Tipperary ETB Encourages Inclusiveness Through Learner Voice at National FET Learner Forum

April 4, 2023

On Tuesday 28 March, 95 adult learners from Tipperary Education and Training Board (ETB) convened at a regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum at the Anner Hotel in Thurles.

Learners met to share their experiences in Further Education and Training and provided advice on how to improve services and the learning journey of others. This is an example of ‘Learner Voice’ – where those who learn, not just those who teach, influence the educational experience. The event took place at the Anner Hotel in Thurles and involved learners from a variety of FET courses offered by Tipperary ETB.

Learners in attendance noted some of the personal benefits of their return to further education including “an increase in self-confidence, wellbeing and health”; “Better connections with family and friends”; and “a sense of belonging”.

The National FET Learner Forum is a collaborative effort between AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation; SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority; and Education and Training Boards. This meeting was one of a series of regional meetings that will take place across the country this year. Last year, over 3500 learners shared their experience of learning through the Forum.

Ireland continues to be a European leader in capturing the learner voice through regional and national forums. As a learner-centred form of provision, SOLAS continues to make Further Education and Training responsive to learner needs. The Forum acts as a way for learners to directly influence FET provision. Their suggestions for improvement will result in a clear outline of recommendations which AONTAS will share directly with policy makers and Education and Training Boards.

Speaking about today’s Forum, Dearbháil Lawless, CEO of AONTAS, said:

“The Forum provides FET learners from Tipperary ETB with the opportunity to help shape further education at local, regional and national level for themselves and other learners. AONTAS believes that learners are experts of their own learning, and that they can identify what is working and what improvements are needed to ensure learner success, progression and fulfilment.

“We look forward to using the recommendations shared by learners from the Forum in supporting SOLAS and ETBs in creating a world-class FET system that is learner- centred.”

Ciarán Kennedy, Community Education Facilitator for Wellbeing with Tipperary ETB, said of the event:

“Tipperary ETB is encouraging inclusiveness through learner voice and welcomes participation and collaboration with AONTAS. This event supports the work of our FET Student Council in representing the voice of our learners.”

If you are thinking of going back to education, you can find further information on www.aontas.com or you can call the AONTAS ‘One Step Up’ helpline on 1800 303 669.

You can also check out the range of programmes available in Tipperary Education and Training Board at by checking out FetchCourses.ie.

Take a look at the full photo gallery from the event below, all taken by Paul Moore:


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