03 Oct 2022

Two Offaly adult learning initiatives shortlisted for awards

Two Offaly adult learning initiatives shortlisted for awards

Two Offaly adult learning initiatives shortlisted for awards

Two Offaly based adult learning initiatives have been shortlisted for an AONTAS STAR Award.

The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are an awards initiative organised by the national adult learning organisation, AONTAS, to recognise and celebrate the work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland.

The two groups are:

The MenPower programme: developed to respond to the high numbers of men dying by suicide and to address the lack of engagement by men in community-based services, especially those with a mental health focus.

The programme also supports men experiencing employment-related issues. The programme combines a unique mix of mental health, adult guidance, physical activity and provides men a social space to explore how to be and stay well, barriers to achieving their goals, and how to plan for their future. They are shortlisted in the Health and Wellbeing category.

AMETS Youth Work Award: aims to upskill Community Employment participants in the area of youth work. This initiative gives learners the opportunity to learn by experience and gain a QQI level 5 major award in youth work which can then be used to progress to further education or seek employment.

This initiative offers learners an opportunity to develop key skills such as confidence, self-belief and commitment that will stand to learners in their further studies and/or employment. They are shortlisted in the Third-level Access and Engagement category.

Commenting on the shortlist, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “The STAR awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the positive contribution that adult learning initiatives make to individual adult learners, local communities and wider society. The quality of nominations this year has been exceptional. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic adult learning initiatives are continuing to provide essential supports and services to those adult learners most in need. These groups are a brilliant example of this and we are delighted to have such wonderful initiatives shortlisted for a STAR award.”

Judging of the STAR Awards comprises two stages: In the first stage, nominated projects are shortlisted by an independent judging panel, whose membership is drawn from the education, business and technology sectors. The second stage gives staff and learners from the shortlisted projects the opportunity to meet with the judging panel online before they make their final decision.

STAR Award winners will be announced during the week of the Festival (1st-5th March 2021) and a celebratory event will also take place to acknowledge the incredible achievements of all of the groups involved.

The STAR Awards form a key part of the AONTAS annual Adult Learners’ Festival. Over the past fifteen years the Festival has become a firm fixture in the Irish adult learning calendar, showcasing the range of learning opportunities available across the country and encouraging adults to try something new. The 2021 Adult Learners’ Festival is AONTAS’ first ever virtual Festival. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing a programme of events will take place online. A key focus of this year’s Festival is on collaboration and the theme of #BetterTogether.

The STAR Awards are proudly sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), Concern Worldwide, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Sponsors will be offering special prizes to all 2021 STAR Award winners.


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