AONTAS Managing a Range of New European Projects to Strengthen Adult Education in Ireland

30 Oct 2020
AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, are proud to manage and implement a range of European projects in Ireland, as well as partnering with other adult education organisations across Europe to share learnings and develop best practice. Adult learning plays a central role in supporting individuals to engage in society and learn the skills required to benefit from digital transformation and overall civic participation.

As we are due to commence a number of new European projects, bringing the total number of EU projects being managed by AONTAS to eight, we share an overview of each project and what it entails. AONTAS engages in European projects in order to raise the profile of the Irish adult learning sector, and to share recommendations from educators and learners to help address challenges experienced in the lifelong learning field.

Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways (2020 – 2021) - EAAL

AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) in Ireland, having been nominated by the Department of Education and Skills in 2014. The current iteration of the project is entitled Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways, which commenced in January 2020. The aim of the project is to develop innovative and community-based methods, to identify the needs of learners, and to develop policy recommendations for engaging vulnerable and marginalised adults in adult learning. This project is delivered through a range of initiatives such as; hosting study visits, coordinating the Learners as Leaders programme, providing the One Step Up Information Referral Service, running Project Advisory Group meetings with adult learning organisations in Ireland, and holding the Adult Education Summit in Ireland, amongst other activities.  

Build Action Mobilise – KA1

Build Action Mobilise (BAM) is an Erasmus+ KA1 Mobility project, which aims to provide organisations with international capacity building opportunities. Mobility projects such as Build Action Mobilise are a fundamental aspect of strengthening cooperation, solidarity and shared identity across Europe. Moreover, it also provides an opportunity to develop and strengthen capacity across the adult education sector.

FutureLabAE – KA2

The FutureLabAE project addresses two main issues; the situation of democracy in Europe and the high number of people in Europe who lack basic skills. This project aims to strengthen the capacity of educators to tackle issues arising from an increasing number of citizens who are disengaging with the political establishment and leaning towards populist and xenophobic politics. It also looks at ways to address challenges arising from the large number of people in Europe who need support with their basic skills, including digital literacy skills, to be able to truly benefit from digital transformation. This project began in November 2018 and will run until August 2021.

Blueprint for Basic Skills Development in Slovakia (BLUESS) – EaSI UP

BLUESS is a collaboration of partners, including AONTAS, that works together to support the development and implementation of the national strategy on the basic skills of adults in Slovakia. This project is led by the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) in Slovakia, The State Vocational Education Institute with support from number of partners. The project utilises shared learning and expertise across the partnership and is funded by the European Commission's EaSI Up programme.

ToSwitch – KA2

The project TO SWITCH – Towards Senior workers’ Innovative Training Challenges – brings together a network of partners from seven European countries and is aimed at supporting educators, training supervisors, coaches and mentors who work directly with older workers. The objective of the project is to meet the challenges presented by population ageing and labour market transformation by enhancing the role of lifelong learning to ensure adult learners have the skills needed to participate in the labour market and benefit from digital transformation.

RegALE – KA3

The RegALE (Regional capacity for Adult Learning and Education) project sets out to reinforce networks of adult education organisations and to create synergies with regional and local authorities in order to increase their impact and sustainability. The project aims to achieve this by increasing the partners’ capacity, and that of their networks, stakeholders, partners and members, in order to respond to their challenges, build cooperation structures, and promote an adult education culture in communities, cities and regions across Europe. This project runs from November 2020 to February 2021.

Communicating Europe Initiative 2020

The Communicating Europe Initiative (CEI) is an inclusive adult education programme that seeks to build global citizenship and social cohesion within communities across Ireland. The project sets out to establish awareness and understanding of the importance of the European Union, the future of Europe, and solidarity in society. Adult learning plays an active role in sustaining communities, and promoting democracy and civic engagement. As such, this programme aims to strengthen the capacity of adult educators and the adult learning community by constructing new knowledge to address key societal issues that threaten our communities such as the rise of conservative right-wing politics, false information, racism, and anti-vaccine rhetoric.

Bildung – KA2

The Bildung project is a Key Action 2 project of the Erasmus + programme. The actions under KA2 make it possible for organisations from different participating countries to work together, to develop, share and transfer best practices and innovative approaches in the fields of education, training and youth. The Bildung KA2 project aims to bring together educators from across Europe to strengthen capacity on key issues including democracy, digitalisation, sustainability and basic education.

Overall, the EU projects outlined enable AONTAS to further strengthen our work advocating for the right of all adults in Ireland to access quality lifelong learning. European projects also offer great opportunities for capacity building and training for AONTAS members across Ireland. The range of projects all seek to address areas of educational disadvantage in order to build a cohesive society in Ireland and across Europe.  

If you would like to learn more about our European projects in Ireland, please contact AONTAS EU Projects Officer Annmarie Power at