An Cosán from Tallaght exhibits at AONTAS Summit

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An Cosán from Tallaght exhibited at the AONTAS Lifelong Learning Summit this week in Dublin.

The Summit explored how adult learning can help address the critical issues that society faces from climate change to the challenges facing our democracy.

During the Summit, community-based organisations from across the island of Ireland showcased the work they are doing to promote adult learning in their community. An Cosán showcased the work they are doing in Dublin.

Commenting on the vital role of community-based organisations in delivering adult learning Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “Many adults understandably find the thought of going back into education intimidating. But groups like An Cosán are great at supporting adult learners. They provide a welcoming and supportive learning environment. I would strongly encourage people in Dublin to check out the wide range of services An Cosán provides. Adult learning can be a life-changing experience which can increase your confidence and employability.”

250 international and national guests, learners, policymakers, and adult and community education providers attended the Summit. The event marked 50 years since AONTAS was founded.

The keynote speaker at the event was Lene Rachel Anderson, author of The Nordic Secret, who spoke about how adult learning can be transformative by promoting a more active and engaged citizenry. Other speakers included Seán Ó Foghlú, Secretary-General, Department of Education and Skills; Patricia King, General Secretary, Irish Congress of Trade Unions; and Professor Tom Collins, Chair of the National Water Forum.

A new network of adult learning advocacy organisations from across Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England were launched at the Summit. The Network for Adult Learning Across Borders will see adult learning organisations collaborate on sharing knowledge and best practice models for enhancing adult learning in their communities.

The Lifelong Learning Summit was co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. AONTAS is the National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL) in Ireland. The Summit is the closing event of the current project; Increasing Pathways, Increasing Participation 2017-2019.