26 Mar 2019

FET learners from Kildare and Wicklow ETB have their voices heard at National FET Learner Forum in Naas

Press Release

66 learners from Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) convened at a regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum recently. The meeting took place at the Killashee Hotel in Naas and involved learners from a variety of FET courses offered by KWETB.

The National FET Learner Forum is a collaborative effort between AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation; SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority; and Education and Training Boards (ETBs). This meeting was one of a series of regional meetings that will take place across the country this year.

Ireland is leading the way in making a commitment to learner voice with the establishment of a National FET Learner Forum. As a learner-centred form of provision, SOLAS is striving to make Further Education and Training (FET) responsive to learner needs. This Forum acts as a way for learners to directly influence FET provision. Their suggestions for improvement will result in a clear outline of recommendations which AONTAS will share directly with policy makers and ETBs.

Speaking about today's Forum, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “The Forum provides FET learners from Kildare and Wicklow with the opportunity to have their voices heard, and to help shape further education at local, regional and national level. AONTAS believes that learners are experts of their own learning, they can identify what is working and what improvements are needed to ensure learner success, retention and progression. We look forward to using the deliberations from the Forum in supporting SOLAS and ETBs in creating a world-class FET system that is learner-centred.”

Deirdre Keyes, Chief Executive of KWETB welcomed the opportunity for FET learners to contribute to the development of national FET policy. She said: “KWETB recognises the importance of the learner voice in informing the development of both local and national FET policy. I am particularly pleased that so many of our learners, from a broad range of programmes and local areas within Kildare and Wicklow, participated so effectively in this regional forum. Our learners and staff are committed to ensuring that the highest quality FET is provided within our ETB and I welcome the opportunity provided by SOLAS and AONTAS to our leaners today. ”

If you are thinking of going back to education further information on AONTAS can be found here: or you can call AONTAS on 1800 303 669 or check out the range of programmes available in Kildare and Wicklow ETB at: and on