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Frequently Asked Questions
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. The Festival takes places from 25 February - 2 March 2013. In the last six years, the Festival has become a firm fixture on the adult learning calendar with events taking place nationwide, including anything from information sessions, taster workshops, sample lectures to small gatherings of people who love to learn. The Adult Learners' Festival is kindly supported by the Department of Education & Skills.
2. What are the STAR Awards?
The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are an awards initiative coordinated by AONTAS as part of the annual Adult Learners' Festival to acknowledge the fantastic work undertaken by adult learning projects throughout Ireland. The awards celebrate the positive contribution that these projects make to our society, our economy and our local communities. Five awards in total will be granted to adult learning projects based within the island of Ireland - four regional awards (Leinster, Munster, Connaught, Ulster) and one nationwide award.
3. Who can nominate a project?
Nominations are welcomed from projects themselves or from people directly involved in the project they are nominating. You do not have to be involved in the project you are nominating for a STAR Award but it is important to inform the project that you are nominating them. You may also need their assistance in completing the form.
Nominated projects can involve initiatives, resources or group work. Projects may come from adult learning organisations, community and voluntary groups, the private sector, government agencies, statutory bodies and non-government organisations. The purpose of the learning involved in nominated projects can be personal fulfillment, social change, active citizenship, environmental sustainability, cultural and intercultural awareness and knowledge, skills development, personal development, human rights education, community development, community regeneration, health and well-being and employment in related fields.
4. What are we looking for?
Nominated projects should demonstrate the following criteria:
- A high level of collaboration and partnership amongst participant groups
- A learner-centred approach to education provision
- Adult education practice and methodologies
- Clear evidence or outcomes
5. What are the categories?
Projects may only be nominated in one category. Projects nominated for STAR Awards will fall into the following two categories:
1. Projects that have a nationwide or all-island reach
For example: national or all-island organisations or companies, groups with a national or all-island remit or projects that are targeted at, open to or involve learners and /or practitioners from throughout the island of Ireland.
One STAR Award will be granted in this category.
2. Projects that have a community or provincial reach
For example: Vocational Education Committees, County or City Councils, County or City Development Boards, Community Education groups. Nominated projects can include small community initiatives right through to larger initiatives with a provincial reach.
Four awards will be granted in this category - one in each of the following areas: Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
Projects which were nominated for awards in previous years are eligible for nomination this year. Projects not eligible for nomination include events such as conferences or exhibition. Also projects who won in 2012 are not eligible to re-enter for 2013 though if your organisation is leading out different projects it can enter one that did not win in 2012. If you have any questions about the eligibility of your project, please contact AONTAS on 01 4068220.
1. Fill in an online nomination form (available at www.adultlearnersfestival.com) and submit it through the Adult Learners' Festival website.
2. Download a PDF or Word version of the nomination form from www.adultlearnersfestival.com and fill it in. Email it back to firstname.lastname@example.org or print it off and post it back to AONTAS.
7. What is the deadline for nominations?
The deadline for nominating projects/initiatives is Monday, 19th November 2012 at 5pm. Nominators are encouraged to nominate their projects as early as possible!
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. This year these include the VECs, The Department of Social Protection, the QQI, Active Retirement Ireland, ICTU Skills Network, Small Firms Association, Teagasc and Pobal. In addition, the panel includes individuals with direct experience of learning as adults.
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 1st - 8th February 2013. The project delegation can include learners, tutors, or managers who will be given the opportunity to explain why their project should win an award. The team can give a presentation/talk/show a video/exhibit their work or choose whatever method they wish to highlight the value of their project. The objective of this part of the process is to allow for the passion and enthusiasm of the organisations to come through.
10. When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the STAR Awards Ceremony which takes place in Dublin on Monday, 25th February 2013. The independent panel of judges will award one winner in each of the 5 categories. A handcrafted individual prize will be presented to each of the winners. The STAR Awards Ceremony is the opening event of the Adult Learners' Festival 2013.
11. Why should I nominate a project for a STAR Award?
In the current climate 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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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, Festival Operations Officer at AONTAS on 01-4068220, Email: email@example.com, Address: 2nd Floor, 83-87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6.
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Terms and conditions:
- The closing date for receipt of nominations is Monday, 19th November 2012 at 5pm
- Entries will be accepted by email (to firstname.lastname@example.org), online submission or post (to AONTAS, 2nd Floor, 83-87 Main Street, Ranelagh, Dublin 6)
- You will receive official notification from AONTAS once your nomination form has been received. If you do not receive notification within one week of submitting your nomination form, please contact AONTAS to confirm receipt
- Please do not send additional/supporting information or documentation with your application. AONTAS will contact you if any aspect of your completed nomination form requires additional clarification
- A representative(s) from your project must be available to meet with members of the judging panel during 1st - 8th February 2013. 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
- 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. We may also use information about nominated projects in AONTAS publicity materials, on the AONTAS website and in AONTAS publications. Unless you request otherwise, it will therefore become available to the public.
If you would like further information about the STAR Awards, please contact AONTAS on 014068220.