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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the Adult Learners' Festival?

2. What are the STAR Awards?

3. Who can nominate an initiative?

4. What are we looking for?

5. What are the categories?

6. How do I nominate an initiative?

7. What is the deadline for nominations?

8. Who judges the STAR Awards?

9. Why is the judging process different this year?

10. When will the winners be announced?

11. Why should I nominate an initiative for a STAR Award?

12. Help!

1. What is the Adult Learners' Festival?
The Adult Learners' Festival is a nationwide celebration of adult learning coordinated by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation. Over the past decade, the Festival has become a firm fixture on the adult learning calendar with events taking place nationwide. The 2017 Adult Learners' Festival will take place from the 6th - 10th March 2017. The theme for the week is 'The Power and Joy of Learning'.

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2. What are the STAR Awards?
The STAR Awards are an awards initiative coordinated by AONTAS as part of the annual Adult Learners' Festival to acknowledge the fantastic work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland. The awards celebrate the positive contribution that these initiatives make to our society, our economy and our local communities.

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3. Who can nominate a project?
Nominated Initiatives are welcome from all groups, throughout Ireland, as long as they focus on adult and community education and demonstrate innovative approaches to adult learning within their relevant category. If you have any questions about the eligibility of your Initiative, please contact AONTAS on 01 4068220.
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4. What are we looking for?

The following bullet points are examples of what can make a winning initiative. It is recommended that nominated initiatives try to demonstrate a variety of these:

  • —  Learner-centred approach – the learner should be at the core of the initiative
  • —  Collaboration/Partnership - evidence of teamwork, partnership and cooperation between diverse groups
  • —  Inclusion - learning opportunities should reach all learners, especially those furthest from the education and training system
  • —  Learner supports - which facilitate access and retention of learners such as financial, mentoring and caring supports
  • —  Positive learning experience - such as how the initiative's curriculum was built around the learners' needs or interests
  • —  Progression – demonstrate learner’s movement onto further education training, community involvement or employment
  • —  Learner choice - Learners should be supported to make informed choices regarding what, and how, they learn
  • — Transformative learning - show how being involved in learning has helped the participants to make a change to their lives and that of their community

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5. What are the categories?

A STAR Award will be given for innovative approaches in adult learning. Categories are:

  • Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Wellbeing
  • Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Digital Inclusion
  • Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote Social Inclusion
  • Adult Learning Initiatives that Promote The Learner Voice

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6.How do I nominate a project?

To nominate an adult learning initiative, please visit: www.adultlearnersfestival.awardsplatform.com.

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7. What is the deadline for nominations? 
The deadline for receipt of nominations is Wednesday 14th December at 5pm.

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8. Who judges the STAR Awards?
The independent STAR Awards Judging Panel includes representation from a number of key stakeholders in the adult and community education sector in Ireland.

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9. The Judging Process
If your nomination is shortlisted, representative(s) from your project must be available to meet with members of the judging panel during the week of the 6th – 10th February 2017. The project delegation should include learners and tutors/coordinators who will be given the opportunity to explain why their project should win an award.

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10. When will the winners be announced & are there any prizes?
The winners will be announced at the STAR Awards Ceremony on Monday 6th March during the Adult Learners’ Festival.

Prizes

  • Recognition: A hand-crafted award that symbolises the high level of recognition for your work
  • Developing your practice: An opportunity to participate in continuous professional development in a European Country through the ERASMUS+ mobility programme
  • Promoting your work: a professional photography and video session that you can use to help promote your organisation

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11. Why should I nominate an initiative for a STAR Award?
 It's important that we continue to showcase the value of adult and community education in responding to the needs of individuals, communities, society and the economy. The work of the adult learning sector is often invisible, and the STAR Awards are the perfect opportunity to highlight the value of adult learning to a variety of audiences - politicians, media and the wider public and to help spread the voice and visibility of adult learning.
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12. Help!

If you have any further questions about the STAR awards, if you are unsure about the category into which your project best fits or need assistance filling out the nomination form, then please contact Kathryn Laing, AONTAS Promotions Officer, on 01-4068220 or at klaing@aontas.com.

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Terms and conditions:

  • The closing date for receipt of nominations is Wednesday 14th December 2016 at 5pm
  • You will receive official notification once your nomination form has been received.
  • All nominations forms and details will be verified
  • A representative(s) from your project must be available to meet with members of the judging panel during 6th – 10th February 2017. The judges' decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into before or after the judging
  • Award-winners will not be notified in advance of the ceremony
  • The different participants in this project collectively agree to be nominated for a STAR Award.
  • Highlighting winners' achievements is a key part of promoting adult education and encouraging people to engage in adult learning. We may edit the information you send us and use it for publicity purposes in advance of the Awards Ceremony on the AONTAS website and in AONTAS publications.

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