Wide variety of people choosing
to return to education

Frances Stephenson


Frances Stephenson

Many adults think about returning to education but do not know when or where to begin.

Many adults think about returning to education but do not know when or where to begin.

January is an excellent time to start a part-time course if you have been away from education for a long time, want to learn or improve basic skills and want to start back and test the water.

Do a course that will give you new skills, build your confidence, meet new people and help you with your work, personal life or prepare you to take on further study.

Having basic computer skills is essential nowadays as computers are used more and more to communicate in personal and work situations. Smart phones, i-pads, i-pods Email, Skype, internet shopping, internet banking, or just looking up information is a part of everyday life now as we are asked to communicate more and more via digital technology.

Basic Computer Skills, Internet Skills, Word Processing, Database, Spreadsheets, Communications, Mathematics, Container Gardening, Growing Vegetables, Child Development and Play and Art and Design are subjects that lead to FETAC level 3 certification.

Adults who want to focus on essential skills in Reading, Writing, Spelling, Mathematics and Basic Computer Skills can join small groups working towards FETAC level 2 certification. One-to-one tuition is available for adults who need help with basic reading, writing, and spelling.

New courses will start during the first weeks of January and February.

Adult Learning is the basic education service of Longford and Westmeath Education and Training Board and courses are funded by the Department of Education and Skills. Courses are free and day and evening classes are available and may lead to FETAC certification at levels 2-3.

Adult Learning Centres in Ballymahon, Granard and Longford re-opened on Monday, 6 January and over 500 adults attend part-time courses every week.

Adults attending courses range in age from sixteen to over eighty. Many adults want to learn basic computer skills for personal use such as email, internet, skype, on-line banking, shopping, digital photography or just browsing. Others want to do keep accounts or send/receive invoices, upload photos of products etc. Others want to learn basic word processing skills so that they can write assignments and essays when they take on other courses.

Adults attend Adult Learning because they want to return to basic education to learn new skills or brush up on basic skills. They enjoy learning at a pace and time that suits and in small groups where learning, meeting new people and enjoyment are as important as the FETAC certificates they can acquire along the way. Courses are part-time and can take place in the morning, afternoon or evening.

Our youngest learner is sixteen and left school before doing Junior Certificate. He attends six classes (Internet Skills, Computer Literacy, Word Processing, Communications, Mathematics and Personal and Interpersonal Skills) at FETAC Level 3 and hopes to go back to full-time education in September.

Our oldest learner is in her eighties and wants to email and skype family members abroad.

Attending part-time courses should not affect social welfare payments and the courses are free. Adults can attend for two, four or six hours per week over a number of months. It’s easy to combine a part-time course with family and work commitments and check out the subjects that suit you. If you enjoy the experience, brush up on basics and build your confidence you can then look at starting a full-time course at a higher level in September.

Having basic computer skills in Word Processing and Internet Skills, will make doing written assignments much easier. If you would like help writing assignments you should consider a Communications course which combines writing and IT skills. Depending on the course you choose you may need to revise your mathematics.

Employers have high regard for employees who show an interest in gaining up-to-date qualifications and keeping their skills up-dated. Employed people want to keep up with developments and want to keep their skills updated in case their job is under threat and they want to move to a new position or promotion.

For further information on basic courses contact Frances Stephenson on 043 3345609, Catherine Flynn on 090 6438009 or Therese Smyth at 043 6686211 or check out Co Longford ETB or Co Longford VEC website for all courses and services.