lawless highlights some of the key achievements during the project.
Every year many adults begin their journey back to education, for some they may have had a long break from formal education and others may be looking to update their skills. VTOS is just one of the many options open available. Having successfully completed their Leaving Certificate, learners from VTOS in Navan share their top 10 benefits of returning to education. Many VTOS participants in the Louth and Meath Education and Training Board progress each year to third level education or employment.
Jacqueline Sheehy from Dublin works in The Clondalkin Addiction Support Programme (CASP), a community service for drug users over 18 years of age and their families. In October 2017, Jacqueline took part in an ERASMUS+ ‘Making an Impact at European Level’ project and visited Tallinn in Estonia where she attended an international conference on active citizenship, democracy and participation, and met with other adult learning professionals from across Europe.
Recent figures show an increase in Ireland’s lifelong learning participation rate. In our latest blog, Niamh O’Reilly CEO, welcomes this increase but explains that the focus should be on widening participation, not just increasing it, to ensure a more effective measure of successful lifelong learning initiatives and policies in Ireland.