27 Mar 2019
AONTAS receives three months of queries in less than a week via One Step Up
AONTAS CEO, Niamh O’Reilly, was delighted to be asked onto the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk for the ‘Ask the Expert’ slot (18/3/19). The opportunity to discuss the vast range of adult learning options on the St. Patrick’s Bank Holiday Monday offered an ideal platform to encourage adults back into learning and point them in the right direction.
AONTAS CEO, Niamh O’Reilly, was delighted to be asked onto the Pat Kenny show on Newstalk for the ‘Ask the Expert’ slot (18/3/19). The opportunity to discuss the vast range of adult learning options on the St. Patrick’s Bank Holiday Monday offered an ideal platform to encourage adults back into learning and point them in the right direction. Listeners sent in a range of questions: from educational options for retired people and those trying to change career paths to parents dreaming of fulfilling their lifelong ambition for a third level qualification and others who were interested in what community education and online courses could offer them.
As soon as Niamh O’Reilly got the message out over the airwaves about the value and benefit of adult and community education there was an immediate positive reaction from across the country. AONTAS and the One Step Up Information and Referral Service (OSU) saw a massive spike in the number and rate of people enquiring about their education and training options. AONTAS received as many requests for information within the few hours and subsequent days following the radio interview as it did since the start of the year.
Those getting in touch expressed being inspired to re-enter education in order to reskill and upskill for employment opportunities; as well as to participate in lifelong learning to improve self-confidence, increase their knowledge and to become more involved in their local community. Enquiries came from Westmeath, Kildare, Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Limerick, Offaly, Clare, Mayo, Kerry, Donegal, and Sligo. Some examples include:
- A 60 year old Limerick man with a professional background in marketing said that he had been out of work for a number of years. He felt very frustrated about how difficult it was to find work in his area of expertise. On hearing the radio segment he decided to contact AONTAS via One Step Up to find out about courses that would help him to update his skills, gain new knowledge and obtain qualifications that would help with finding employment. He was directed to both Fetchcourses.ie and Qualifax.ie as well as provided with the contact details for his local Adult Information and Guidance Service and the INOU.
- After 35 years of working in retail one Sligo woman contacted AONTAS for information about how to retrain in order to change their career path entirely. Contact details for their local Adult Education Information and Guidance Service were provided to her.
- A woman living in Offaly got in touch to find out more about nursing courses that her daughter could apply for. She mentioned how much she had loved learning about history in school but never had the opportunity to study it further. She now had more time to focus on herself as her family responsibilities are less now and was given information about supports for mature students and potential financial supports for returning to education.
- A Mayo man in his 30s said that what he heard on the radio inspired him to find out how he could learn another language. He was given contact details for a number of language schools across Connacht.
- One retired Dublin man wanted to find out more about how to participate in lifelong learning for gaining new knowledge as much as for meeting new people. He was given contact details for his local University of the 3rd Age group.
If you are thinking of considering your education and training options, there are a range of online information portals available. 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. The www.onestepup.ie website together with a Freephone line 1800 303 669 supports and signposts thousands of people every year towards accessing their education and training options. To find out more about One Step Up click here
As Niamh O’Reilly made clear to a national audience, there are a range of learning pathways in adult, community, further and higher education. For a range of more specific details on adult and community education courses and programmes within your local community please contact your Adult Education Guidance and Information Service. For contact details for your local service visit https://www.etbi.ie/etbs-map/
For information about accessing higher and further education please visit:
To check if a course is linked to the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) see: https://qsearch.qqi.ie/WebPart/Search?searchtype=programmes
The One Step Up Calendar of events here lists a variety of information days and education fairs that may be very useful to anyone interested in participating in lifelong learning.
For More Information:
Visit www.onestepup.ie or contact Sam O’Brien-Olinger, Information and Policy Officer via email: firstname.lastname@example.org