My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course receives wins award for outstanding work in adult education

by Gazette Reporter

Blossom Ireland, based in Dublin, won a STAR Award this week for their My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course.

Colm O’Regan holding an AONTAS STAR Award 2021

Blossom Ireland provides skills- based training and support for young people with an intellectual disability between the ages of 15 and 20.

This Assertiveness Course was delivered through an accessible blended learning model called My Blossom Channel.

They were the winners in the Mitigating Educational Disadvantage through Innovation (during COVID-19).

The STAR Awards are an awards initiative organised by the national adult learning organisation, AONTAS as part of its annual Adult Learners’ Festival.

They recognise and celebrate the achievements of adult learning projects throughout Ireland.

Aontas Award – Blossom Ireland Participant

Since its inception in 2007 thousands of adult learning initiatives across a wide variety of areas – including increasing educational access for all including those with a disability, supporting positive mental health and as part of addiction recovery – have been recognised through the STAR Awards.

Commenting on the project, Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “I’m delighted to award the My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course for the outstanding work they are doing. During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Blossom Ireland are continuing to provide essential supports and services to those adult learners most in need.”

“The work they do is benefitting the individual learner, their families and their local communities. The STAR Awards is an opportunity for them to be recognised for their positive impact on society.”

Aontas Award – Blossom Ireland Participant

Imelda Fitzpatrick, Blossom Ireland Programme Director, said “It’s such a great seal of approval to win an AONTAS STAR Award. It can be a challenge to support young people with intellectual disabilities to learn online, but this award demonstrates that through innovation and by developing the right digital environment young people with intellectual disabilities can access courses online, learn at a pace that suits them ensuring they gain vital skills to empower them to be as independent as possible in life.”

Mitigating Educational Disadvantage through Innovation (during COVID-19) category was sponsored by Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI).  Martin Flynn, CEO of OCNNI congratulated Blossom Ireland on their success.

He said: “We are delighted to sponsor this new award category. Now more than ever it is vital that we all play our part to support and engage young people in learning, so that they can progress onto the next stage in their lives. The My Blossom Channel Assertiveness Course is a commendable project that supports young people with an intellectual disability between the ages of 15 and 20 through an accessible and innovative blended learning models.”

Colm O’Regan, author, broadcaster and comedian will MC as special online celebratory event on Thursday, 4th March to acknowledge the outstanding contribution that all of the shortlisted STAR Award projects have made to the adult and community education sector.

The STAR Awards are proudly sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), Concern Worldwide, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Sponsors will be offering special prizes to all 2021 STAR Award winners.

The organisation’s Adult Learners’ Festival is running throughout this week, with a range of online events and activities happening nationwide. Further information is available at:

www.aontas.com/community/adult-learners-festival/.

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