102 learners from Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) convened at a regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum on Wednesday. The meeting took place at The D Hotel in Drogheda and involved learners from a variety of FET courses offered by LMETB.
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 Louth and Meath 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.”
The Adult Education Officer for LMETB, Aisling Sheridan, also outlined the need for a learner-centred approach in the development of educational opportunities for adult learners, saying: “This Forum gives learners a chance, not only to have their say on the courses and programmes they require, but also to contribute in a very practical way to the development of policy and strategy going forward.
“Today’s event is also an ideal opportunity for learners to find out more about the wide range of options, avenues and routes to education on offer from LMETB, and an ideal chance to learn from the experiences of other learners. The high level of attendance at this Forum is particularly encouraging, as it is a clear indication of the dedication and commitment of adult learners towards shaping their own future, as they progress further into education or employment.”
If you are thinking of going back to education further information on AONTAS can be found here: www.onestepup.ie or you can call AONTAS on 1800 303 669 or check out the range of programmes available at in Louth and Meath ETB at http://louthmeath.etb.ie/.