4 Mar 2019

Nine organisations receive awards for outstanding work in adult education



Monday, 4th March 2019 

A third-level access programme for disadvantaged woman in the Midlands; a men’s health and well-being  project in Tipperary; and a careers course for adults with dyslexia, were amongst the winners at the annual STAR Awards today (04.03.2019).

The STAR Awards are an awards initiative organised by the national adult learning organisation, AONTAS as part of its annual Adult Learners’ Festival. They recognise and celebrate the achievements of adult learning projects throughout Ireland.

Model and adult learner Gillian Quinn delivered the keynote address and met the winning groups at the STAR Awards ceremony in the Pillar Room, The Rotunda, Dublin. Over 170 people attended the awards ceremony, representing 27 organisations shortlisted for awards. 

Ms Quinn delivered the keynote address at the ceremony.  Speaking of her personal experience of adult learning, she said: “Having left school before completing my Junior Cert, I know first-hand the feeling that I missed my chance. It’s only in the last number of years, after taking the daunting step of returning to education and completing my BSc Hons psychology degree from The Open University, that I know for a fact it’s never too late. I’m thrilled to be here today acknowledging the brilliant organisations that make returning to and continuing with education possible for so many people around Ireland.”

Commenting on the diverse range of projects, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: There is no one-size fits all approach to engaging learners. If we are going to succeed in widening participation, we must champion the innovative approaches that adult learning initiatives are undertaking nationwide. Every year, the STAR Awards ceremony is a fantastic occasion to highlight and celebrate the positive impact adult and community education has on the lives of individuals, families and communities around Ireland.

The nine winners highlight the diverse range of quality adult learning initiatives taking place around the country.

Since its inception in 2007 over 1,000 adult learning initiatives across a wide variety of areas – including increasing educational access for all including those with a disability, supporting positive mental health and as part of addiction recovery – have been recognised through the STAR Awards.

The STAR Awards is proudly sponsored by the European Social Fund (ESF), TUI, the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI). Sponsors will be offering special prizes to 2019 STAR Award winners

The organisation’s Adult Learners’ Festival is running throughout this week, with hundreds of events and activities happening nationwide. Further information is available at: