AONTAS provides a free Information Referral Service called One Step Up that supports thousands of people in Ireland every year to find out about education and training options available to them. The One Step Up website is also home an Events Calendar, where we promote open days and information sessions hosted by Education and Training Boards, further education and training colleges, community centres, third level institutes and other learning centres all over the country.
As part of the ‘Increasing Pathways, Increasing Participation’ 2017 – 2019 project for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL), AONTAS provides a free Information Referral Service called One Step Up that supports thousands of people every year to find out about their education and training options.
Taking the first step back into learning after a break from formal education can be daunting, but it comes with many benefits. If you’re thinking of returning to education, January is the perfect time to find out about learning opportunities in your local area, with open days and information sessions happening at further education colleges, community centres and learning institutes all over the country.
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.
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.
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.