The National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum:
Learner Voice is at the heart of AONTAS’s work. It is a concept in education that means that learners should have a say in decisions about their own education. It means that those who learn, not just those who teach, should influence the educational experience.
The National FET Learner Forum is a series of events taking place across Ireland, which facilitate adult learners to share their experiences of learning. This is the basis of our advocacy work and is used to ensure further education and training policy is responding to the needs of the learners themselves.
Since its launch, the Forum has reached thousands of learners. The project consists of one national event and a series of regional events held at Education and Training Boards across Ireland each year. We are here to listen to the voices of adult learners from across Ireland. We share the experiences of adult learners with SOLAS and the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
This means change happens from the ground up.
Lifelong Learning Participation Research Project:
National statistics show a drop in Further Education and Training participation levels among vulnerable groups of people, particularly those experiencing disadvantage. This includes lone parents, those from working class communities and those in lower-skilled employment.
AONTAS is conducting research with adult and community education groups across Ireland to gather evidence-based, quality data about the experiences of people who have found it hard to engage in learning, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and since then, or who left a course or education programme. The goal is to find solutions to the exacerbation of educational inequality as a result of the pandemic.
For more on this research, check out a recent blog by our Research Officer Aisling Meyler.
FET Learners As Leaders
How can we have a better, fairer adult education system?
At AONTAS, we’re helping adults who have gone back to education speak up about their experiences. Adult learners are the best experts in what works and what should be improved in adult education. Listening to them and working with them can make learning better for everyone.
AONTAS has been running training with adult learners to strengthen their public speaking, presentation, and self-confidence skills. We are now offering training for education providers who want to include Learner Voice structures in their Education and Training Board centre. For more information, contact our Research Team at firstname.lastname@example.orgClick here for more information
On Thursday, 13th October 2022, we launched the new National Further Education and Training (FET) Annual Synthesis Report. This brings together the recent findings from the National FET Learner Forum, and shines a light on the voices of learners from across Ireland. We're working together to make equal access to quality education a reality for everyone!
The value of FET
"Being part of further education has helped me to find new friends and it’s helped me with my confidence"
Importance of Learner Voice
"They need to know our needs. If we’re at the centre of it, they need to know what we want, what we decide"
Improvements To FET Advertisement
"Why is FET not advertised like the other schools and universities when we are doing similar things?"