AONTAS: Request for Tender - Strategic Plan 2023 – 2026


Request for Tender
AONTAS Strategic Plan 2023 - 2026


AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, is a long-established (since 1969), non-governmental membership organisation that promotes the value of adult learning and advocates for the rights of all adults to quality learning across the tertiary education system. We have an unwavering commitment to educationally disadvantaged adults, we offer solutions-focused advocacy that is evidence based, drawing on research and our extensive meaningful learner engagement activities.

AONTAS is a highly respected and connected non-governmental organisation at national and international levels. Our Strategic Plan: A Vision for Educational Equality (2019-2022) is informed by principles of social justice, feminism, partnership, valuing diversity, advancing equality and supporting social inclusion. We continually strive to offer work of the highest quality as an inclusive, informed, dynamic organisation that will act as a cooperative, trusted, critical friend to our funding bodies the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) and SOLAS. We continually engage with learners and educators from further education and training, community education and higher education on a weekly basis, affording us key insights into practice. We have expertise in educational equality, and we advocate strongly for community education as the most inclusive yet underfunded part of the education system. Ultimately, all our work and communications activities aim to advocate for the rights of all adults to engage in learning and to fulfil their aspirations.

Our membership comprises organisations and individuals committed to educational equality for adults: 600 members encompassing all 16 ETBs, over 120 community education organisations, adult learning/access departments of Higher Education Institutions, social justice NGOs, educators and learners across the Island of Ireland.

Our work covers communications, advocacy, capacity building and research. AONTAS promotes the value of lifelong learning through our communications strategy and our annual flagship promotional activity, the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival, encompassing regional members, the STAR Awards recognising excellence in inclusive education projects and an annual Policy Day event. AONTAS encourages people, particularly those who experience educational disadvantage, to engage in learning through our freephone information referral helpline and website AONTAS supports capacity building and supporting professional development in community education through the AONTAS Community Education Network (established in 2007) and the Learners as Leaders advocacy programme. AONTAS produces high quality, grass-roots informed research that seeks to address educational inequality. For example, in leading the National Further Education and Training (FET) Learner Forum, we are authentically hearing learner voice, particularly those marginalised, through this mixed-methods research project. We seek to democratise relevant academic work in our well-established peer reviewed journal, The Adult Learner.


AONTAS is coming to the end of our current Strategic Plan (2019-2022), A Vision for Educational Equality. Since 2016, AONTAS has grown in size (resources and staff team) and scope of influence in adult learning advocacy working on an all-island basis nationally and at EU level.

Given the progress of AONTAS over the course of the current plan, consideration needs to be made on:

  1. The strategic position of AONTAS post-2022
  2. How we demonstrate the impact of our work to the Board, our members, our funders and the general public.


AONTAS is seeking a Consultant(s) to support the development of a new plan for the next four years from 2023 to 2026. Taking a holistic approach to the Strategic Planning process we require the following:

Development of the AONTAS Strategic Plan 2023-2026

  • Take stock of achievements of the AONTAS Strategic Plan 2018-2022
  • Scope out the current adult education policy and practice landscape
  • Frame the Strategic Plan in terms of vision, mission, goals, objectives, target groups, target areas, strategic actions and activities/projects
  • Define appropriate methods for measuring the goals, objectives and actions of the Strategic Plan 2023-2026.

Working with the Consultant(s), the development of the Strategic Plan will be primarily supported by the AONTAS Board - Governance Subcommittee, the CEO and with a Project Manager from the staff team. Progress will be reported to the AONTAS Board.

Please see Strategic Plan Tender document attached below.

Closing Date for Receipt of Tender

The closing date for receipt of one signed paper copy of the tender and an electronic copy to AONTAS is August 19th 2022. Any tenders received after this time and date will not be considered for adjudication. Please leave enough time for postage and emailing in order to meet the deadline. Any discrepancy found between the electronic and paper copy may mean the tenderer is disqualified from the adjudication.

Tender Submissions Should be Addressed to:  Dearbháil Lawless, CEO  

Attachment Size
Strategic Plan Tender 55.59 KB

General Info

Date Entered/Updated
2nd Aug, 2022
Expiry Date
19th Aug, 2022