There are approximately 200,000 adults involved in formal, further education programmes. These are adults availing of education through local Education and Training Boards (including adult literacy, community education, Youthreach, VTOS, Back to Education Initiative, PLC programmes and Senior Traveller Training Centres)
Over the past two years over 10,000 adults have entered third level education (Higher Education Institutions), and there are now almost 160,000 adults on SOLAS (Formerly FÁS) programmes. A further 30,000 adults are estimated to take part in community education delivered by independent organisations operating in the community and voluntary sector.
To read a recent report on "Life Long Learning amongst Adults in Ireland" click here.
Courses and Awards
There are tens of thousands of courses on offer throughout Ireland. With the exception of 'Hobby' courses, most courses lead to some form of qualification from an awarding accreditation authority.
In Ireland, most qualifications fit into what is known as the The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). This framework divides all qualifications into ten levels. It can be useful to think of it as a ladder system; entry at the bottom is at Level 1 and Level 10 is at the top.
The range of Levels include different types of qualifications:
- Basic Education (Levels 1-3)
- Certificates and Diplomas (Levels 4-7)
- Undergraduate Degrees (Levels 7-8) and
- Postgraduate Qualifications (Levels 9-10)
AONTAS is Ireland’s national adult learning organisation for adult and community education providers and adult learners. It promotes the value and benefits of adult learning, and advocates on behalf of the sector. Founded in 1969, it is an independent NGO, with nearly 500 members nationwide.
The Community Education Network (CEN) was established in 2007 by AONTAS. The CEN is the only national network that is dedicated to independent voluntary community education groups who are committed to social change through education. The CEN is a distinct group of 160 members working in community education organisations who collectively advocate for the recognition and promotion of community education in Ireland.
To view a copy of the What's Next? publication from AONTAS: click here
The One Step Up website and helpline has been developed and is managed by AONTAS and aims to help adults to enhance their learning by promoting access to learning opportunities for all adults, a Freephone Helpline, and a calendar of learning events.
For more information Freephone the helpline on
1800 303 669 or e-mail here.