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Vol 9 • Issue 1 • Spring 2010

Le Chéile



Government has identified upskilling and retraining as a key factor in future economic growth, and the massive rise in unemployment has lead to a surge in adults re-entering education to improve their future employment prospects.

Aontas STAR Awards winners Fiona O’Dwyer, Irelands first fully qualified female butcher, along with Emer Brady,

Training Manager with the Craft Butchers of Ireland. Their FETAC accredited

Certificate in Butchering Skills was the winner in the workplace learning category



Yet, in Budget 2009 the Government confirmed

the disbandment of the National Adult Learning Council (NALC), along with the Educational Disadvantage Committee, and outlined a number of cutbacks including a reduction in the number of Back to Educational Initiative (BTEI) places.

It is against this challenging background that thousands of unemployed people are seeking to re-enter education.

AONTAS, the National Association of Adult Education, is a key point of contact for adults seeking to upskill. Last year the organ- isation received almost 6,000 queries from adults about their education options.

AONTAS was established in 1969 to promote the development of a learning society through the provision of a quality and comprehensive system of adult learning and education, which is accessible to and inclusive of all.

The name AONTAS is an acronym in the Irish

language, Aos Oideachais Naisiunta Tri Aontu

Soarlach, meaning 'national adult education through voluntary unification'.

The organisation has approximately 500 voluntary, statutory and individual members. AONTAS works to support the work of its members through the provision of information, lobby campaigns, organising

networking opportunities for members and

representation at national level.

The organisation recently hosted the fourth national Adult Learners Festival, which celebrates adult learning and the achievements of adult learners. It also provided training providers with an opportunity to showcase their work.

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