Nominations sought for prestigious awards from Longford Adult Learning Initiatives

Alan Walsh

Reporter:

Alan Walsh

Nominations sought for prestigious awards from Longford Adult Learning Initiatives

Longford Women’s Link CE ‘Friendly and Sociable’ Group were previously shortlisted for the STAR Awards.

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation is seeking nominations from adult learning initiatives in Longford for the 11th Annual STAR Awards 2017. The awards recognise the use of innovative approaches in adult and community education.

Longford has a strong tradition of adult and community education. Previous Longford-based shortlisted nominees for the STAR Awards include Longford Women’s Link CE ‘Friendly and Sociable’ Group which provides an informal meeting space for participants to come together and create a broader network of support. This group provides participants with an opportunity to meet with each other, expanding their network within communities in Longford.

Speaking about the awards, Niamh O’Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of AONTAS, said: “Adult and community education is about more than receiving a qualification. From improved confidence to better health, the wider benefits are far-reaching and can have a hugely positive impact on a person’s life, family and wider community. That’s why we have overhauled our award categories this year to focus on promoting wellbeing; social inclusion; digital inclusion; and ensuring that the learner’s voice is heard.

“As a nation, we must look at widening participation in adult learning, particularly for people who have been disadvantaged. Ireland’s participation rate stands at only 7.2 percent. Our closest neighbours, the UK has a participation rate of 15.7 percent while Denmark leads the table at 31.3 percent. The recent European Commission Education and Training Monitor (2015) highlighted the gap between lifelong learning participation rates - people who have a high level of education are four times more likely to participate than those without a Leaving Certificate standard of education. Often, it’s community education - including non-accredited programmes - that can provide that essential first step back into education for adult learners and gives them the confidence to achieve their potential and progress to further studies and employment.”

Since its inception in 2007 over 1,000 adult learning initiatives across a wide variety of areas – including arts, mental health, addiction and disability – have been recognised through the STAR Awards. For 2017, nominations are invited under four new categories:

* Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Wellbeing

* Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Digital Inclusion

* Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Social Inclusion

* Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote the Learner Voice

To nominate an adult learning initiative, please visit: www.adultlearnersfestival. awardsplatform.com. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Wednesday, December 14.

 Winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony, which will be the opening event of the Adult Learners’ Festival 2017. The ceremony will take place in Dublin on Monday, March 6.

The Adult Learners' Festival will take place from March 6 to 10 2017. The theme for the week is 'The Power and Joy of Learning'.