Lifelong Learning Awards

Winners Announced ! 

Cork Learning City celebrated Lifelong Learning all across Cork City in a new way for 2021. As Cork’s internationally acclaimed, inspirational and inclusive festival, Cork Lifelong Learning Festival did not take place this year due to ongoing government restrictions instead, we launched this new 'Cork Celebrates Lifelong Learning' initiative in March and the Deadline for entries was in June. 

Over 100 individuals, organisations, schools , teachers, learners and groups were nominated across 10 different categories. 


The awards provided a great opportunity for the people of Cork to nominate individuals and projects that have inspired us by their innovation endeavor and resilience through their Lifelong Learning actions over the past year. 

These awards are a celebration of how lifelong learning enables people to change their lives and how learning has become a way to improvement in life, work and community.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to nominate individuals and projects and of course, thanks to all our wonderful nominees for their inspirational endeavours in Lifelong Learning . 

Click on the 'Cork Celebrates Lifelong Learning' Categories below to find out about the overall winners, shortlisted nominees and 'Roll of Honour' for each category  in 2021

Early Years Award

Congratulations to the Early Years Category Winner 2021 :
Little Bird Babble


Little Bird Babble is a multidisciplinary arts participation project conceived by visual artist Rachel Doolin and designed and delivered alongside collaborators George Hanover (actor) and Fiona Kelleher (musician). Little Bird Babble, a meaningful and inspiring project intended to nurture connections and wellbeing among children and families living in Ashbourne house during lockdown. This project brought joy, connection and richness to the lives of children and their families who lived in Direct Provision during the first lockdown. Every week a package arrived at the specially created Little Bird Babble post box for each child containing exciting activities to help them explore the natural environment outside their windows . Songs were created which named each child in the centre. About 40 children benefited from this. It was a magical inspired project which helped the children hungry for learning and sorely lack the resources to participate in many activities others take for granted.

The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Dolly Parton's Imagination Library Cork

This initiative supports and encourages families to share books together at home as early as possible to facilitate early language and literacy development. It allows parents/caregivers to experience a sense of belonging to their local community and connect in with activities that are hosted in association with the Imagination Library. The Imagination Library Cork will put books into the hands and hearts of approximately 3,000 children, thus levelling the playing field for all children by helping them to build their own home library and inspire a love of reading and learning in early childhood. This effort creates a gifting experience making books exciting and shows children that someone is thinking of them, especially during Covid-19 restrictions.

BEAG Early Years Arts Programme

Run in both city and county since 2010 BEAG is an Early Years Arts Programme specialising in creating and delivering rich artistic experiences for children from birth to 3 years and their carers. They believe this very young audience deserve access to high quality artistic experiences. They have established solid relationships with and continue to work in the Traveller Visibility Group, direct provision centres in Cork and managed to reach new settings. This year they have delivered all of the above online with a new team and developed a strategic plan, the aim of which is to make BEAG a sustainable programme.

Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' includes:

Rockboro Preschool
Rockboro Primary school
Oakview Village Creche, Cork City

Primary Level Award

Congratulations to the Primary Level Category Winner 2021 :
Beaumont Girl's National School


Beaumont Girls School is a primary school has approximately 280 pupils with 27 different nationalities represented in our pupil body. Our school is deeply embedded in our community. One of the highlights of our school calendar every year is Grandparent's Day, when each child can invite their Grandparents or a significant senior in their lives to attend for a variety of live performances by our pupils followed by classroom visits, a visit to our school garden topped off with some homemade cakes washed down with a cup of Barry's tea! One of the very special and unique things about our school is our extensive school garden which is in essence a school and community endeavour and has become an intrinsic part of our school life .. It was established in 2011, parents and grandparents from the community who tend to our garden on a voluntary basis. The pupils have gained a wealth of knowledge from these volunteers.

The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Lifetime Lab @ Old Cork Waterworks

Lifetime Lab is Cork's primary science center located at Old Cork Waterworks Experience on Lee Road. The site houses a Visitor Centre with interactive environmental exhibits, a coffee dock, Schools Resource Centre with dedicated classroom, a Steam Centre museum, a science themed playground and a conference room. Lifetime Labs mission is :1.To promote uptake of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects The Lifetime Lab primary STEM Programme involves the delivery of activity based workshops to primary school children; encouraging inquiry based learning, foster discovery and facilitate investigation. 2.As a working example of the use of renewable energy and energy conservation with 80% of the required energy provided from renewable resources available on site the Lab also seeks to promote a sustainable approach to living and environmental responsibility.

North Presentation Primary - STAR Project

North Presentation Primary School's ethos has always been about social inclusion, education for all and a celebration of diversity. With deep roots in the local community and generations of families still wearing the school crest with pride, we have also embraced over 40 different cultures into the school community. Recognising our duty to support all ethnic groups this year, the school has linked up with the STAR project to promote equality and educational supports to the Traveller and Roma students and families. We have created weekly study sessions, where the children receive support with homework, literacy and numeracy. This is also a safe place for the children to explore their culture and foster open and honest conversations about their heritage and the issues around being an ethnic minority . They have a space to speak their language freely and openly and meet adults who have continued onto further education. The children also work on projects to educate other children about their culture, food, dress and language. We also support Roma and Traveller parents to access outside services, fill out paperwork, translate important documents and with educational transitions. The school is open for parents to use for cooking and washing facilities and our parents room is open for them to come have coffee and chats with our adults outside of their homes.

Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • One book - One community Mahon / Blackrock
  • 3rd Class, North Presentation Primary School
  • 1st Class in North Presentation Primary School
  • School of the Divine Child
  • Rang 6 Gaelscoil Mhachan, Music Generation
  • St Michaels Church of Ireland National School

Secondary Level Award

Congratulations to the Secondary Level Category Winner 2021 :
Scoil Bernadette


Scoil Bernadette is a co-educational special school for students between 12 to 18 years of age with a Mild General Learning Disability. It is situated on the wider campus of Cope Foundation in Montenotte area of Cork city. There are currently 120 students on roll and all of them are unique and valued members of our school community. Some students face different challenges and have physical, educational, social and emotional needs and we help them to overcome these barriers and reach their full potential.The school aims to make each student be as independent as they can be.We do this by providing a secure, caring and supportive environment through the provision of a broad curriculum of social, personal, academic, sporting, vocational and relevant life-skills programmes. We know education is more than numeracy and literacy, it is the wellbeing of each person, staff and students and everything we do is making life in school a pleasant and memorable experience. Our motto is Learning For Living! We run afternoon activities every Wednesday and Friday for the students, during this time they can choose different activities such as walking, yoga, Lego modelling, soccer, basketball, hair and beauty, health and fitness and board games.

The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Rang Doire - Transition Year, Colaiste Daibhéid

This transition year group worked on a project with the aim of spreading positivity, creativity and fun in a time when it was so easy to focus on the negative. Under the theme 'Bá­ Dearfach', they created a guide for Teachers to create fun in a covid compliant classroom, guide for students to make the most of school and parents to support the new reality of school. They then designed and organised a competition for six primary schools where students entered any creative work that showed 'dearfacht' agus 'spraoi'. Their chosen theme focused on the wellbeing of others and how they could help people during this difficult time. They were strategic in their planning using the available resources to come up with a creative, fun and engaging idea. The students never allowed the barriers in their way to stop their progress. They reflected, adapted and moved forward with their goal of delivering a project which spread positivity and fun , first to their own school community, and then to six primary schools across the city. Although their only known methods of collaboration were not available to them, they applied their digital skills to enhance the project.

Bishopstown Community School's Learning Hub

Bishopstown Community School is a co-educational post primary school with a Deaf Facility. The school has experienced significant growth and has set about ambitiously transforming the physical learning spaces within the school. The Learning Hub is a flexible learning space which aims to support our mission in bridging the gap of educational disadvantage and assist students to reach their potential. The Learning Hub offers a space where students will be motivated, where learning is active and collaborative, where they belong and are inspired. A place that shows that each of our students are valued. A place that they are proud of. The Learning Hub supports lifelong learning by providing a high spec physical space that has transformative power, providing students with the experience of a modern professional learning and working environment. The space is conducive to promoting the core values of inclusivity, diversity and working together.The Learning Hub will inspire students and expose them to a space similar to that of a modern corporate work space bringing together the classroom and workplace. The school hopes that with students being exposed to and facilitating access to this type of environment in school it will aid their transition from school to third level education and the world of work.

Roll Of Honour :
  • Julia Ní­ Chochláin
  • Aaron Wolfe, Colaiste Eamonn Rís
  • Anne Fleming, Ballincollig Community School
  • Nurture 4 Wellbeing
  • The Sexual Health Centre
  • St Aloysius Secondary School
  • Terence McSwiney College

Youth In Community Award

Congratulations to the Youth In Community Category Winner 2021 :
The Sexual Health Centre Hubs Initiative


The Sexual Health Centre (SHC) launched the Sexual Health Hubs Initiative in September 2020, providing sexual health information directly to youth through the services they already attend. The Hubs aim to make sexual health information accessible to youth in communities across Cork City and County and offer an accurate source of youth specific health information, enabling them to easily access information on sexual health (e.g. contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The SHC also provides workshops throughout the year at Hub locations, along with running information campaigns on the SHC_HUB instagram page, which also hosts a dedicated Agony Aunt segment to answer youth questions on all areas of sexual health.

The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Music Generation 'The Island of Woods'

˜The Island of Woods' was a collaborative audio and video project led by Creative Tradition in partnership with Cork Academy of Music and Music Generation Cork City in early 2021. In total, 26 musicians of all ages were involved, and over 50 young artists submitted their visual art work. Young musicians recorded themselves playing 'The Island of Woods' by Liz Carroll, using sheet music and a click track. This audio was then all compiled together with artwork inspired by the title and these submissions were edited together to form the music video as part of the Cork St. Patrick's Festival

Cork Life Centre

The Cork Life Centre is an alternative Centre of education that works with 12-18 year old's who are no longer in the mainstream education system. Supporting 55 young people annually, the Centre and its staff prepare these young people for their Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations, while equally focusing on social and personal development. The Centre's approach to education is holistic and values the social education of its young people as much as the academic. They provide students with an open and accepting environment to encourage them to reach their full potential; to learn vital social and life skills; to develop positive trusting relationships with peers and staff; and to support them with issues and challenges they may face through the provision of counselling and through outreach work. They support students in their progression routes through education after they finish within the Centre. In this regard we sit with students to prepare them for progression route into further education and third-level education. We also maintain links with young people to support them should they encounter any obstacles while in further education and continue to discuss future educational and employment opportunities throughout.

Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • Joan Denise Moriarty School Of Dance
  • The Two Norries Podcast
  • Mahon Community Development Project
  • EIL Intercultural Learning - Explore Department
  • Phil Kelly, Youthreach
  • KT Confident Coaching

Higher Education Award

Congratulations to the Higher Education Category Winners 2021 :


MTU Cork Access Service, UCC PLUS+ and ACCESS PLUS+ Schools Team

MTU Access & UCC PLUS+ aims to ensure widened participation in further and higher education among groups who are under-represented, including those students who experience socio-economic disadvantage. This innovative and unique collaborative outreach model tackles educational disadvantage in Cork, benefiting DEIS schools, their students and communities, expanding the boundaries of best practice. Together we wanted to showcase a visible, unique, inter-institutional collaboration in relation to outreach. Traditionally, some may have viewed Further Education, Universities and Institutes of Technology competing against each other for the same students thus creating invisible inherited conflict. Together we want to project a positive message to our target group, acknowledging that we all have courses designed to attract different students. we saw the need to work collaboratively for the benefit of the schools and students we support. We believe our shared inter-institutional working model is a forerunner to how third level institutions can work together, share ideas and produce effective results while showcasing best practice and the way forward to best support educational disadvantage.

MTU Disability Support Service/Career Service and DELL Technologies

The Ready Steady Work 2020/21 career development programme supports MTU (Munster Technological University) students with learning differences, health conditions and disabilities to prepare for future work. In 2020 this programme from the Disability Support Service (DSS) and Careers Service in MTU Cork campus was reimagined with the new partnership of DELL Technologies, Cork with 19 students signing up. The programme addresses the needs and challenges students with disabilities experience in job seeking, such as navigating recruitment processes, making applications, interview performance, and disclosure. The DELL Technologies collaboration was led by a recent MTU graduate who also identifies as being neurodiverse, so was able to speak to participating students from their own experience. Linking students with a major local and global employer who promotes neurodiversity through its TrueAbility programme for employees was powerful and positive, that we believe deserves to be recognised.

Regina Sexton, ACE Short Courses

Regina Sexton has been teaching, supporting and advancing needs of adult learners since 1991. Her teaching career began with ACE, UCC and CETB. Her work with adult learners and students from disadvantaged communities were formative in shaping her work ethic and teaching philosophy. She believes education is a transformative and fundamental right regardless of demographic/geographic/personal barriers. Her work ethic is directed to breaking barriers to access. She initiated numerous developments centred on the importance of sites of learning (community, outreach, situational learning). In 2020, she established a bursary scheme for UCC short course students in economic difficulties. She supports/advises students in committing to returning to education.

Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • MTU Cork Campus - Access Service Linked Schools Team
  • MTU Innovation Challenge Team
  • The Glucksman
  • Prof. Roy Sleator
  • MTU Cork Campus - Counselling & Psychotherapy Training Team
  • ACE Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies Team
  • Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence MTU
  • MTU Arts Office - Creative Breaks Series
  • Brenda Healy - ACE Certificate in Mental Health in the Community
  • Adult Continuing Education, UCC
  • Pat Twomey, Course coordinator, ACE, UCC
  • Deirdre Creedon, Access Office, MTU

Further Education Award

Congratulations to the Further Education Award Category Winner 2021 :
UCC ACCESS+ Further Education Support Programme
The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Dr. Trevor Carey, 'Spectroscopy in a Suitcase'
Doras and Bonnington Training Centre
Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • Kinsale College of Further Education
  • Cork College of Commerce
  • St John's Animal Care Team - Work Opportunities Week
  • Cork City Learning Support Services
  • Cork College of Commerce - English and IT Skills for International Students 2020/21
  • Cork College of Commerce - MT Class Advanced Early Years Montessori 2020/21
  • Cork Training Centre
  • Literacy Tutors, Altrusa Literacy Scheme, Cork ETB
  • The Student Council at St. John's Central College.
  • Write Together Adult Literacy Scheme Dyslexia Support Group
  • National Learning Network Hollyhill

Adult Community Education Award

Congratulations to the Adult Community Education Award Category Winner 2021 :
Mayfield Community Adult Learning Project CALP
The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Cork City Partnership - Art and Drawing Group
Welcome English Immigrant/Language Centre
Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • ACE Diploma in Leadership in the Community Programme Team
  • Seamus O'Tuama and the Learning Neighbourhoods Steering Committee
  • ACE Santuary Scholarships initiative
  • Read Write Now - ITABE (Intensive Adult Basic Education Group)
  • The Dillon's Cross Project
  • ACE Certificate in Continuing Professional Development in RPL Team -
  • Mary Ryder, Altrusa, Douglas Street, Cork
  • Dept. of Organisation & Professional Development, MTU
  • EIL Intercultural Learning - Global Citizen Award
  • Cork Migrant Centre
  • Interim Planning Group, Cork Community Education Providers
  • Cian O'Sullivan, Tutor

Workplace Learning Initiative Awards

Adult Ed : Workplace Learning Initiative Award (MTU)
MTU Extended Campus
Adult Ed : Workplace Learning Initiative Award (UCC)
Belinda Gascoigne, ACE Carbery Greener Dairy Farms Project
Adult Ed : Workplace Learning Initiative Award (Cork Chamber)
Ability@Work, Cope Foundation
Adult Ed : Workplace Learning Initiative Award (CETB)
CETB & Defence Forces Cork RPL TOBAR Project

Active Retired Lifelong Learning Award

Congratulations to the Active Retired Lifelong Learning Award Category Winner 2021 :
Active Retired Lifelong Learning Award
Kay O'Callaghan, Scoil Barra Naofa Cailíní
The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
St Brendan's The Glen Senior Citizens
The Holly Ukes, Hollyhill Library
Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • Niche Health Project Cork
  • Breda Mc Namara, St. Mary's Senior Citizens
  • Young at Heart' Craft Volunteers
  • Young at Heart' The Echo Inter-Generational Quiz

Exceptional Endeavour Award

Exceptional Endeavour Award
Category Winner : Konrad Im
The Shortlisted nominations in this category were:
Anna Jakobek
Prof. Roy Sleator
Our 2021 'Roll Of Honour' also includes :
  • Steven Bradley
  • Traveller Children's Art Group
  • Music Generation - Athrú Collective
  • Throwing Shapes
  • Jude Hogan O'Sullivan
  • Creative Schools - Lisa Cliff
  • Douglas Kurling Group

Inspirational Lifelong Learning Award

Tina Neylon 

You'll find our useful Frequently Asked  Questions HERE

Click HERE to find out more about the Categories