Aussie Educator

Adult & Community Education

Adult & Community Education offers ‘learning courses designed for personal enrichment, skill development and professional learning’ [Tasmanian Department of Education]. These may be formal or informal, run by local communities or government agencies and cover everything from drawing to yoga, languages to dance, photography to massage, parenting to managing your finances. They cover leisure skills to life skills. Some can be used for professional purposes.

This page covers procedures and programs in each state & territory, government information, journals, publications, research, University of The Thirds Age [U3A] and other information.

It is not possible to list all providers but it should be possible to access many sources through the links below.

For a range of information, including activities and events around Australia, visit the Adult Learners’ Week website.

For related information, you should also consider information on the Vocational Education page.

States & Territories

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Top of Page

Northern Territory


Top of Page

South Australia


  • Adult Learners - TasTAFE
    ‘If you are an adult learner and planning to commence, return to or continue your study, TasTAFE provides a wide range of part-time and full-time training courses to suit your needs and personal circumstance’.
  • Updated ! Skills Tasmania - Learners
    Overview, links to sites and topics from left hand menu.

Top of Page


    ‘Victoria’s peak policy, industrial and development body for the Adult Community Education sector’.

Adult and Community Education Colleges in Other Areas of Victoria

  • Adult, Community and Further Education [ACFE] Board
    Overview, structure, links to AMES, CAE and Learn Local [see below], Regional Councils, more.
  • AMES
    ‘Works with new arrivals but also with the community, business and Government’.
  • Centre for Adult Education
    ‘Provides learning to the Victorian community through a wide range of programs and services’.
  • Community Colleges
    Scroll down to the Victorian section for colleges linked to Community Colleges Australia.
  • Learn Local
    ‘Offer a range of education and training programs designed to meet your learning needs. There’s a government registered Learn Local in your community that can help you return to study, improve your reading, writing and maths skills, gain a qualification, get a job or learn something new’. A small collection of Learn Local providers is found here.
  • Learn Local Awards
    ‘Held annually to recognise the inspirational efforts of learners, practitioners and training providers in the Learn Local sector’.
  • Neighbourhood Houses Victoria
    ‘The peak body for the Neighbourhood House and Learning Centre sector in Victoria’.

Other Adult and Community Education Centres

Western Australia

  • Community Based Courses
    Department of Education Services. Information about Standards and Guidelines and Applications for Endorsement. There is a List of Community based courses available from the site.
  • Linkwest
    ‘State association for Community & Development Centres in Western Australia’. Find a Member Centre here. Use the Search Engine or the A-Z listing.
  • Tafe Choices
    Department of Training & Workforce Development. ‘Need help, or have a question ? Get in touch with one of our Institutes for further information or guidance on our courses and qualifications’. Also of value would be their Course Search.
  • Training in Western Australia
    Department of Training and Workforce Development. Coverage includes adult and community education.
  • UWA Extension
    ‘A leading provider of lifelong learning opportunities in a diverse range of community, workplace and professional education’.

Top of Page

Other Information

Australian Government

  • Adult Learners’ Week
    ‘Part of an international festival of adult learning. Adult Learners’ Week also provides an opportunity for informed discussion about the current provision of adult learning in Australia’.
  • Mature aged People ‘Employees are an investment for any business. Hiring a mature aged worker can be a great investment, bringing many years of experience and knowledge’. Advantages, Age discrimination, Preparing your Workplace, Financial Support and Programs [e.g. Restart - help to employ mature workers], finding more information, more.
  • Literacy Net
    ‘Key information about Australian adult literacy activities and links to additional program, professional development, resource and research sites’.
  • National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults
    ‘A ten-year framework which brings a national focus to improving education and employment outcomes for working age Australians with low levels of foundation skills [language, literacy, numeracy and employability skills]’. Find a link to the document in the Research section below,
  • Reading and Writing Hotline
    ‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.

General Sites

  • ACAL
    ‘Supporting literacy and numeracy education for adults’. Their Reports page is worthwhile.
  • Adult Learning Australia
    News, features, publications, events, links, more.
  • AVETRA - Links
    ‘Designed to help researchers find information they need. Links from both Australia and overseas’.
  • BBC - Skillswise
    Some areas are peculiar to the UK [e.g. courses, etc.]. Others could be of value. Literacy and numeracy. BBC quality.
  • Excellence Gateway [UK]
    ‘Provides thousands of examples of effective practice and support documents to help develop your knowledge and skills which are free to review and download. Material from learning and skills organisers and leading online resources also available’.
  • Free Resources [National Centre for Families Learning]
    ‘Whether you’re a parent, an educator or a volunteer, we have plenty of resources in our arsenal to help you fight illiteracy in your community’. USA.
    Irish National Adult Literacy Agency. ‘Literacytools is for adults who would like to improve their spelling, reading and numeracy skills’.
  • Work-Related Training and Adult Learning, Australia, 2016-17
    Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Top of Page

Reports & Research


  • All Over, Red Rover ? …
    The neglect and potential of Australian adult education in the community. 2011; Barry Golding, Annette Foley. ‘We undertake a critical, research-based appraisal of the current, arguably neglected state of adult education in Australia in 2010, and proceed to paint a picture of how a different and potentially more positive future might be realised’.
  • Australian ACE Environmental Scan Research Project 2016
    2016; Adult Learning Australia. ‘Insights into the scope and scale of ACE providers, programs, participants and outcomes, and national policies supported’.
  • Disengaged Youth and Adult and Community Education
    2014; Adult Learning Australia. ‘This paper outlines reasons for disengagement, motivations for re-engagement, and factors that contribute to re-engagement, with illustrations of how this is happening in ACE. It also touches upon factors that impinge on organisations providing such program’.
  • Keeping up with Information and Communication Technology
    2015; Qu, Lixia and Weston, Ruth. ‘Examines survey respondents’ beliefs about whether they felt they had been left behind by information and communication technology [ICT] developments, and whether they were worried about being left behind in the future’.
  • Let’s get serious about Adult Literacy and Numeracy
    2011; Adult learning Australia. ‘Leadership from the Australian government and a comprehensive policy response developed in collaboration with State and Territory governments, stakeholder organisations, community groups and educational professionals is long overdue’.
  • National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults
    2013; SCOTESE. ‘Governments have committed to a target that, by 2022, two thirds of working age Australians will have literacy and numeracy skills at Level 3 or above’.
  • Reskilling for Encore Careers
    2012; Jane Figgis, NCVER. ‘Describes the encore career concept and why it might be an attractive alternative to retirement or to continuing in the same job past the traditional age of retirement’.
  • Rethinking Community Based Learning
    2014; Sally Thompson, ALA. ‘This paper suggests that the informal and non-formal learning that occurs in and through Adult and Community Education in Australia has been enormously beneficial but has largely gone unheralded’.


  • 3rd Global Report on Adult Learning and Education
    2016; UNESCO. ‘Based on monitoring surveys completed by 139 Member States, the report assesses global progress in implementing the Belém Framework for Action. In addition, it investigates the impact of adult learning and education on health and well-being, employment and the labour market, and social, civic and community life’.
  • Adult Education From “The Bottom-Up”
    An Analysis of an Educational Journey From an Adult Educator in Aotearoa, New Zealand. 2014; Findsen, Brian C. ‘This paper seeks to integrate my biography with career development and issues related to adult and continuing education’. New Zealand.
  • Adult Learners in Digital Learning Environments
    2015; European Commission.‘This study explores the scope of what is a wide-ranging area of education and learning. Adult learning can span all age ranges that start after the end of compulsory education. It involves all types of learning, from informal to formal. Learning can be place-based [delivered at physical locations], or delivered through distance learning [particularly using digital channels]’. Europe.
  • Lifelong Learning and Technology
    2016; John B Horrigan, Pew Research Centre. ‘A large majority of Americans seek extra knowledge for personal and work-related reasons. Digital technology plays a notable role in these knowledge pursuits, but place-based learning remains vital to many and differences in education and income are a hallmark of people’s learning activities. USA’.
  • Updated ! Lifelong Learning and Adults
    2012; OECD. ‘Draws on various sources to examine evidence and recommendations regarding adult education and training, and lifelong learning more widely’. Chapter of a larger document on education in general. International.
  • Shift of Adult Education Research
    2013, Bo Chang, Adult Education Research Conference. ‘Analyses the main features of adult education research and research methods from the 1950s to the early 2000s and their implications for adult education research in the future’. PDF document.
  • Spotlight On ... Lifelong Learning for an Ageing Workforce
    2017; Policy Connect. ‘This report explores the challenges facing older workers in accessing, progressing in and sustaining themselves in the labour market. It argues that we must adopt a new approach to education and training, continually developing the workforce rather than frontloading education and training at the start of one’s adult life’. UK.

Top of Page

Universities of The Third Age

Top of Page