Updates from April 2023 Steering Group meeting
Active inclusion and community development have always been a central tenet of the work of ETBs and FET providers, with an extensive reach into and across local communities. FET balances the needs of skills for work with the just as critical skills for life through provision that supports citizenship and prosperity across communities and develops social capital. FET ensures that supports are available to allow any individual, regardless of background or formal education level, an opportunity to learn and develop. By pledging consistent levels of support and good practice for all learners; rooting FET in its communities; targeting and facilitating participation by the most marginalised groups in society; and tailoring literacy and numeracy resources to meet complex learner needs, a strong inclusive ethos will continue to underpin all FET.
The Fostering Inclusion Implementation Advisory Group will bring all key stakeholders around the table with a role in driving strategy delivery within this pillar to focus on implementation of the Fostering Inclusion action plan.
ALL Strategy Implementation Group meeting was held in February, with the 2023 workplan submitted to DFHERIS at the end February.
All but 1 Regional Literacy Coordinators are now in place and progressing work on mapping of literacy provision/support; establishing Regional Literacy Coalitions and developing Regional Literacy Plans.
ALL Office / Sectoral Lead update: Education Lead (ETBI secondment) took up position in February; Outreach and Development Lead (NALA secondment) will start in May. Health Lead expected to start in June or July.
ALL Strategy Collaboration and Innovation Fund 2023 was launched in Q1, with closing date 14th April for applicants.
Work continued on developing a Community Education Framework with a stakeholder workshop taking place in Tullamore in February. Following this engagement, the draft Community Education Framework is expected to be completed shortly.
Videos to promote FET opportunities for people with Down Syndrome and for members of the Traveller community are in development. Work is also continuing with UCD, Ahead and other stakeholders in the development of a second digital badge in Universal Design. While the first digital badge was focussed on practitioners, the second badge will be designed for other staff who do not have a teaching role but are responsible for helping learners succeed ‘beyond the classroom’ such as guidance staff, librarians etc.
SOLAS met with Tipperary ETB to discuss setting up of Regional Further Education and Training Wellbeing Committees, a key pillar of the Consistent Learner Support Framework Guide, where ETBs link with key external wellbeing organisations to ensure FET Learners have access to a host of regional wellbeing wrap-aroundsupports.
SOLAS linked with ETBI on a new City & Guilds resource toolkit, which has been developed to support educators in creating an inclusive environment for learners with physical difficulties, hearing and visual impairments, chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes. The tools provide an introduction into how the disabilities can present in learners and, importantly, how they can be supported.