21 Mar 2019

FET learners from Tipperary ETB have their voices heard at National FET Learner Forum in Clonmel

Press Release


59 learners from Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB) convened at a regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum recently. The meeting took place at the Dillon Street Clonmel Army Barracks and involved learners from a variety of FET courses offered by Tipperary ETB.

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 Tipperary 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.”

Kaye Mullaney, Adult Education Officer with Tipperary ETB opened the event welcoming AONTAS and learners from across all programmes including: VTOS Cahir and Clonmel; BTEI; Adult Literacy Scheme; Community Education; Clonmel Youth Training Centre; Making Connections Programme in Clonmel; Cluain Training Centre and PLC students at Clonmel Technical Institute. Kaye noted that: “This is the second year that Tipperary ETB have been involved in the AONTAS National FET Learner Forum. Last year we were involved in the pilot of the Forum with several students travelling to Thurles to attend. This year, we decided to run the event in our Clonmel campus, and the feedback has been very good. Learners from across all courses really value the opportunity to give feedback and have their voice heard!”

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 at in Tipperary ETB at