Nominations Sought from Offaly for Adult Learning STAR Awards

Charlie Flynn

Reporter:

Charlie Flynn

Nominations Sought from Offaly for Adult Learning STAR Awards

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation is seeking nominations from adult learning initiatives in Offaly for the annual STAR Awards 2019.

The Adult Education Survey published by the Central Statistics Office in August found that over half of adults in Ireland (54%) participated in lifelong learning at some point last year. However, barriers remain which prevent adults from accessing education with 35 per cent of respondents in the Midlands Region, which includes Offaly, reporting difficulty participating in lifelong learning due to family responsibilities while 24 per cent named affordability and cost as a barrier.

To highlight the diverse range of quality adult learning initiatives taking place around the country, AONTAS welcomes STAR Awards nominations in four categories for 2019:

• Health and wellbeing
• Third level access and engagement
• Social inclusion
• Sustainable employment

Offaly has seen great success in previous STAR Awards with Acorn Midlands Education and Training Service's shortlisted for a STAR Award in 2018 for its Beauty Therapy Group training programme for learners in beauty therapy.

Speaking about the awards, Niamh O’Reilly, Chief Executive Officer of AONTAS said, “There is a real appetite amongst adults in Ireland to engage in lifelong learning. Lifelong learning has many benefits: it is not just a route to employment, but also allows a person to become fully active in society and to develop on a personal level.

“There is no one-size fits all approach to engaging learners. If we are going to succeed in widening participation, we must champion the innovative approaches that adult learning initiatives are undertaking in Offaly. Every year, the STAR Awards ceremony is a fantastic occasion to highlight and celebrate the positive impact adult and community education have on the lives of individuals, families and communities around Ireland.”

Since its inception in 2007 over 1,000 adult learning initiatives across a wide variety of areas – including increasing educational access for all including those with a disability, supporting positive mental health and as part of addiction recovery – have been recognised through the STAR Awards.

How to nominate
To nominate an adult learning initiative, please visit: www.adultlearnersfestival.awardsplatform.com. The deadline for receipt of nominations is Friday, 7th December 2018.

Winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony, which will be the opening event of the Adult Learners’ Festival 2019. The ceremony will take place in Dublin on Monday, 4th March 2019. The Adult Learners' Festival will take place from the 4th – 8th March 2019.

The STAR Awards is proudly sponsored by the European Social Fund (ESF), the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI). Sponsors will be offering special prizes to 2019 STAR Award winners.