29 Jan 2021

AONTAS Membership Support - January 2021

Niamh O’Reilly, AONTAS CEO

Dear AONTAS Member, 
I hope you, your colleagues and learners are keeping well. We in AONTAS understand the challenges you are facing at present and are here to help and support you in 2021. Our upcoming work will focus on advocacy, support, recognition and a celebration of adult learning.

1. Advocacy
Last year AONTAS had great success with our advocacy campaign for additional funding for community education during COVID-19, resulting in the €8 million Mitigating Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF). Based on our members' feedback, there is still a huge need to provide further supports, and we will lobby for additional funding. We now want to learn about your experience of the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF) in order to inform our future advocacy work: the impact of the fund and challenges of the funding process. Please engage in our survey – detailed below in this ebulletin. 
2. Support
The AONTAS weekly membership webinars have been hugely successful. Please feel free to come along and tap into the community of support that engaging in AONTAS events can offer.
A number of Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum events are coming up with Education and Training Boards (ETBs), this research project is vital in offering insights into issues which FET Learners are facing. The more we understand the problems learners face, the better we can act to support them.
To visit our events page and book your place for one of our upcoming events please click here.
3. Recognition 
The AONTAS STAR Awards are fast approaching, and we were delighted to announce the shortlisted groups earlier this week. As 2020 was a year like no other, the STAR Awards not only reflect the achievements made by adult learning initiatives, but the resilience, innovation and commitment demonstrated by the nominated organisations and their learners. The exceptional nominations this year show how adult learning providers have adapted to ensure that the learners’ needs continue to be met during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more details below.

4. Celebration
The Adult Learners’ Festival will be different this year. Whilst we know adult learning during COVID-19 has been a challenge for both educators and learners, it has also been a lifeline to many learners thanks to the massive collective efforts made. Do join us and get involved from 1st – 5th March – this is your week to highlight your work, so let us join together to raise the profile of adult learning across Ireland. To find out more about the Adult Learners’ Festival please click here.
We deeply value your engagement with AONTAS, please encourage other organisations to join our organisation. In trying times like these, we are here to share the load so that learners can get the best learning experience. As the theme of this year’s Adult Learners’ Festival states, we are #BetterTogether. Stay in touch, get involved and reach out to like-minded people in the wonderful, supportive adult learning community that comprises our membership.
All the very best for 2021,
Niamh O’Reilly  

To view the full AONTAS newsletter please click here.

AONTAS is committed to advocating for educational equality for all adults in Ireland. Please email with any queries.

Keep up to date with our advocacy work by following our social media channels including @aontas on Twitter.