18 Sep 2017

Longford Learner Advocate Learns New Skills in Brussels

Longford woman Kathleen Dowd will travel to the European City of Brussels today (18.09.17) to attend policy making and advocacy training, and meet with other adult education professionals from across Europe.

Ms Dowd returned to education following the loss of her job and having witnessed first-hand the benefits of community education she is passionate about the impact it can have in supporting people to gain confidence, and the transformative effect it can have on individuals, families and communities.

Ms Dowd now works as a Community Employment Supervisor with Longford’s Women’s Link (LWL) where she mentors other women. At national level, LWL is involved in the Community Education Network, run by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation.

The trip is taking place as part of the ERASMUS+ ‘Adult Education Leader, Leaders in Europe’ project, an EU-funded project organised by AONTAS that supports the professional development of adult education workers.

Commenting in advance of her trip Ms Dowd said: “I’m looking forward to learning how we can capture the voice of the adult learner and transmit this message to government. I also want to share my experience with other European countries, such as how we can support learners to overcome barriers like childcare and transport.”

I want to learn new ways of highlighting the importance of adult education and its ripple effect on wider communities, employment, social issues, health and wellbeing, and in supporting integration. I hope to bring back a wealth of knowledge to Longford’s Women’s Link that will help our organisation to advocate and deliver training which meets the needs of our local community.”

The training is hosted by the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) who promote adult learning and access to, and participation in non-formal adult education, especially for under-represented groups.

Speaking about the visit AONTAS CEO Niamh O’Reilly said: “This EU project aims to strengthen the work of the AONTAS Community Education Network by giving them an opportunity to partake in learning events across Europe, where they can learn about best practice in adult and community education.

AONTAS is delighted to offer this opportunity to Longford Women’s Link so they can bring back new ideas and connections to their organisation and community.”


Contact: Katie O’Rourke, Communications Lead AONTAS, Tel: 01-4068220/ 087-9086168, Email: