As an EU Member State, Ireland has access to EU funding programmes like Erasmus+ which supports 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 members with an opportunity to learn from our EU neighbours and bring new ideas back to Ireland.
The 9th of November saw the release of the EU Education and Training Monitor 2017 focusing on the theme of inequality in education, and the important role that education plays in building a fairer society. While Ireland continues to compare well on education targets for early school leaving and tertiary education attainment, inequalities in participation and access still need to be addressed. With two weeks to go until the AONTAS CEN10 Conference: Sustaining Community Education, AONTAS CEO Niamh O’Reilly highlights community education as a vehicle to widen participation for those most disadvantaged.
A fundamental component of the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) approach is to increase Europe-wide best practice, through the sharing of information and learning, by facilitating collaboration between national coordinators in the EU. Consequently, AONTAS has been given a number of opportunities to present the outcomes of our EAAL project ‘Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow’ (2015-2017) at four other closing events in Europe including Greece. In our latest blog Bríd Greenan, AONTAS Information Officer shares her experience of presenting in Greece.
On 24th October 2017, AONTAS, as national coordinating body for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) in Ireland, welcomed more than 50 project partners and stakeholders to the closing event of the ‘Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow’ 2015-2017 project. The conference marked the completion of the two year programme of collaboration and innovations under the EAAL agenda to increase participation in adult learning across the EU, enhance policies and supports for adult learners, and gather and disseminate best practices.
In 2016, Alan Hand made the big decision to return to education and complete his Leaving Certificate after becoming unemployed in 2013 due to the recession. Alan completed his Leaving Cert through the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) run by Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) in summer 2016. Since then he has become a strong advocate for adult learning. One year on we talked to Alan about why he made the decision to return to education, how his life has changed and what advice he would give to others thinking of doing the same.
Returning to education to sit the Leaving Cert as an adult can provide a vital second chance for those that left school early. 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.
Earlier this summer Matthew Waters from An Cosán Virtual Community College (VCC) travelled to the Spanish city of Barcelona to present at EDULEARN - one of the largest international education conferences. The trip took place as part of the ERASMUS+ ‘Making an Impact at European Level’ project. Organised by AONTAS it supports the professional development of our Community Education Network (CEN). Here Matthew shares the highlights of his trip.