1 Oct 2018

FET Learners have Their Voices Heard at the Galway and Roscommon Regional Forum

Learners from the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB) convened at the regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum which took place in Galmont Hotel today (1.10.2018).

Ireland is leading the way in making a commitment to learner representation with the establishment of a national Forum. As a learner-centred form of provision, SOLAS is striving to make Further Education and Training (FET) a first choice for prospective learners, as a means to gain qualifications and secure employment. This Forum acts as a way for learners to directly influence FET provision, their suggestions for improvement will be sought and a clear outline of recommendations communicated to policy makers.

Today’s Forum is organised by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, and is one of a series of regional meetings taking place across the county this year. Over 40 learners from the Galway and Roscommon area are registered for the event.

Speaking about today's Forum, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “Today’s Forum provides FET learners from Galway and Roscommon with the opportunity to have their voices heard, and to influence policy at regional and national level. AONTAS believes that learners are experts of their own learning and we look forward to using the deliberations from today’s Forum in supporting SOLAS and ETBs in creating a world-class FET system that is learner-centred.”

“The establishment of the Forum recognised the importance that must be placed on those at the centre of adult education - the learners themselves, and we look forwarding to consulting with them today.”

The learners in attendance today have been nominated to join the Forum by GRETB and include representatives from community education, Youthreach, ESOL, VTOS, BTEI and training programmes.

Welcoming AONTAS to the West of Ireland, on behalf of the Galway Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB), Gráinne O’Byrne, Community Education Facilitator, emphasised ‘the continued importance of listening and responding the needs of the learner, who is, central to the work of the GRETB. Learners attending the Forum this morning are representative of over 16,000 learners who participate in GRETB Further Education and Training programmes across the region’.

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 GRETB’s course finder on