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Seven Dublin adult learning programmes nominated for AONTAS awards

Seven Dublin based adult learning initiatives have been shortlisted for an AONTAS STAR Award.

The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are organised by AONTAS, the national adult learning organisation, to recognise and celebrate the work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland.

CDI’s Restorative Practices Training Programme and the SAOL Sisters Singers were shortlisted in the health and wellbeing category.

CDI 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.”

SAOL Sisters Singers is a singing group that “works with women with low confidence and self-esteem, women who are stigmatised because of their use of drugs, their poverty and where they live.”

In the learner voice category, CoolockALS.ie and My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course were the nominees from Dublin.

CoolockALS.ie is “an online resource that showcases students’ work and provides a resource for adult literacy students and tutors,” while My Blossom provides skills-based training and support for young people with an intellectual disability between the ages of 15 and 20.

The WALK REAL Ability Project, a project that keeps “users connected and motivated during the COVID-19 restrictions by providing an accessible online space for them and staff to share information and resources,” was shortlisted in the social inclusion category.

RADE (Recovery through Art, Drama and Education), a community employment training scheme that engages with people with a history of problematic substance abuse through arts and therapeutic supports, was also shortlisted in the category.

Shortlisted in the third-level access and engagement category was the DCU Ability Team, a project that “provides education, support, advice and career guidance to learners.”

Niamh O’Reilly, chief executive 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.”

The STAR Awards is judged in 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 festival week, running from March 1 to March 5, with a celebratory event will also taking place “to acknowledge the incredible achievements of all of the groups involved.”

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