Happy New Year from all at ALOA
Meeting with Minister Simon Harris on the 23rd August 2022
From left to right Kevin Kelly Chair of ALOA, Mary Ryder ALOA, Minister Simon Harris, Nicola McCarthy ALOA and Gary Burke ALOA
On Thursday 24th November 2022, Minister Simon Harris launched the Research Report on Inclusion of Adult Literacy Support in Further Education and Training.
Adult Literacy Organisers (ALOs) take rightful pride in the work they do. They manage local adult literacy services across the country. They liaise with other statutory bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), community groups and with individual people who come to them looking to improve their literacy, numeracy and/or digital literacy. ALOs [working in Education and Training Boards (ETBs) all over Ireland] offer literacy classes in a wide variety of settings including, family resource centres, community hubs, libraries, addiction rehabilitation centres, homeless support services, disability services, Health Service Executive (HSE) buildings, Tusla, Traveller advocacy centres and in their own ETB centres. In all of the work that they do, they hold central the learners’ needs, within competing policy and institutional demands.
In addition, they work with colleagues across Further Education and Training (FET) contexts to support learners on FET programmes including Post-Leaving Cert (PLC) programmes, apprenticeship courses, Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), English for Speakers of Other Languages courses (ESOL), and Vocation Training Opportunities Schemes (VTOS). That collaborative, supportive work across FET, currently not universally understood, is the subject of this research.
In June 2021, the Adult Literacy Organisers’ Association (ALOA) commissioned Dr Bernie Grummell of Maynooth University to conduct the research. We created a research advisory team comprising four ALOs and two tutors representing all six ALOA regions. It was important to ALOA that there should be a tutor perspective advising the research, as they do much of the frontline work with learners. In the report, we hear the experiences, frustrations and recommendations of our colleagues across FET at various levels of management, from ALOs to FET Directors as well as tutors, teachers and instructors. The Adult Education Guidance Service is also represented. We hope that these voices will help us to better understand the work that we do. All of our FET colleagues who gave of their time did so in the first term of the academic year, when that particular commodity is in short supply. For that we are profoundly grateful.
This report is the first nationwide study of the supports offered by Adult Literacy Services to learners and colleagues in other areas of FET provision. It considers that support work in its policy and legislative contexts, and interacts extensively with the both national and international scholarship in the field. ALOA hopes that this report and its recommendations will come to represent the beginning of an important conversation among FET staff about the existing valuable collaborations we have. We also hope that this research will enable us to improve upon our endeavours to afford FET learners the best teaching and learning experience we can offer, by ensuring that unmet literacy needs are met at all stages of learning.
Siobhán Condron (Chair of ALOA’s research advisory committee)
You can read the full report here: http://www.aloa.ie/wp-content/uploads…
Adult Literacy Organisers Association Conference
FET: Inclusion of Adult Literacy Supports
Thursday 24th November 2022
Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone
Book your FREE ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/aloa-fet-conference-tickets-452962582277
10:00 Registration with Refreshments
10:30 Welcome address, Kevin Kelly, ALOA Chair
10:50 Video from Simon Harris, Minister of Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
11:00 ALOA: role & rationale for research, Siobhán Condron, ALOA Research Subcommittee Chair
11:20 Comfort Break
11:30 Launch: Inclusion of Adult Literacy Support in Further Education & Training in Ireland; a research report Presentation and interactive workshop, Bernie Grummel, Author, Associate Prof., Maynooth University
14:00 Return to conference room
14:15 Fiona Maloney, Director of Further Education & Training Support Service, ETBI
14:45 Fergus Craddock, Inclusion Manager, ETBI
15:15 Plenary: panel discussion exploring implementation opportunities across FET
15:55 Closing remarks, Kevin Kelly, ALOA Chair
FET: Inclusion of Adult Literacy Support is a collaboration between FET services and practitioners to best meet the needs of all learners.
ALOA is excited and proud to present our comprehensive and detailed report exploring the ways in which adult literacy services across the country work with their FET colleagues across service contexts to improve the learning experiences and outcomes for learners in all areas of FET.
“Inclusion of Adult Literacy support in Further Education & Training in Ireland: A research report” represents the first national research into the support adult literacy services provide to FET learners in Colleges of FET, Training Centres, BTEI, VTOS programmes. Drawing on national and international literature and the expertise of FET staff, the report details and examines the interactions between literacy and the other FET services within the current policy and legislative context, before making recommendations for the future.
The conference will give an opportunity to explore best practice in FET and an opportunity to make this systemic as well as to meet with our FET collogues throughout the country.
We look forward to welcoming our colleagues from across the FET sector and seeing you on the day.
* Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for any dietary requirements.*
The Adult Literacy Organisers’ Association (ALOA) welcomes and is very much encouraged by the publication today of Adult Literacy For Life (ALL), the first ever 10-year Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy for Ireland.
We were pleased to make our submission to SOLAS last December, detailing our vast experience in the area of adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy in addition to our views on the future requirements to successfully address our country’s Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Skills needs. We understand the significance and impact of these skills in everyday life, as well as a being a foundation for success in education, training and lifelong learning.
“The strategy identifies the barriers and difficulties people face in returning to education and it details the importance of raising awareness and encouraging greater uptake of the services available. The strategy seeks to minimise the digital divide Ireland faces, particularly in the wake of Covid-19. Our members will play a key role in that regard.”, said Kevin Kelly, Chairperson of ALOA.
ALOA also welcomes the recognition of the importance of unaccredited literacy learning, and the recommendation for the development of a distance-travelled.
ALOA has more than two decades of on-the-ground, national experience, and will continue to utilise the skills, knowledge and practice of its membership to implement the strategy and achieve the objectives it sets forth. Our delivery is a part of the Further Education and Training (FET) Service in all 16 Education and Training Boards that have responsibility for implementing the new 10-year strategy to effectively meet the needs of students and adult learners in all counties.
The new 10-year strategy was launched today, 8th September 2021, by Simon Harris T.D., Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
ALOA recently hosted a series of webinars on topics related to and supporting the work of Adult Literacy Officers.
Session 1: Family Learning
Session 2: Building Resilience for Remote Working
Session 3: Recognition of Prior Learning
The webinars will be available this Autumn in the ETBI Digital Library.
We would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to our wonder colleagues and the tuition staff in Limerick Clare ETB and also to Maria Riordan, City of Dublin ETB for her excellent presentation on the Recognition of Prior Learning.
Pictured is Professor Sabina Brennan, who shared some of her valuable insights with regard to Building resilience to effectively navigate remote working.
Congratulations to ALO Fionnuala Carter and the Coolock Darndale Adult Literacy Service on their nomination for an Aontas Star award. Their website is not only a great place for learner voice expression, but also has been a great resource as they negotiate the closures during Covid-19. Congratulations and best of luck!
See the website here: http://www.coolockals.ie/
The ALOA thanks their regional membership for their input into our submission on the Adult Literacy, Numeracy & Digital Skills Strategy. The submission will be circulated through the regions next month.
KWETB recently rolled out the Get Connected programme! Offering a webinar invitation across ETBs, it was well attended and had very positive feedback from tutors in attendance. See all links to resources below.
Link to tutor resource here:https://view.genial.ly/5ef9f0605bbf600d7ea18a08
Link to learner site here:
Link to the tutor notes: file:///C:/Users/Gwen/AppData/Local/Packages/microsoft.windowscommunicationsapps_8wekyb3d8bbwe/LocalState/Files/S0/4/Attachments/Get%20Connected%20Tutor%20Notes%2023.07.pdf
The ALOA executive would like to thank Alison Jones for her incredible work on behalf of the ALOs, and adult literacy in Ireland, as she steps down. She has chaired the group with great leadership and good humour over the years. It has been a pleasure to work with you Alison! She leaves the executive in the safe hands of Chair Kevin Kelly (GRETB) and Vice Chair Ceinwen Fergus (CMETB). Plenty of work to do and the new executive look forward to supporting them as they take up their roles.