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.
Last month Joan Keehan from Southill Family Resource Centre (FRC) Limerick visited Craiova as part of ERASMUS+ ‘Making an Impact at European Level’ an EU-funded project that supports the professional development of adult education workers. In our latest blog she shares her experience.
AONTAS is currently leading out on the learning mobility project: ‘AONTAS – Making an Impact at European Level’. This two year project is funded under the adult education field of the ERASMUS+ programme and supports the professional development of adult education workers.
As part of our learning mobility project: ‘AONTAS – Making an Impact at European Level’ project Warremount tutor Niamh Mc Call recently travelled to Luxembourg to take part in a two day conference run by the European Basic Skills Network (EBSN). The aim of a mobility was to exchange information and learn more about best practice models. In our latest blog Niamh shares her experience of the conference and highlights some pilot projects from Europe that look at innovative ways to teach language to migrants.
AONTAS recently hosted a Maltese Study Visit in order to share best practice with other EU member states. As part of the study visit, Christianne Fenech, Project Manager in the Ministry of Education & Employment visited Ireland for three days to focus on her specific areas of interest including: workplace learners, family literacy and engaging with employers. AONTAS travelled with Christianne to Limerick to visit some of the fantastic community education groups based in Limerick who are also a part of the Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN), longstanding AONTAS members. Read about it here.
AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning in Ireland. As part of the Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow project (2015-2017), AONTAS in collaboration with Skills for Work, undertook ‘EU Exchange for a Better Tomorrow’, a professional exchange. In part 2 of our 'EU Exchange for a Better Tomorrow' blog the particpants give some reflections on their trip to Malta.
As part of the 'Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow' project (2015-2017), we undertook a professional exchange in collaboration with Skills for Work. The delegation of eight comprised of the European Projects Officer at AONTAS, three Skills for Work staff, including their National Coordinator and four Skills for Work learners, coming from diverse backgrounds.
In spring 2017 James Clifford from Kerry Action for Development Education (KADE) travelled to Rethymno, Crete to take part in a five day job shadowing mobility with the European Centre in Training for Employment (ECTE). The aim of a mobility was to increase awareness of cross cultural issues between Ireland and Crete, meet with potential partners and discuss how KADE could become a host in EU mobility programmes to strengthen the capacity of their organisation.
The learner voice sits firmly at the heart of AONTAS’ work. As the National Adult Learning Organisation in Ireland, we believe that in order to widen participation in lifelong learning, we must listen to the voices and experiences of learners. AONTAS spoke to adult learner advocate Una Buckley about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Una details her personal experience of RPL and gives some suggestions on how to make the process more accessible for learners.
The National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum took place on Friday 7th April in Croke Park, Dublin. This event marked the second meeting of the forum when 100 learners from across Ireland met to discuss their achievements and challenges in FET.
On 10th March, almost 100 attendees took part in the AONTAS EU Seminar- ‘European Union: Solidarity in a time of Uncertainty’. The event marked the closing event of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival 2017. The agenda included 10 speakers, spanning from academics, to practitioners, to learners. Twelve Slovenian adult learning practitioners and learners also participated in the morning’s proceedings, as part of a week-long study visit to Ireland.