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We are delighted to announce the shortlist for the AONTAS STAR Awards 2023!

The STAR Awards recognise the very best in adult learning in Ireland. This year we are celebrating and acknowledging the incredible adult learning initiatives going on across the country, in support of learners.

We will announce the winners at a special ceremony in Dublin on Friday 10th March – an exciting event to finish our 2023 Adult Learners’ Festival!

The Adult Learners’ Festival, happening this year from 6th to 10th March, is a nationwide celebration of adult learning. It offers organisations and groups the chance to promote the value and benefits of lifelong learning for communities, families and workplaces. It is a chance for groups to reinforce existing partnerships in the community, and to establish new ones.

Visit this page for more details about the Festival.

For the 17th AONTAS STAR Awards, we have five categories for adult learning initiatives that support people with:

The STAR Awards is judged by an independent panel of adult learners, tutors, and other adult learning experts. To reflect the range and high calibre of nominations, we’ll have two awards in the categories of Health and Wellbeing, Learner Voice, and Social Inclusion – one for smaller and one for larger initiatives.  

We’re delighted to announce 26 shortlisted initiatives!

The Shortlisted Adult Learning Initiatives for 2023 are: 

In Adult Learning initiatives that support Global Citizenship Education

  • St. Vincent’s Centre Stand Up to Climate Change in Dublin
  • Open Hearts Open Minds: Global Citizenship Education in the North East Inner City in Dublin
  • M.Ed. in Education for Sustainability and Global Citizenship in Limerick
  • Knit & Natter in Kildare

In Adult Learning initiatives that support Health and Wellbeing

Small or medium category:

  • Poleglass Community Association @ Sally Gardens in Antrim
  • Equine Assisted Learning in Wexford  
  • Sailing into Wellness in Cork

Large category: 

  • Start360 Engage Women's Service Recovery Group in Antrim
  • Special Olympics Ireland - Health Promotion Programme in Dublin
  • Arts for Health in Cork  

In Adult Learning initiatives that support Learner Voice

Small or medium category:

  • Learning Ambassadors Initiative in Limerick
  • The Liberties Weavers in Dublin
  • Radio Active Radio Play in Dublin 

Large category:

  • Shine's Advocacy programmes in Kildare
  • Benchspace in Cork
  • DAVINA Project in Dublin 

In Adult Learning initiatives that support Social Inclusion

Small or medium category: 

  • Secret Street Tours in Dublin
  • Polytunnel in Primary Schools Project (PIPS) in Westmeath
  • Digi Money from Advice NI in Antrim 

Large category:

  • New Futures Online Employability Programme in Dublin
  • Generation Ireland in Dublin
  • Workability - Providing Transferable Skills for Flexible Employment from An Cosán in Dublin

In Adult Learning initiatives that support Third-level Access & Engagement

  • Whidden Workshops - Its Kushti to Rokker in Kildare
  • Bunclody Traveller Women's Group in Waterford
  • Back to Education Initiatve, Tramore Road Campus in Cork
  • Cranmore Community Education Mentor Programme in Sligo

On the day of the STAR Awards, we will also have Special Recognition awards for initiatives that support Peace-Building and Shared Island work, and for European Social Funded (ESF) initiatives.

For those not shortlisted, you should know that our panel of judges commented on the high quality of all nominations, with entries from a wide range of inspiring and innovative initiatives. It was a difficult decision to agree a shortlist.

The judging panel will meet each shortlisted group in person before deciding on the overall winners in each category.  Best of luck to all!  

More Information

The STAR Awards is proudly sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI)Concern WorldwideQuality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the European Social Fund (ESF), and Mental Health Ireland.

Sponsors will be offering special prizes to all 2023 STAR Award winners.

Click here to take a look back at the STAR Awards 2022 and see last year’s winners.

We’ll be sharing more details soon about the STAR Awards in person ceremony on 10th March 2023 in Dublin, so watch this space!

For further details contact Charis Hughes, AONTAS Head of Communications, at  

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