Top 5 Reasons to Return to Education in 2020

Leitrim Observer Reporter


Leitrim Observer Reporter

Top 5 Reasons to Return to Education in 2020

Dr Bríd Connolly, Assistant Professor Maynooth University School of Education, with adult learners, Una Buckley, Alan Hand, Kevin Hanly and Joy-Tendai Kangere

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, runs the One Step Up Information and Referral Service which provides thousands of adults every year with information about how to achieve their personal, professional and educational goals. was visited almost 28,000 times in 2019 and approximately 6,000 people looked to the service for support in making a decision about how best to go back to education. This free service offers all kinds of information about where to look for:

- Courses
- Doing the Leaving Certificate
- Funding supports
- Contact details for various services
And much more to ensure that people can find their learning pathway

Very often the New Year prompts people to take that first step back into education. This decision can be for a variety of excellent reasons but returning to learning after a break from formal education can be daunting. One Step Up helps with overcoming the first hurdle to getting the vital information needed to make the best choice.

If you’re thinking of returning to education, January is the perfect time to find out about learning opportunities in your local area, with open days and information sessions happening at further education colleges, community centres and learning institutes all over the country.

Five fantastic reasons why you should consider returning to education in 2020:

Unemployment, leaving school early or a lack of formal education can sometimes result in low confidence. Discovering your talents and expanding your skills through learning increases self-esteem and learners can gain a sense of pride and confidence in their achievements. Returning to learning can help you regain a sense of self-worth, direction and empower you to pursue your goals.

Meeting New People
Getting involved in a new course or activity allows you to meet new people, to socialise and to learn from others. It also allows you to share your experience, perspective and ideas with others and to feel valued within a new community of learners and educators.

Employment Opportunities
Learning motivates you to achieve your career goals and equips you with skills that are highly valued in the workplace. Returning to education demonstrates to employers that you are willing to work and to adapt to new challenges. It also adds to your qualifications and experience and supplies you with up-to-date skills for your CV.

Acquiring new skills and confidence means that adult learners can become less dependent on welfare services or family members and are encouraged to become leaders among their own families, communities and class groups. Returning to learning can allow you to make more informed decisions about your life, career and to take control of your future.

Mental Health and Well-being
Learning something new stimulates your brain and can help to improve mental health and well-being. Developing a routine can give you a sense of purpose and self-worth which contributes to longevity and good mental health. Studies show that adults who return to education gain and use new skills and, as a result, become happier and more fulfilled with their daily lives.

One Step Up is part of the EU-funded project ‘2020-2021 Adult and Community Education: Supported Learner Pathways’. AONTAS as the national coordinator for Ireland runs this project as part of implementing the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL).

For more information on education and training options and to find open days and information sessions near you, visit:, Contact us via email or Freephone 1800 303 669. The service operates Mon-Fri 9am-5pm.