As the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) AONTAS attended the third European Vocational Skills Week in Vienna from the 5th - 9th November to represent all adult learners in Ireland. Here AONTAS CEO Niamh O'Reilly reflects on taking part in this important conference where she was had the amazing opportunity to share five fantastic FET learner stories with the world.
There is much confusion within the Further Education and Training (FET) sector and among FET practitioners (teachers, trainers, tutors, instructors, facilitators etc.) as to who needs to be registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland and why, who does not need to be registered, and what the registration criteria are for Further Education (FE) teacher.
With a new Minister for Education, Ulsterman Mr Joe McHugh, and growing unease about the unknown consequences of Brexit on the horizon, the time is right to acknowledge the broad scope of education as a pathway for progress that everyone can and should participate in; it’s the moment to make adult and community education in particular the fertile ground from which North, South, East and West can grow together in a direction that ensures everyone is supported through the difficult challenges that lie ahead. In our latest blog Niamh O’Reilly CEO discusses a seminal moment when adult and community education leaders from the Five Nations (5Ns) of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland met at The Borders, Boundaries & Bridges: Learning with our Neighbours Conference on Friday 14th October in Belfast.
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.
We were delighted to see the first ever AONTAS Lifelong Learning Advocacy Summer School making front page news in The Irish Times following its launch on 18th June 2018.
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 members with an opportunity to learn from our EU neighbours and bring new ideas back to Ireland.
Niamh O’Reilly, AONTAS CEO
The Blayney Blades Moving On programme were winners of the prestigious AONTAS STAR Award in 2018, the prize included an opportunity to take part in an ERASMUS+ KA1 programme. The initiative, based in Castleblayney Co Monaghan, helps learners to develop knowledge and skills through adult education with a focus on sports and recreation.
The ‘Moving On’ Programme, Blayney Blades celebrated their recent achievement of winning an AONTAS STAR Award on Tuesday 10th April by hosting a celebratory lunch for past and present students in the Iontas centre, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan.
2018 marks ten years of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). As invited guests by the European Commission AONTAS will be represented at the 10 year celebratory conference in Brussels on 15th and 16th March.
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.