UCC’s Adult Continuing Education (ACE) department is gearing up for another busy academic year, with hopes that student numbers will rise after a challenging year due to the rising cost of living and concerns over winter energy bills. Lyndsey El Amoud, who works in ACE, highlights the need for ongoing innovation in adult education and the development of new courses to meet the learning needs of employers and society. This year, ACE is offering a Diploma in Heritage and Folklore Studies, a Certificate in Mythology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Further, Adult and Community Education, and a Masters in Food Studies and Irish Foodways. These courses are part-time and many are delivered through blended learning, making them accessible to people across the country and beyond. ACE also offers a variety of short courses on topics ranging from bee-keeping to memoir writing.
One of ACE’s standout courses is the Certificate and Higher Diploma in Safety, Health and Welfare Work, which are accredited by the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and recognized globally. The Diploma in Social Studies, which has been part of ACE since the 1940s, is also popular. Another area of growth in recent years is courses related to Environment, Sustainability, and Climate, as people seek to understand climate change and contribute to the sustainability agenda.
ACE’s mission is to provide accessible, diverse, and inclusive education for all, guided by the United Nations’ Education 2030 goal of leaving no one behind. The rapid pace of change in the world, from the pandemic to climate change, requires people to develop resilience and adaptability, and ACE aims to provide opportunities for personal and professional development. The model of university lifelong learning developed in ACE is highly respected internationally and serves as a best practice example.
ACE’s student body reflects the multicultural society of Ireland, with students from over 50 countries around the world participating in courses. In the last academic year, there were over 20 students on the Sanctuary Scholarship scheme for asylum seekers. ACE’s achievements have gained recognition at the international level, with the department being selected as the sole European case study in UNESCO’s report on lifelong learning in higher education. Lyndsey El Amoud has also been elected to the Steering Committee of the European University Continuing Education Network and is representing EUCEN on the VET4EU2 network, advising the European Commission on vocational education and training policy priorities.
Lyndsey emphasizes the rewarding experience of being part of someone’s learning journey and the motivation that comes from working with students. She also acknowledges the privilege of working on the beautiful UCC campus, which is often admired by international colleagues. With ongoing dedication to innovation and inclusivity, ACE at UCC continues to provide valuable educational opportunities for adult learners.