Nominations Sought for Adult Learning STAR Awards

Blossom Ireland STAR Awards 2021

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation is seeking nominations from adult learning projects for the STAR Awards 2022. The STAR Awards recognise outstanding work in adult learning and give projects the opportunity to promote their excellent work and bring national recognition to learners, staff and organisations.

Previous winners in Dublin include Blossom Ireland’s My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course and the WALK REAL Ability Project in 2021.

To highlight the diverse range of quality adult learning initiatives taking place across the country, AONTAS encourages STAR Award nominations in five categories for 2022:

  • Health and Wellbeing
  • Learner Voice
  • Social Inclusion
  • Sustainable Development through Education
  • Third-level Access and Engagement

Two Special Awards will be given for Mitigating Educational Disadvantage through Innovation (during COVID-19), and a European Social Fund Special Recognition Award.

Dr Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS said: “Adult learning programmes have been responsive in meeting the needs of learners and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outstanding level of support that groups have provided to their communities has continued to support participation in adult learning.” “The STAR Awards recognise this innovation and celebrates learners, educators and staff across the sector. As we look to address the educational inequalities that have been exacerbated during COVID-19, it is so important that we have a space to champion the work of adult learning projects across the island of Ireland.”

Speaking about the awards, Mick Fortune of the Aiséirí Programme –STAR Award winner in the category of Social Inclusion, March 2021 – said: “Both staff and participants are thrilled to have received this award as a recognition of the hard work of all members of the community at such a challenging time.”

Since its inception in 2007, thousands of adult learning initiatives across a wide variety of areas – including increasing educational access for all including those with a disability, supporting positive mental health and as part of addiction recovery – have been recognised through the STAR Awards.

How to nominate

To nominate an adult learning initiative, please visit: The deadline for receipt of nominations is Monday, 22nd November 2021.

Winners will be announced at the STAR Awards ceremony which will take place during the Adult Learners’ Festival 2022 taking place from 7th – 11th March 2022.

The STAR Awards are proudly sponsored by The Open University in Ireland, The European Social Fund (ESF), Concern Worldwide, the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI) and Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), Mental Health Ireland and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland.

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Sarah Brooks

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