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Louth & Meath ETB learners have their voices heard at the National FET Learner Forum

Mar 27, 2023

Event took place at the City North Hotel Gormanston

Last Tuesday, 39 adult learners from Louth & Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) convened at a regional meeting of the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum. 

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. The event took place at the City North Hotel Gormanston, Co. Meath, and involved learners from a variety of FET courses offered by LMETB. 

One learner described their return to further education as being “a very positive experience overall. Our course coordinator takes a very proactive role, and we always get extra support when we need it.” 

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 Louth & Meath 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.” 

Sinead Fearon, FET Professional Learning & Develo pment and Communications Officer from Louth & Meath ETB  said of the event: “We were delighted to have this opportunity to meet with so many learners from across our FET Service, to capture their views and opinions of their learning journey with us.

“We will be analysing the contributions from their lively discussions in the coming weeks to help shape future learning opportunities within our provision. LMETB takes a learner-centred approach to the delivery of its provision and this regional AONTAS Forum allows us to place the learner at its centre by seeking and incorporating their experience and views into our future planning. 

“This Learner Voice event is essential to the development of policy and planning and for improving the quality of the services at LMETB”. 

Anyone thinking of going back to education, can find further information on or can call the AONTAS ‘One Step Up’ helpline on 1800 303 669. You can also check out the range of programmes available in Louth & Meath Education and Training Board at  https://www.lmetb. ie/further-education-training/find-a-course/