AONTAS April E-bulletin

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					AONTAS April E-bulletin
Hi Everyone, It‟s another busy month here in AONTAS – planning is well underway for the AONTAS AGM 2008 which takes place on Wednesday, 7th of May 2008 in the Royal Dublin Hotel, O‟ Connell Street. All members are encouraged to attend. For more information, please click here. Many thanks to everyone who contributed to last month's E-bulletin. Remember, the Ebulletin is a great way to highlight the work of your organisation and communicate with other AONTAS members. It is a resource for all AONTAS members and we would encourage everyone to contribute. I hope to e-mail the E-bulletin to members the second week of every month. Therefore information for inclusion in the E-bulletin should be submitted to by the first week of each month.

AONTAS Annual General Meeting 2008 AONTAS Executive Committee Elections 2008 Adult Learners’ Festival Edition of Explore First IRRACE Event Deemed a Great Success The Community Education Network – Get Involved EAEA General Assembly and AONTAS Conference DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: Adult Learners’ Festival 2009: 2 nd – 6th of February 8. Have you made the headlines? 9. AONTAS Information Booklet 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

10. CASE STUDY: Are you an inspirational adult learner? 11. Welcome to New Members 12. Farewell Maureen

Membership News
13. Summer Courses with CELT 14. NALA 8 Part TV Series Starts May 1st

Adult Education News
15. Minister Hanafin PQ Part Time Fees in Higher Education 16. AONTAS Press Release: Adult Learning Organisation Supports Intercultural Education Strategy 17. AONTAS Press Release: Time for Action on Upskilling says, Adult Learning Organisation 18. AONTAS Press Release: New Statistics on Pupil Retention Show Little Progress say Adult Learning Organisation 19. New Education Centre Opened at Roscrea, Co Tipperary 20. PISA for Adults 21. Leargas Study Visits for Education and Vocational Training Specialists

22. All Ireland Conference for the Community Sector ‘Funding and the Strings Attached’ 23. New Futures – Mapping the Road Ahead: An Annual Conference for the Community and Voluntary Sector

Publications & Websites
24. OECD Economic Survey 2008

Education & Training Opportunities
25. Tools for Analysis and Change: Introduction to Using Development Education in Community Education 26. Social Policy – Making a Difference at Local Level

27. Reading and Writing Difficulties Among Adults: Training Course, Cyprus 28. Introduction to Advocacy by Brian Harvey

Funding Opportunities
29. Training Grants for the Professional Development of Adult Education Staff 30. St Stephens Green Grant Trusts Scheme 2008

E-bulletin Information
31. General E-bulletin Information

1. AONTAS Annual General Meeting 2008 The 38th AONTAS AGM will take place on Wednesday 7th May from 10am – 1pm in the Royal Dublin Hotel, O‟Connell Street, Dublin 1. It is essential for members to attend this event, this is your organisation and your input is vital. Registration/Teas and Coffees from 10.00am AGENDA 11.00am 1. Welcome and Opening - Brid Connolly, Vice - President. 2. Adoption of Standing Orders 3. Minutes of the 37th Annual General Meeting. 4. Matters arising 5. Annual Report 6. Open Forum 7. Annual Accounts (included in the Annual Report). 8. Appointment of Auditors. 8.1 To authorise the Executive Committee to appoint Anne Brady & Associates as Auditors for the year 2008 8.2 To authorise the Executive Committee to determine the remuneration for the Auditors for the year 2008. 9. Acknowledgement of outgoing AONTAS Executive Committee Officer Board

10. Introduction of New Executive Committee 12.00pm 11. AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival STAR award winner presentation 12. Discussion space 13. AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival 2008 DVD 1.00pm 14. Close Light Lunch For further information, please contact Niamh O‟ Reilly, Membership Development Officer on 014068220 or e-mail Back to Top 2. AONTAS Executive Committee Elections 2008

A number of positions on the AONTAS Executive Committee were up for election this year. The closing date for nominations for the AONTAS Executive Committee elections was Wednesday, 9th of April 2008. The number of nominations received for the positions of Officers and ordinary members of the Executive Committee, 2008-2010, has met the number of positions available and therefore there will be no election. As such, we will be delighted to introduce these new Executive Committee members at the AGM. For further information, please contact Niamh O‟ Reilly, Membership Development Officer on 014068220 or e-mail Back to Top 3. Adult Learners’ Festival Edition of Explore The Adult Learners‟ Festival edition of Explore complete with a DVD with highlights of the Festival will be posted all members next week. This special festival issue of Explore takes a look back at the second Adult Learners‟ Festival and the various activities that made up the week. From a packed conference centre at Dublin Castle, to promoting adult and community education at events around the country, to communicating the

priorities in the policy arena to elected representatives, the key message this year was „Learning Matters.‟ Special thanks to DCTV who produced the DVD which accompanies the magazine. Subscription to Explore is free of charge. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for the magazine, please contact Niamh Farren, Communications Officer, AONTAS, Tel: 01-4068220, Email: Back to Top 4. First IRAACE Event of 2008 Deemed a Great Success The Irish Research Association for Adult and Community Education (IRAACE), of which AONTAS is a key member, held its first event of 2008 in the Royal Dublin Hotel, O‟Connell Street, Dublin 1 on April 4th. The half day morning event, which was well attended, offered delegates the opportunity to network with other researchers, to discuss current projects and to showcase their latest research. The event was opened by Berni Brady, Director of AONTAS, who welcomed delegates and gave a brief background and overview of the work of IRAACE since its inception in 2005. This introduction was followed by an edifying presentation on „How to Do Research and Use Research Findings‟, by guest speaker Lyn Tett, Professor of Lifelong Learning and Community Education in the Moray House School of Education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Professor Tett‟s presentation was very well received by all. Speed Networking Workshops Following on from this, delegates participated in one of five themed workshops. These workshops included „Policy Issues Emerging from Research‟, „Widening Participation and Access‟, „Literacy‟, „Community based Research‟ and „Supporting Researchers in Third Level‟. Delegates were given the opportunity to network with other participants in the workshop, using the „speed-dating‟ format, which allows each participant to spend 5 minutes networking with another participant in the group, before moving down the line to the next participant. This process is repeated until every member of the group has had an opportunity to speak to one another. Feedback from delegates on the speednetworking format has been very positive. “I found it very informative and useful.” “The speed-dating was a good way of sharing ideas.”

The final phase of the workshops involved a group discussion to identify the main themes emerging. The Development Committee of IRAACE will use the themes identified in each of the workshops for the future work and direction of IRAACE. The themes will be outlined in an event report which will be available to view online in the coming weeks. The event was brought to a close by Kerry Lawless, Research Manager with NALA, who thanked Professor Tett for her excellent contribution to the event and the delegates for their enthusiastic participation. While acknowledging the work of AONTAS and NALA, Kerry also recognised the significant contribution made by the other members of the Development Committee, representing the Departments responsible for Adult and Community Education in WIT, UCD, Queens and Maynooth. The event has generated great enthusiasm and interest among delegates and has invigorated IRAACE. A detailed delegate list from the event will be circulated in the coming weeks. For further information on IRAACE please contact Adele McKenna, Policy & Research Officer, AONTAS, e-mail: Back to Top 5. The Community Education Network – Get Involved! Join the Community Education Network to create a stronger voice for community education and to lobby for its needs. Any local, self-managed, independent community education organisation that is committed to raising the profile of, and lobbying for, a community education sector that is committed to social change can join! Stay up-to-date on the activities of the Community Education Network by logging onto our website: A report on the first AONTAS Community Education Network Meeting is available for download. The next meeting of the Network will take place on Wednesday, 21st of May. For further information please contact Niamh O‟Reilly, Membership Development Officer, on 01 4068220 or email Back to Top 6. EAEA General Assembly and AONTAS Conference

The EAEA General Assembly 2008 and AONTAS Conference will take place in the Grand Hotel in Malahide on the 20th and 21st of October 2008 respectively. The two days will include the awarding of a Grundtvig Award for an outstanding adult learning project, EAEA executive board elections, workshops and much more! Planning is well underway and further information on the theme and format of the Conference and the General Assembly will be sent to members in the coming months. For further information, please contact: Jacinta Cuthbert Head of Organisational Development Back to Top 7. DATE FOR YOUR DIARY: Adult Learners’ Festival 2009: 2 nd to 6th of February The third annual AONTAS Adult Learners‟ Festival will take place the first week of spring 2008 (February 2 – 6). Once again, the festival will be coordinated and promoted nationally by AONTAS, with the support and participation of our members and various adult and community education groups throughout the country. AONTAS hope to expand and improve the Adult Learners' Festival 2009. We have already started preparing for next year's festival and once again, we need your help! Our aim is to celebrate adult learning and the achievements of adult learners, to showcase the work of adult education providers and to ensure adult education is placed firmly on the political agenda. The Adult Learners‟ Festival 2009 will only be a success if we have both a national and local dimension and we would encourage everyone involved in adult and community education groups to participate. We will be sending out information in relation to the festival in the coming months. If your organisation would like to become involved in the 2009 festival, please contact AONTAS on 01-4068220, E-mail: Back to Top 8. Have you made the Headlines? Local newspapers and community radio stations are an ideal way to promote the valuable work of your organisation. Unfortunately, it‟s not always possible for us here in

the AONTAS office to read all the local papers so if your project has received publicity recently we want to know! Send us press clippings, podcasts or even a quick e-mail to let us know if you have made the headlines! Please contact: Niamh Farren, Communications Officer E-mail: Ph: 01 4068220 Back to Top 9. AONTAS Information Booklet The success of the first annual Adult Learners‟ Festival and the increased publicity AONTAS received resulted in a very busy year for the AONTAS Information Referral Service. AONTAS originally provided information sheets on a variety of topics to learners contacting the organisation. However, the increase in the volume and complexity of queries called for an information resource for learners that was comprehensive, flexible and easy to understand. After months of hard work and many drafts later the AONTAS Information Booklet was launched by Minister for Lifelong Learning, Sean Haughey TD, at the AONTAS General Meeting on Wednesday, 28 th November 2007 as part of the new AONTAS Resource Pack. The Information Booklet is first and foremost a resource for the prospective adult learner that contacts the AONTAS Information Referral Service. The wide variety of courses available along with different entry criteria and funding options can be overwhelming. The booklet aims to introduce all adult learners and potential adult learners to the options available to them in adult learning in a way that is comprehensive and easy to understand. From a broad financial supports section to a thorough lists of learning opportunities available to an extensive contacts list, the booklet is packed full of all the information a prospective adult learner might need! The booklet also includes inspirational stories from adult learners who have started their lifelong learning journey and are encouraging others to do the same! It couldn‟t be easier to get your copy of the Information Booklet – it‟s available in hardcopy, online and via e-mail. Simply contact the AONTAS office on 01 4068220 or and we will send you your copy of the AONTAS information booklet

by post or e-mail. Alternatively, visit to download a copy without delay! For further information please contact: Jennifer Gunning Information Officer Ph: 01 4068220 E-mail: Back to Top 10. CASE STUDY: Are you an Inspirational Adult Learner?

As part of the AONTAS Strategic plan it was identified that we would actively support our members to promote the value of adult and community education, profile their work and engage with local media and key agencies. The collection of case studies was seen as an integral part of this work and will complement our policy and promotional work. AONTAS are currently compiling a database of case studies to promote the benefits of adult learning and highlight the way in which adult learning can change the lives of real people. On television, radio or newspapers, nothing is more effective than a real story from a real learner for demonstrating the benefits of returning to education. We hope to highlight these stories on our website and in a range of our publications such as Explore and the Information Booklet. These stories will also be highlighted at AONTAS events such as the learners networks, the Community Education Network and of course the Adult Learners Festival. In line with our policy role, we are interested in hearing from adult learners who have had particular challenges returning to education. AONTAS is currently gathering information about adult learners experiences of the Back to Education Allowance. See our policy section of the website for further information. If you an adult learner or know of an adult learner who wants to share their story and inspire other adults to return to education please click here to share an individual case study or here to share a group case study. For further information: Please contact: Jennifer Gunning Information Officer E-mail: Ph: 01 4068220 Back to Top

11. Welcome to New Members AONTAS are pleased to welcome the following new organisational members: MALTA (Monaghan Adult Learning Through the Arts) Little Bray Family Resource Centre Community Development Project BNS Rural Development Empower Training Third Age Foundation Praxis Co Carlow VEC Education & Training Centre St Joseph‟s Training Centre Training For Employment Enterprise House

We would also like to welcome the 11 individual members who have joined the organisation recently. For further information on membership, contact Niamh O‟ Reilly, Membership Development Officer on 01 4068220 or Alternatively, visit for membership news and resources. Back to Top 12. Farewell Maureen!

Maureen Kavanagh, CEF Training Programme Coordinator is leaving AONTAS on Friday, 18 April 2008 after a decade working with the organisation. Maureen will be sorely missed by staff and members alike. We would like to wish her the very best luck in her new position as CEO of Active Retirement Ireland. Back to Top

13. Summer Courses with CELT CELT are about to enter the summer season, and would like to remind you of all the courses and training opportunities with them over the summer months.

Kicking off with the 1st Weekend in the Woods event of the year, on May 3rd & 4th Location: Bealkelly Woods, Tuamgraney Co. Clare Some spaces still available on: Coppersmithing, Felting, Greenwood Furniture, Hemp/Lime Plaster, Spinning & Weaving, Steambending (New Course), StoneCarving, Sugan Chair Making, Tipi Making, Woodcarving, River Ecology / Management Please click on for course descriptions and on-line booking. Also, this year CELT are launching our new Traditional & Ecological Skills Holidays Enjoy the scenery and rich heritage of Co. Clare while learning a traditional and / or ecological skill. Bookings can be made including accommodation at all levels, approved hotel/B&B, self-catering cottages, mobile home, camping etc. or with no accommodation at all. Incorporate in a 1 day Guided Burren or Woodland Walk, or have a free day. Courses are week-long in duration, from Saturday to Saturday, and comprise 5 days traditional / ecological skills. See for available dates, course combinations and prices For further information: CELT (Centre for Environmental Living and Training) c/o East Clare Community Coop, Scariff, Co.Clare Tel: 061.640765 Back to Top 14. NALA: 8 Part TV Series Starts May 1 on RTE 1 The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is starting an adult literacy distance education service. The service includes an 8-part TV series (on RTÉ 1 from May 2008) along with a freephone tutor support line and a learning web site. NALA is The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA). It co-ordinates, organises training and develops policy on adult literacy and adult basic education (ABE) work in Ireland. It

is a national non-profit organisation that people can join as members. NALA were created in 1980 and have campaigned since then for the public and for policy makers to recognise and respond to the needs of people with literacy difficulties in Ireland. For further information, visit Back to Top

15. Minister Hanafin PQ Part Time Fees in Higher Education In June 2007 AONTAS produced a Policy Position Paper on Part-time Fees in Higher Education outlining the Organisation‟s stance on fees charged for part-time courses in third level institutions. The paper was drawn up following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including third level institutions, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and the National Access Office. The paper identifies the need for the removal of fees for part-time students in order to ensure equal access for all learners in higher level education. However the paper highlights that fees for parttime students are “one piece of the jigsaw” and comprehensive supports, including financial assistance are also required for smooth progression through the system. AONTAS circulated the Policy Position Paper in Part time Fees in Higher Education to members of the Joint Committee of Education and Science in advance of their discussion on the „Fund to alleviate part time fees for those in the workforce who do not already have a third level qualification‟. Click here for more information On Wednesday, 9th of April 2008 Deputy Brendan Howlin of the Labour Party asked Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin a parliamentary question in relation to the alleviation of part time fees in higher education and the commitments made to that end in Towards 2016. 78. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Science the provision made in the 2008 Estimates for the targeted fund of €10 million to alleviate fees in public institutions for persons participating in third level study who are in employment and who have not previously pursued a third level qualification as outlined in Section 7.9 of Towards 2016; the administrative procedures of the scheme; when applications will be accepted; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13213/08]

Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Hanafin): Paragraph 7.9 of Part VI of Towards 2016 contains a commitment to establish a targeted fund to alleviate fees in Higher Education Authority (HEA) supported public institutions for part-time courses at third level for those at work who have not previously pursued a third level qualification. A €10m fund, drawn from the National Training Fund, is available with the aim of meeting the above commitment. As an initial step towards meeting this commitment, a pilot Modular Accreditation Programme commenced in Tallaght Institute of Technology last October, and the HEA intends to develop other pilot programmes for launch this year. These pilot programmes will prove useful in testing the demand for the next phase in meeting the commitment. The fund will also support a scheme to be developed in close cooperation with ICTU. In designing this scheme, the Government will have regard to the following objectives: o targeting people in work who have not had the opportunity to pursue third level education previously to level 8 on the National Qualifications Framework; o reducing the amount of fees that workers pay; o maintaining the current benefits in relation to employer support and tax relief available to workers in respect of third level fees; and o allowing for a part refund to be paid on successful completion of each academic year of the relevant course. Officials from my Department will be in touch with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and ICTU shortly to advance the development of this scheme, and will liaise with education and other stakeholders, with a view to having any new arrangements in place in respect of courses commencing from September 2008. Given this timing the full annual cost will arise in the context of the 2009 estimates. For further information on part time fees in higher education contact Adele Mckenna, Policy and Research Officer on 01 4068220 or Back to Top 16. AONTAS Press Release: Adult Learning Organisation Supports Intercultural Education Strategy This press release was issued on Monday, 14 April 2008 to support Intercultural Awareness Week coordinated by the NCCRI

Adult Learning Organisation supports Intercultural Education Strategy Speaking about Intercultural Awareness Week which has been running from April 7th to 14th, today AONTAS Director Berni Brady supported calls from anti-racism groups for a comprehensive national intercultural education strategy, which would accommodate diversity at all levels within the Irish education system.

'We believe this strategy must also cater to the needs of adults who come to Ireland', explained Ms Brady. 'AONTAS has always called for a holistic approach to education. Adult and community education provide opportunities for immigrants to integrate, meet Irish people and learn about living in Ireland. Adult and community education initiatives also allow Irish adults to learn and experience other cultures and viewpoints.' She continued, 'Through our own membership and activities we have come across many practical examples of how adult education contributes towards integration and promotes interculturalism. The Integrate Ireland and Language Training Programme, primarily works with refugees in Ireland. Classes are based around practical needs -in a class based on the theme of education, adults might find out about the education system in Ireland and tasks could include writing a note to their child's teacher, role playing a parent teacher meeting, or researching available courses. Another example is Fáilte Isteach, an initiative which sees older people in Meath delivering conversational English classes to immigrants on a voluntary basis. The success of Fáilte Isteach is not only due to the practical language skills learned, but also through the mutual learning and social interaction which takes place, creating a greater sense of community spirit.' The CSO estimates that 10% of the population are non Irish nationals. These include migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers. Research indicates that many immigrants to Ireland are highly educated, but often experience difficulties having their qualifications recognised. Asylum seekers are currently not entitled to access further education, apart from basic literacy whilst their status is being reviewed. NASC, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre in Cork has already highlighted how the direct provision system already prevents asylum seekers from integrating. 'We believe that this situation is made worse as those seeking asylum are prevented from accessing education which would assist their integration both in the workplace and in wider Irish society,' concluded Ms Brady. ENDS Back to Top 17. AONTAS Press Release: Time for Action on Up Skilling, says Adult Learning Organisation

This press release was issued on Friday, 11 April 2008 following Minister for Lifelong Learning, Sean Haughey TD address at the National Information Technology Training Conference. Time for Action on Up skilling, says Adult Learning Organisation Berni Brady, AONTAS Director today called on the Minister for Lifelong Learning, Séan Haughey to take serious action on the issue of upskilling for employment. Earlier today the Minister addressed the National Information Technology Training Conference hosted by the Irish Computer Society. 'The targets outlined in the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs Report are ambitious' she commented. 'For example, by 2020, the report recommends that 500,000 members of the workforce will need to be upskilled by at least one NFQ level. Back in February the Minister announced the establishment of an Interdepartmental Committee to oversee implementation of the strategy. Earlier this week he indicated that the Committee will meet for the first time later this month. We are still waiting to find out who will sit on the Committee, apart from the Minister.' Fine Gael today issued a strong warning that some 150,000 workers in the residential construction industry face an uncertain future with the downturn in the housing market. Ms Brady continued, 'The live register is now at its highest point for nine years and it is low skilled, low paid workers who stand to lose as unemployment figures rise. Earlier this week Micheal Martin, Minster for Enterprise Trade and Employment announced the creation of 140 new jobs in Longford, which will attract 'high skilled' and 'high calibre' workers. Creating a highly skilled, high calibre workforce means investing in people', she concluded. ENDS Back to Top 18. AONTAS Press Release: New Statistics on Pupil Retention Show Little Progress, says Adult Learning Organisation This press release was issued on Monday, 28 March 2008 following the release of new statistics on pupil retention launched by Minister for Education Mary Hanafin New statistics on pupil retention show little progress, says Adult Learning Organisation AONTAS Director Berni Brady today responded with disappointment to new statistics released by Minister for Education Mary Hanafin. The statistics indicate that almost 84%

of pupils who started their second level education in 1999 completed their second level education compared with just over 81% three years earlier. Although the report indicates yearly improvements, this minor increase is discouraging considering the amount of government funding spent addressing educational disadvantage. 'Over the past ten years, this government has invested over €600 million in initiatives to target educational disadvantage. This minor increase hardly represents value for money for the Irish taxpayer', said Ms Brady today. AONTAS has continually called on the government to take a more holistic view of education. 'The report of the Educational Disadvantage Committee, 'Beyond Educational Disadvantage' in 2005 recommended a much broader integrated approach to lifelong learning but was largely ignored in favour of DEIS which focuses on school education', continued Ms Brady. 'We were extremely disappointed by the government's decision not to reinstate the Committee itself after its first term of office. Although the Minister says she is adopting a more integrated approach, it is still one which almost exclusively focuses on schools. 'We seriously need to think more laterally about tackling the issue of educational disadvantage - initiatives which promote family learning models, and intergenerational responses which target parents with literacy difficulties are all part of the jigsaw,' she explained. 'Furthermore, supports such as Adult Guidance need to be increased, so that education is accessible to everyone, at whatever stage of their lives they choose to take it up.' Ms Brady also questioned the Ministers commitment to enhancing opportunities for early school leavers in the adult and further education sectors. 'Budget 2008 promises an extra 500 places for the Back to Education Initiative, an additional 100 places for Youthreach and an extra 500 places for adult literacy. This falls extremely short of the commitment made by the government in 'Towards 2016'', she concluded. ENDS Back to Top 19. New Education Centre Opened at Roscrea, Co Tipperary Minister for Lifelong Learning, Seán Haughey, T.D. officially opened the new Education Centre at Roscrea, Co. Tipperary on Monday, 14th of April. The new centre comprises of ultra modern facilities including a new hairdressing room, a well equipped new computer room, woodwork room and up to date kitchen facilities. Roscrea Youthreach caters for up 35 students and provides two years integrated education; training and work experience for young people aged 15-20 who have left

school early without qualifications or vocational training. The main programme being offered at the new centre is Youthreach. The Youthreach programme, which has been operating in Roscrea for seventeen years, offers Junior Certificate courses and other courses up to FETAC Level 4. From this year, the Leaving Certificate Applied programme will also be available. All of these programmes take place in the Roscrea Education Centre, in a positive learning environment. This positive learning environment is fundamental to the ethos of Youthreach. Speaking at the opening Minister Haughey said “Youthreach is the primary programme being offered here in Roscrea. We are all aware of the critical influence that a person’s early educational experience has on his or her life chances. We also know that the decision to leave school early is not taken lightly. For many of those who leave school early with no qualifications Youthreach provides the ideal opportunity for a return to learning and consequently, a return of self-esteem.” Minister Haughey also presented certificates in Youthreach and BTEI to former students of the Centre. Back to Top 20. PISA for Adults Following its successful PISA programme for testing the educational attainments of 15-year old high-school students, OECD is launching a challenging new project to assess the knowledge and skills of adults. The OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) will assess the level and distribution of adult skills across countries, focusing on the cognitive and workplace skills needed for successful participation in today's work environment. PIAAC will also gather data on participants' educational backgrounds and professional attainments, as well as their ability to use information and communications technology (ICT) and their general levels of literacy and numeracy. Following development work over the next two years and a field trial planned for 2010, the first tests will take place in 2011. The project will build on the success of OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which recently completed its third round of high-school student evaluations. PIAAC will help governments to go further in evaluating and designing education and training policies by providing comparative information on skills among their adult populations, how these are spread out and how they affect earnings and

employment prospects and the future readiness of individuals to undertake further training. Governments in all OECD countries face the challenge of maintaining competitiveness in a global knowledge economy by ensuring flexible and responsive labour markets open to as wide a range of people of all ages. One of PIAAC's core objectives will be to assess how well participants use ICT to access, manage, integrate and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, and communicate with other people. In addition, PIAAC will collect information on participants' use of key work skills in their jobs - a first for an international study. In this way, PIAAC will offer a far more complete and nuanced picture of the "human capital" on which countries can count as they compete in today's globalised economy. It will help policy makers to assess the effectiveness of education and training systems, both for recent entrants to the labour market and for older people who may need to continue learning new skills throughout their lifetime. PIAAC assessments and questionnaires will be designed to ensure cross-cultural, cross-national and cross-language validity. All participating countries will have to adhere to common technical standards when implementing the survey. The project will be managed by participating OECD countries under the guidance of a PIAAC board supported by the OECD Secretariat. Participation will be open to all OECD countries, as well as to non-OECD countries and economies within a framework established by the PIAAC board. For further information, visit Back to Top 21. Leargas Study Visits for Education and Vocational Training Specialists Leargas has been appointed as the National Agency for the management of the Study Visit Programme by the Department of Education and Science from January 2008. Both the former Arion and the Cedefop study visit programmes have been consolidated into one programme: Study Visits for Education and Vocational Training Specialists. Study visits provide education decision-makers and those responsible for vocational education and training with the opportunity to spend up to a week in another European country learning about new practices and approaches in education. Taking part study visits provides invaluable networking opportunities and the chance to meet potential partners from other European countries for collaboration on transnational projects. Applications are now being accepted for study visits that will take place from September 2008 to June 2009. The deadline for receipt of applications is 30th of April 2008 For further information visit

Back to Top

22. All Ireland Conference for the Community Sector: ‘Funding and the Strings Attached’ Date: Wednesday 30th of April 2008 Time: 10.30 – 13.15 Venue: Royal Dublin Hotel, O‟ Connell Street The Conference will provide an opportunity for members of the community sector to come together and reflect on issues and challenges associated with the funding we do/do not receive. It will look at funding from a state perspective, as well as private trust funds, and the relationship between them and with us. Speakers at the event: Brian Harvey, Independent Researcher Avila Kilmuarry, Community Foundation for Northern Ireland Anastasia Crickley, NUI Maynooth Please print out the booking form and post it to arrive no later than April 23rd. Download a booking form here. This is an initiative by the following national organisations: OPEN, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Pavee Point, Irish Refugee Council, National Women‟s Council of Ireland, Community Workers Co-op. For further information visit Back to Top 23. New Futures – Mapping the Road Ahead: An Annual Conference for the Community and Voluntary Sector on May 1st, Dublin The Wheel annual conference and AGM Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin 7, 1st May 2008 9.30am - 4.45pm. Registration from 9.00am

In the new era of charity regulation and increased demands on our organisations, how is our sector going to adapt, grow and thrive so that it continues to make a difference to those that we serve? This year's conference will: provoke discussion on the sector's role in the new era of regulation and on preparing our organisations for the change stimulate thinking on addressing the skills-gaps and meeting the support needs of our sector showcase key developments that will help people who manage community / voluntary / charitable organisations to achieve their missions host discussion on preparing for all the forthcoming changes Learn about: - the developmental needs of the community and voluntary sector - the introduction of charity regulation and the regulation of fundraising - policies for developing skills in - and providing supports for - the sector Who should attend? The Wheel's conference is open to anyone volunteering or working in or associated with the community and voluntary sector who has an interest in the 'big picture' and in the wider issues facing the sector. The conference will provide learning opportunities for anyone interested in learning more about: - the developmental needs of the community and voluntary sector - the introduction of charity regulation and the regulation of fundraising - policies for developing skills in - and providing supports for - the sector For more details check Contact The Wheel Irish Social Finance Centre, 10 Grattan Crescent, Inchicore, Dublin 8, Ireland. Tel 353-1- 454 8727 E-mail: Back to Top

24. OECD Economic Survey of Ireland 2008 The OECD Economic Survey of Ireland 2008 was published on 16 April 2008. An Economic Survey is published every 1½-2 years for each OECD country. The OECD

assessment and recommendations on the main economic challenges faced by Ireland are available by clicking here Chapter 6 may be of particular interest to adult and community education practitioners. This chapter reviews Irish immigration policy in the light of international experience. It also highlights the uncertainties about future migration flows and the challenges they pose for infrastructure planning. Immigration has soared in recent years. The immigrants tend to be young, well educated and work. But they often work in basic jobs. Immigration policy should thus focus on better integration. Back to Top

25. Tools for Analysis and Change: Introduction to Using Development Education in Community Development Two Day Training Seminar organised by Lourdes Youth and Community Services (LYCS) Tuesday 29th April & Wednesday 7th May 2008 9.30 – 5pm (Lunch is included) at the Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna, Co. Galway This introductory training seminar will explore: What is development education? Why is a local / global analysis of poverty and inequality useful? How can we explore global development issues in our day to day community work? Planning a development education event in your project. It is essential to attend both days. The seminar is aimed at anyone involved in community development/ community education who is interested in learning more about how and why to link local issues to a global context. It will include exercises based on workshops from our resource 'Connecting Communities: A Practical Guide to using Development Education in Community Settings', and other practical ideas for taking development education back to your work. Overnight accommodation is available. If required, please contact us as soon as

possible. This seminar is fully funded by Irish Aid. Booking required by Monday 21st April 2008. Please contact Riona in LYCS for an application form, or for more details. Phone: 01-8230860 E-mail at Website: Back to Top 26. Social Policy - Making a Difference at Local Level Organised by Citizens Information Board DATE: Thursday, 24 April 2008 (10.00am-4.30pm) VENUE: Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, Co. Offaly PRESENTER: David Stratton, Social Policy Executive, CIB; Teresa McCourt, Development Manager, Westmeath CIS LIMITED TO 20 participants AIM: To enhance an understanding of Social Policy and the participant's role in the context of information, advice and advocacy services. LEARNING OUTCOMES On completion of this course participants should be able to: - Define the terms social policy and social policy work - Explain social change and the social policy process - Identify a social policy issue - Prepare a social policy report - Recommend an action for social policy change Applications to: Ann Marie Byrne Citizens Information Board C/O Offaly CIS Level 1 The Bridge Centre, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Tel: (057) 9341 262 Fax: (057) 9351 523 Email: Back to Top 27. Reading and Writing Difficulties Among Adults – Training Course, Cyprus READING AND WRITING DIFFICULTIES AMONG ADULTS

TRAINING COURSE IN LIMASSOL, CYPRUS 22-26 OCTOBER 2008 The Grundtvig project called “Forward Trainer” has resulted in a Training course that will take place in Cyprus. This course will focus mainly on raising awareness of the problems connected with reading and writing difficulties and on initial steps in spotting and helping adults who have these difficulties. The course will be practical in its approach and it will involve the participants in a variety of activities. Although this is an Inter-European course, it will be taught by teachers who have a lot of experience of teaching similar courses in their own countries. Target group Teachers, careers officers, tutors, trade union and employers representatives, local authorities, administrative and non-teaching administrative staff, adult educators, counsellors, teacher trainers and others who, in their professions, are likely to meet adults with reading and writing difficulties. The course will be taught by Kari H. A. Letrud: Senior Adviser and expert on reading and writing difficulties at Vox, National Institute for Adult Learning, Norway. She has been one of the project coordinators of the Forward project, which this course originates from. Project home page: Dr. Christine Firman: Head of the Unit for Learning Difficulties at the Ministry of Education of Malta. She has been one of the partners in the project FORWARD. She is an experience lecturer. The seminar manager is Klitos Symeonides: a professional Adult Educator, President of the Cyprus Adult Education Association. Contact details: E-mail:

Mobile tel.: 00357-99470810 DEADLINE for applications to the National Agencies: End of June 2008 THIS is a Comenius/Grundtvig training course In order to apply for funds to cover all expenses, you need a letter of acceptance from the seminar manager. For further information, please visit: http:/

Search code: CY-2008-036-001

Back to Top 28. Introduction to Advocacy Presented by Brian Harvey (May, 22)

Schedule: 22nd May in Kilkenny (10am - 4.30pm) Presented by Mr Brian Harvey, Social Research Consultant Aim: To give participants an opportunity to explore methods of influencing policy at local and national level. Learning Outcome: By the end of the training participants will: Be able to identify the strategies for campaigning, lobbying, advocacy and influencing policy. Be able to recognise what makes a successful campaign from case study work. Have experienced designing a model campaign in small groups.

Target Group: Staff in Statutory and Voluntary organisations who see advocacy as part of their role; such as Community Workers, Youth Workers, members of support groups. For more details and to book contact Frances Kelly 056 7761400 / email Back to Top

29. Training Grants for the Professional Development of Adult Education Staff Grundtvig In Service Training grants are available for those working in adult education institutions to undertake a training course, job shadowing or attend a seminar/conference in a participating European country other than that in which they are working.

The aim of this activity is to enable participants to undertake a professional development opportunity and to gain a broader understanding of lifelong learning in Europe. Deadlines for 2008: 30th June 2008 (for training starting between 1 Oct 2008 and 31 Dec 2008) 30th September 2008 (for training starting between 1 Jan 2009 and 31 March 2009) Please ensure that you apply under the correct deadline for when your training activity is taking place. You may source a suitable course of your own choosing or you can source a course on the Comenius Grundtvig Course Database For further details and application forms please consult or contact Denise Shannon at Leargas 01 - 873 14 11 email Leargas 189 Parnell Street, Dublin 1 Back to Top 30. St Stephens Green Trust Grants Scheme 2008 St Stephen's Green Trust grants scheme has 4 Grant Focus areas: 1. Specific areas of disability (Autistic Spectrum Disorder; Hearing Impairment); 2. Development and Integration (Older people in isolation; New Communities; Travellers); 3. Breaking the Link (Homelessness; Offenders); 4. Christian Values and Social Change. Who is eligible to apply? SSGT will accept applications from voluntary or community organisations, with a CHY or XR number. If the number is pending or if there is no charitable status, the Trust will require copies of the instrument under which the organisation is set up, such as Constitution or Memo and Articles of Association. If your group is does not fit into one of these categories, please check with us before completing an application form.

Ineligible activities The Trust cannot consider applications for building costs; general appeals; retrospective funding or individuals. Application Process We encourage applicants to contact us before completing the application form to ensure the project meets the Trust's criteria. Applications are considered by the Trustees, usually within six weeks of the deadlines. Applicants are informed of their decision within a week of that meeting. Occasionally an application will be deferred pending receipt of further information. Organisations in receipt of a grant will be required to provide information relating to the grant e.g. reports, updates and newsletters. The Trust also requires mention of the grant in annual reports and accounts and any other appropriate publication. Application forms are not freely available. This is to ensure organisations meet the criteria before writing the application. If you feel your organisation is eligible, please contact the Trust giving the following brief details - Name and address of organisation - What does the group do - For which project do you need the money - Estimate the amount of money you are requesting You can phone, post, fax or email the information. Please contact Orla O'Neill Grants & Development Director email tel/fax 045 480 666 St Stephen's Green Trust PO Box 950, Naas, Co Kildare Applications are considered by Trustees three times each year. Next deadlines for 2008 Friday, 2nd May 2008 Friday, 5th September 2008 Website: Back to Top

31. General E-bulletin Information We hope that the E-bulletin will continue to act as a useful resource for you throughout 2008. Remember, the E-bulletin is a means for you, as AONTAS members, to communicate and exchange information with one another and we would encourage you to make as much use of this resource as possible - sending in information for inclusion, sharing best practice, following up on articles of interest and relevance to you and / or your group, forwarding on the E-bulletin to colleagues, or simply letting us know about the valuable work you are doing! We will e-mail the E-bulletin to members the second week of every month. Therefore, information for inclusion in the E-bulletin should be submitted to by the first week of every month. The deadline for the May Ebulletin is Friday, 9 May 2008. We hope you enjoyed reading the AONTAS E-bulletin. Anyone with any queries in relation to the E-bulletin should contact Ciara Murphy at or at 01 4068220. Back to Top

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