Seven Dublin based adult learning initiatives two of which are from Tallaght and Walkinstown have been shortlisted for an AONTAS STAR Award. The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are an awards initiative organised by the national adult learning organisation, AONTAS, to recognise and celebrate the work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland.
Shortlisted in the Health and Wellbeing Category was Tallaght based CDI with their Restorative Practices Training Programme: CDI delivers Restorative Practices (RP) which help sustain strong, happy communities. Their work focuses on supporting people to develop good relationships, prevent the escalation of conflict, resolve conflict in a healthy manner and repair harm caused by wrongdoing. In 2020 CDI delivered RP training and supports to almost 4,000 adults and young people from all walks of life.
Shortlisted in the Social Inclusion Category was Walkinstown based WALK REAL Ability Project: This project has kept service users connected and motivated during the COVID-19 restrictions by providing an accessible online space for them and staff to share information and resources. The “Employability Skills Padlet” has empowered the learners to take charge of their own learning and for staff to build their capacity to support people remotely. As a consequence, Service Users and staff have developed digital skills and confidence.
Commenting on the shortlist, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “2020 was a year like no other, and this year the STAR Awards not only reflect the achievements made by adult learning initiatives, but the resilience, innovation and commitment demonstrated by the nominated organisations and their learners. The exceptional nominations this year show how adult learning providers have adapted to ensure that the learners’ needs continue to be met during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We were also struck that whilst learning remotely can be challenging for learners, it also offered a lifeline to many. All of these groups are a brilliant example of this and we are delighted to have such wonderful initiatives shortlisted for a STAR award.”
Judging of the STAR Awards comprises two stages: In the first stage, nominated projects are shortlisted by an independent judging panel, whose membership is drawn from the education, business and technology sectors. The second stage gives staff and learners from the shortlisted projects the opportunity to meet with the judging panel online before they make their final decision.
STAR Award winners will be announced during the week of the Festival (1st-5th March 2021) and a celebratory event will also take place to acknowledge the incredible achievements of all of the groups involved. The STAR Awards form a key part of the AONTAS annual Adult Learners’ Festival. Over the past fifteen years the Festival has become a firm fixture in the Irish adult learning calendar, showcasing the range of learning opportunities available across the country and encouraging adults to try something new. The 2021 Adult Learners’ Festival is AONTAS’ first ever virtual Festival. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing a programme of events will take place online. A key focus of this year’s Festival is on collaboration and the theme of #BetterTogether.
The STAR Awards are proudly sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), Concern Worldwide, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the European Social Fund (ESF). Sponsors will be offering special prizes to all 2021 STAR Award winners.