17 Aug 2016

AONTAS Congratulates Dozens of Adult Learners Receiving Leaving Cert Results

Dozens of adult learners are amongst those celebrating their Leaving Cert results today (17.08.16), according to AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation. 

Congratulating adult learners receiving their Leaving Cert results, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “It’s easy to forget that many adult learners are amongst those sitting the Leaving Cert each year and waiting nervously to get their results.

“Dozens of adults once again completed Leaving Cert exams this summer and, today, are celebrating their achievements. 

“In Ireland, 21 per cent of people aged 25 to 64 have never completed upper secondary-level education, so it’s not surprising that a high number return to education to complete the Leaving Cert each year.

“For somebody who may have been out of formal education for a long time, or who has had negative educational experiences in the past, it is a huge step to return to learning and to participate in Leaving Cert exams.  We would like to congratulate and celebrate all adult learners who received Leaving Cert results today, and we wish them every success.”

Father and Daughter Receive Results

One of the adult learners celebrating his Leaving Cert results today is Alan Hand, who received his results alongside his 18-year-old daughter.  

Mr. Hand was an early school-leaver and, after becoming unemployed in 2013 due to the recession, he decided to return to education at the age of 37 through the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme run by Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board. 

Commenting today, Mr. Hand said: “Adults are not taking their situations lying down, they are upskilling, getting new qualifications and preparing themselves for future employment.

“An old Irish phrase ‘Beidh an lá eile againn ag an aonach’ which means we will have another day at the fair, sums up how adults now have the opportunity to have a second chance at education.

“It is an extremely tough decision for young people at the age of 16 or 17 years old to decide what they would like to do with their future. Often teenagers slip through the net but, for those who missed the opportunity to access education the first time around, there are other options out there.”

Many Pathways to Adult Learning

In addition to the Leaving Cert, AONTAS highlighted other ways that adults can return to learning.

“It is important to note that the Leaving Certificate is just one of many pathways for adult learners,” said Niamh O’Reilly.  “Most Irish people associate the Leaving Certificate with the only recognised formal school leaving examination, but the area of adult education has expanded and there are a number of different ways that adults can achieve the equivalent of the Leaving Certificate standard – QQI Level 4/5 – which may be more appropriate to their needs.

“Adults must have equal access to all forms of education be it formal, non-formal or informal. Lifelong learning has many benefits: it is not just a route to employment, but also allows a person to become fully active in society and to develop on a personal level.”

For adults looking for further education and training options, the One Step Up website ( details learning opportunities that are available in Ireland. Adults may also call the Freephone Helpline on 1800 303 669.