'FET 2018: Facts and Figures' highlights diversity of learners

'FET 2018: Facts and Figures' highlights diversity of learners

'FET: Facts and Figures 2018’, a new report on the further education and training (FET) sector in Ireland was published this week and highlights the diversity of FET learners.

Over 175,000 adults were enrolled in further education and training courses in 2018. The report highlights key findings in relation to the age, education and employment background of the learners. The majority of learners are in the under-25 year-old age group, followed by learners aged 55+.  

Key findings include:

  • Of the almost 175,000 learners, over 70 per cent completed or partially completed their courses in 2018.
  • Lifelong learning represented 59 per cent of all learning enrolments, with females making up the majority of enrolments.
  • Of all learners, the majority (60.2 per cent) were female.

Commenting on the findings, Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said: “Further education and training presents an opportunity for people of all ages, including older workers, to upskill and reskill, ensuring their employability as traditional roles change.

“A key finding from the report is the high percentage of learners who completed their courses in 2018, highlighting the high-quality teaching environments and support provided to learners by FET providers.”


FET trends amongst marginalised groups

A number of sub reports were launched as part of FET: Facts and Figures 2018, focusing on the Traveller Community, Roma Community, Lifelong Learners, and Disability. Key findings included:

  • In 2018, the total number of Traveller enrolments reported in further education and training was 1,212.
  • Of the Traveller enrolments, 41.2 per cent had primary education or lower, with the majority unemployed.
  • Adult literacy courses and Youthreach programmes had the highest number of Traveller enrolments.
  • In 2018, there were 8,644 learners with at least one self-declared disability enrolled in the further education and training programmes.
  • Of the Roma community, one-third had primary education or lower.

Commenting further, Mr. Brownlee said: “Further education and training plays a vital role in supporting individuals, communities, and businesses. One of its key strengths is the role it plays in supporting those who have traditionally been marginalised, or who face additional barriers in accessing education, and the findings in this report highlights the value of FET in communities throughout Ireland.”

The reports were launched at a panel discussion on FET in Dublin today. Participating in the panel discussion was: 

  • Selen Guerin, the author of the reports;
  • Shauna Dunlop, Director of Strategy and Knowledge, SOLAS; and
  • Mary McDonagh, FET learner working in Exchange House.

The full suite of reports can be downloaded here.