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FET learners have their voices heard at the Waterford and Wexford Regional Forum

Learners from the Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB) convened at the regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum which took place in New Ross at the Brandon House Hotel.

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.

This Forum is a collaborative effort between AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, and WWETB. It is one of a series of regional meetings taking place across the county this year. Almost 60 learners from the Waterford and Wexford area attended the event.

Speaking about the Forum, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “This event provides FET learners from Waterford and Wexford 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 the 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.”

Kevin Lewis Chief Executive of Waterford & Wexford ETB (WWETB) welcomed learners to the event in New Ross. He outlined that WWETB provides learning opportunities for over 18,000 adults across 16 FET Programmes. These include apprenticeships, Adult Literacy, English Language & ESOL Classes, VTOS Youthreach, Community Training Centres, Local Training Initiatives, Services to Business and Training Programmes.

Kevin said: “WWETB are delighted to hear the views of our learners, learners are our ambassadors in the communities in which you live, your experience is very important to us and we look forward to implementing recommendations from this event”.

The learners in attendance have been nominated to join the Forum by WWETB and include representatives from Local Training Initiatives, Youthreach, ESOL, VTOS, BTEI, Adult Literacy, Youth Train and Training Programmes.

If you are thinking of going back to education further information on AONTAS can be found here: www.aontas.com or you can call AONTAS on 1800 303 669 or check out WWETB’s course finder on www.waterfordwexford.etb.ie  AND http://www.wwaegs.ie/