Healthcare - You're a Star! Ballyhoura Development's Healthcare Opportunities for Women (HCOW) Programme won the Special Recognition Award for an ESF Programme at the recent AONTAS Star Awards for Adult Learning. The Awards Ceremony, which took place in Blackhall Place, Dublin on Monday 2nd of March, recognises the very best in adult learning initiatives in Ireland. Hilary Rose, star of 'The Young Offenders', was the special guest at the Awards Ceremony, and commended all of the initiatives represented at the event: “Adult learning is such a positive part of Irish Communities and the groups here today represent that”. The project was one of only 22 projects shortlisted nationally for the Aontas Star Awards and the winner of the Special Recognition Award from among 8 ESF funded projects. Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of Aontas, highlighted the need for increased investment in adult learning: “The projects receiving awards today and, indeed, all those that entered the awards and are participating in the Adult Learners Festival this week, show how important adult learning is for communities right across Ireland. In particular, adult education plays a vital role in communities with high levels of unemployment, isolation and marginalisation. Given the crucial role adult learning plays we are reiterating our call for the next government to increase investment in adult and community education. In particular, we want to see a Minister of State appointed with special responsibility for Adult, Community, and further Education and Training”. The Healthcare Opportunities for Women Programme (HCOW) supports women who have been out of work, by providing training, mentoring, advice and guidance to support them to build a career as a Healthcare Professional. The programme is part time, flexible and is designed to work around family life. Participants who complete the programme will receive two QQI Level 5 Major Awards (Healthcare Support and Health Service Skills), will participate in supported work placements, and will be part of a wider network of women working in Healthcare. Participants will be fully qualified to work as a Healthcare Assistant in a community, residential or hospital setting. The next HCOW programme is starting in Croom Enterprise Centre in April, however places are limited, so if you are interested, please contact Nichola on 086-6003665 or [email protected] Healthcare Opportunities for Women is delivered by Ballyhoura Development, in partnership with SECAD Partnership, Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board and Cork Education and Training Board. It is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund through the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL 2014-2020).