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Blog Archive

Who’s taking part in adult learning?

Posted on August 27, 2013

What Next Booklet - Sometimes the information about education and training can be overwhelming.
Sometimes the information about education and training can be overwhelming.

Around this time last year we added up the statistics available on participation in adult education.  (Yes, we love statistics at AONTAS).  This was in response to the regular queries we get from people asking us ‘who are adult learners?’  So we decided to look at the figures this year and see if much had changed. 

In our estimates below we’ve included adults taking part in programmes co-ordinated by Education and Training Boards (these include former VEC programmes), FÁS Training Courses, government upskilling programmes, adults learning through independent community education groups, adults in third level education and adults enrolling in evening classes. 

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The top three queries about adult learning

Posted on August 20, 2013

OTC two

It’s that time of year again, when the evenings are getting shorter and many people start to think about signing up for a course.  There are plenty of opportunities now to help you research your options, whether it’s a Springboard Roadshow, the Which Course Exhibition, or the adult education supplements published in the national newspapers over the coming weeks.  Your local Education and Training Board should also be able to give you information about adult education in your area. 

Here in AONTAS we continue to receive queries through our Information Referral Service from adults who are thinking about returning to education.  We’ve noticed an increase in queries this year, so here are the top three queries we are getting right now. 

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Information on adult educationAdult LearnersTraining and education options for people who are unemployed

Life after Redundancy

Posted on May 07, 2013

Patrick Duffy, student in the Adult Learning BA (ALBA) writes about his personal experience of redundancy over two years ago, and how the BA is helping him to find his feet again.  

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Adult LearnersTraining and education options for people who are unemployedUnemployment

What does the latest IMF review say about further education and training?

Posted on April 09, 2013

Roundtable - Adult learners outline how their experience of community education helped them progress in education and onto employment.
Adult learners outline how their experience of community education helped them progress in education and onto employment.

The ninth IMF Review published last week takes a look at the role of the further education and training sector in economic recovery.  The review takes place against the backdrop of an increase in the number of people who are ‘very long term unemployed’ i.e. unemployed for over 2 years - now at 30% of the total number of those who are unemployed. The percentage of people unemployed for over 1 year now stands at 60% of the total number.  

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: SOLASFurther Education and Training

The role of qualifications in reforming education : reflections on an Irish Presidency Conference March 2013

Posted on March 19, 2013

NFQ fan

The statement from the Irish Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn, outlining his priority for the European  Presidency  as the provision of high quality education and training for all of Europe’s citizens being essential if Europe is to tackle its unemployment crisis, strengthen its economic growth  and create sustainable jobs has set the agenda for discussion of synergies across training and education. During the presidency, Ireland has been emphasising the importance of bringing together the   different sectors of education and training. The government is engaged in a major reform agenda which includes the integration of the Further Education and Training Service under the co-ordination of SOLAS, the proposed new FET Authority, and has already brought in legislation to amalgamate the 33 local Vocational Education Committees into 16 new Education and Training Boards. It is envisaged that all FET will be the responsibility of these Boards. As well as proposing an integrated approach at FET level the Minister is also concerned that Vocational Education and Training (VET) must work closely with the Higher Education (HE) system if our citizens are to get the skills they need for new jobs.

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: QualificationsQQINational Qualifications Framework

SOLAS Draft Legislation published

Posted on January 29, 2013

Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon - Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon has been at the forefront of the reform agenda within further education and training.
Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon has been at the forefront of the reform agenda within further education and training.

Following much anticipation, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn has published draft legislation for the new Further Education and Training Authority SOLAS (the Further Education and Training Bill 2013). 

The publication of the draft legislation has been delayed as the Bill which sets out the establishment of the ETBs (the Education and Training Boards Bill 2012) must first be passed as legislation by the Oireachtas.  The Education and Training Boards Bill was recently returned to the Select Committee for Education and Skills, where an interesting exchange took place between Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn and committee members on a series of proposed amendments.  The amended Bill will now be presented to the Dáil and should become legislation in the near future. 

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: SOLASFurther education and training

Counting down to Budget 2013

Posted on November 27, 2012

Chart - Penny Lamb from NIACE explains SROI (Social Return on Investment) at the AONTAS GM, November 2012.
Penny Lamb from NIACE explains SROI (Social Return on Investment) at the AONTAS GM, November 2012.

There are only seven days to go before the full details of what is contained in Budget 2013 will be revealed. 

Some weeks ago, the Minister announced that €77 million would be cut from the overall education budget.  Given that the majority of this budget cannot be touched under the existing Croke Park arrangement, and that a number of savings (eg capitation grants, increase in student contribution fees) were already signalled in last year’s budget, this will be a real challenge. 

 Value for money

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Budget 2013

The positive impact of adult learning: proving it

Posted on November 12, 2012

Penny- small - Penny Lamb
Penny Lamb

At The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) we have been calling for a renewed debate in England as to what counts as evidence of impact of adult learning. We believe it is critical that we refresh the thinking and evidence base of the impact of adult learning for current times.  This is driven by two urgent questions:

How do we best protect both public and private investment in learning and skills for adults at a time of economic crisis?

How can we preserve the fundamental ethos to learn for work and skills and for personal and social purposes at a time of increasingly squeezed budgets?

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: Research on adult educationMeasuring outcomes

Improving adult and community education for everyone

Posted on October 16, 2012

LCEN 2 - Jim Prior with members of Limerick Community Education Network - 'Being part of a national organisation has many benefits.'
Jim Prior with members of Limerick Community Education Network - 'Being part of a national organisation has many benefits.'

Jim Prior - Adult Educator, Activist and AONTAS Executive Committee Board Member explains how the organisations he is involved with have benefited from being part of AONTAS.

Why become a member of AONTAS?

Working in adult and community education can be challenging due to its low profile and uncertain funding structure. It is vital that the value of adult learning is visible and all education providers and learners unite in a common voice to ensure that both the public and the policy makers support it. For that reason the organisations, both statutory and voluntary, I am involved with are all members of AONTAS: City of Limerick VEC, Southill Family Resource Centre and Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN).

How did your organisation benefit from membership?

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Permanent link | Comments | Categories: AONTAS membershpLimerick Community Education Network

Concerns for the Community Education Sector in a Time of Change

Posted on September 18, 2012

Stephen Flitton

In the second in a series of blog entries about the challenges facing community education, Stephen Flitton from Warrenmount Community Education Centre wonders if we are entering an era where the learner becomes a consumer?

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