Our Northern Ireland Director, Joanne McDowell, attended a celebration event in Stormont on Tuesday to mark the beginning of Adult Learners Week (running from 12-18 May).
Organised by the Forum for Adult Learners in Northern Ireland (FALNI), the event highlighted the work of adult learning projects across Northern Ireland, including many projects supported by the Big Lottery Fund.
There was a great turnout for the event and people from the voluntary and community sector, government and education got the chance to mix together, share ideas and learn about the community work being carried out across Northern Ireland to support adult education and learning.
During the event, local people who have improved their education, confidence and skills with the support of community organisations, gave powerful and moving accounts of their personal experiences.
One of the participants, who has been supported by Big Lottery Funded community organisations NIACRO and the Workers Educational Association, said: “Without the encouragements of staff at NIACRO and WEA’s Man Matters project I would not have returned to education.
“I have a young family and they now see me involved in education and they see the benefits of it and want to do well in school. “
Another participant explained: “I took part in the social and historical project at WEA and it helped me to understand other people’s opinions and points of view, while it also helped me think about what I wanted to do. I’m now hoping to study for an English degree and I’ve started to write short fictional stories.
Commenting on the success of the event, Colin Neilands, Chair of FALNI, said: “I am delighted with so much support from MLA’s at this event. ALW is about the achievements of thousands of adults across Northern Ireland, and through their successes they will undoubtedly encourage others to participate.”
While Basil McCrea, Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee, explained: “Adult learning is about developing skills and confidence in people, and having the ware with all to fulfil their potential.”
To find out more about Adult Learning in your community, visit EGSA’s (Education Guidance Service for Adults) website: www.egsa.org.uk
You can also visit the Workers Educational Association’s website to find out out about their adult learning courses: www.wea.org.uk/