“Doing a FET course boosted my self-confidence and gave me a feeling of self-worth.”

The 3rd European Vocational Skills Week takes place from the 5th to 9th November 2018. As National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL), AONTAS is profiling VET Week Ambassadors – by sharing FET learner stories throughout the week. This year we are catching up with learners who took part in our 2016 “I’m an Adult Learner” campaign to find out the impact that FET has had on their lives. Adult learner Rodger Sweeney shared his learner story in 2016 and spoke about how he returned to education to gain the qualifications he needed to progress into employment.

Rodger’s Learner Story

Rodger left school after completing his Inter Certificate (now Junior Certificate) and walked straight into a job in the 1970s when jobs were plentiful. As time moved on and job security was no longer certain without qualifications, Rodger decided to return to education and gain the qualifications that he needed.

Through a Community Employment scheme, Rodger worked for six years and later went on to study a Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Level 6 award in Supervisory Management Skills in Munster HR Associates (MHRA).

Rodger says:

“Doing a FET course boosted my self-confidence and gave me a feeling of self-worth.”

We caught up with Rodger recently to see how he was getting on since we were last in contact.  Rodger shared with us some of the positive milestones that have brought him to this point:

I gained confidence from going back to education so now I don’t worry about being employed or unemployed any more. At the moment I am doing small education modules through my new employer.”

Rodger has achieved his hopes from 2016 and is currently employed with a community group and is still learning. Rodger completed a Training Needs Analysis & Design (Train the Trainer) course and achieved a distinction in March 2017.

Finally, as a note of encouragement from Rodger, he shared with us what further education and training meant to him:

“It proves to me that age is not a barrier and you can continue to be educated and grow one’s life.”

We hope that sharing Rodger’s progressive and positive experience in further education and training will encourage others to explore their own learning options.

For more information on your education and training options visit or contact AONTAS on our Freephone Helpline on 1800 303 669. 

If you have an inspiring learner story that you would like to share you can contact Leah Dowdall, Learner Advocacy Officer by email:, call 01 406 8220 or you can fill out our short learner story survey here: