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
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Adult Community Education
‘The ACT ACE Grants Program aims to increase opportunities for individuals to access vocational education and training’.
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Association of Providers of Training Services
‘Representing private and public vocational training providers in Canberra and the surrounding region’.
- Erindale College Community Education Program
‘Forging strong partnerships within the community and helping community members create lifelong learning plans for mind, body and spirit, as well as achieve greater community involvement’.
- The Centre for Short Courses
‘Largest provider of recreational and work related short courses in the ACT’.
New South Wales
- Adult and Community Education, NSW
Provider and organiser of adult and community education across NSW. A list of NSW Community Colleges, compiled by ACE is found here. Each listing has a link to the relevant website [where one exists], as well as other information.
- Community Colleges NSW
Listing of community colleges across NSW.
- NSW Adult Literacy & Numeracy Council
‘Representing teachers, workers and others interested in the field of adult literacy and numeracy in NSW. To promote awareness, understanding and cooperation amongst providers in the field of adult literacy, numeracy and adult learning’.
- Adult Education and TrainingU
NT.gov.au. Links to multiple areas of information.
- Adult Learners’
Department of Business. Includes funding grants.
- Northern Territory Adult Literacy And Numeracy Best Practice : What do other people think ?
- Workforce Training
‘Workforce Training Coordinators can help your community organisation with training needs in regional and remote areas’.
- Adult Community Education
Training Queensland. Overview, FAQs, Adult Community Education Provider list, news, events, contact details, links.
- Community Learning
Training Queensland. Projects, documents, linked information.
- Communify Queensland
Community education from within the local community.
- Lifelong Learning Council Queensland [Inc]
‘Voluntary, non-government organisation with a membership drawn from the broad spectrum of adult and community learning and education in the public, private and community arenas. The Directory of Adult & Community Learning Database, has information about organisations, agencies and enterprises/businesses that provide courses and support’.
- Queensland Council for Adult Literacy
‘Promotes literacy as the key to effective life-long learning for all. Seeks to establish and maintain opportunities for adult members of the community to improve their literacy and numeracy skills’.
- ACE -
Adult Community Education
Community Access and Services SA.
Community Education Funding
‘We can talk with you about your ideas and refer you to the best place for help’.
- Community and Neighbourhood Houses and Centres Association
‘Peak body for 80+ Community Centres and Neighbourhood Houses in South Australia’. Find a Community Centre, training, activities, resources, news, events, Capacity Building, more.
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‘It is never too late to learn something new. Many organisations offer education and training specifically for older people’.
- Office of the Training Advocate
‘Can respond to any question or concern about the South Australian training system including those relating to Adult Community Education’.
- South Australian Council for Adult Literacy
‘Assists in the development and promotion of language, literacy and numeracy practices, services and resources’.
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Many opportunities in Adult & Community Education can come through the TAFE system.
- WEA of South Australia
‘Providing adults with learning opportunities for both vocational and personal advantage. Publishes five Course Guides each year’.
- Adult Education LINC Tasmania
Information about courses, by subject or region. Find Centres Locations and Hours [online or in person]. Includes links to the following :
- Adult Learners’ Week
Information about this week is posted nearer the time.
- Get Help
With Reading, Writing and Maths, more.
- Skills Tasmania - Learners
Overview, links to sites and topics from left hand menu.
- ACE VIC
‘Victoria’s peak policy, industrial and development body for the Adult Community Education sector’.
Adult and Community Education Colleges in Other Areas of Victoria
Mildura and surrounding districts.
- Shepparton ACE College
- Southern Grampians Adult Education
- The Centre
Wangaratta and Benalla. Can be slow to load.
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The Centre for Participation
‘Changes lives and communities through local opportunities in community support, volunteering, learning and partnerships’. Incorporates the previously listed Wimmera HUB.
- The Laurels, Bacchus Marsh Adult Education Centre
- Adult, Community and Further Education
Overview, structure, links to AMES, CAE and Learn Local [see below], Regional Councils, more.
‘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’. Find a Learn Local 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
- Monash Short Courses Centre
‘Our courses are open to all, not just to Monash students and staff. Our Centre includes a variety of specialist facilities’. Access their Online Courses.
- Victorian Skills Gateway
‘Searches can be performed on occupations, courses, training providers, video and written case studies’. Separate section for Adult Learners.
‘Engage in learning, Explore’.
- 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.
‘State association for Community & Development Centres in Western Australia’. Find a Member Centre here. Use the Search Engine or the A-Z listing.
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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.
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Training in Western
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’.
- 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’.
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Business.gov.au. ‘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. New ! Restart Programme], 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
‘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,
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Reading and Writing Hotline
‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.
‘Supporting literacy and numeracy education for adults’. Their Links page is worthwhile.
- Adult Learning Australia
News, features, publications, events, links, more.
- AVETRA - Useful 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.
- Learning Communities Catalyst
‘Learning Communities are groups of people - in towns, around centres, or in interest groups - who work toward making lifelong learning possible for everyone’.
Irish National Adult Literacy Agency. ‘Literacytools is for adults who would like to improve their spelling, reading and numeracy skills’.
- Year Book Australia, 2012
Education. Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Reports & Research
- Blind date …
2010; Leske, Ann. ‘An exploration of potential partnerships between literacy teachers and community service workers. Through interviews and surveys with these two groups, this paper explores their views on literacy, how it impacts on their work, and their ideas about partnerships with each other’.
Knowhow in Later Life
2015; Kimberley, Helen; Simons, Bonnie; Wickramasinghe, Seuwandi. ‘This small qualitative study found that older adults particularly valued the ‘knowhow’ that enables them to manage matters such as health and personal finances and to plan for challenges such as becoming a carer, living alone and maintaining independence’.
- 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’.
- Staying Power : …
The Effect of Pathway into University on Student Achievement and Attrition. 2016; Chesters, Jenny; Watson, Louise; ‘This paper analyses administrative data for a cohort of first year undergraduate students attending an Australian university to examine the association between pathway to university and student retention and academic progression’.
- Study in prison reduces recidivism and
2016; Giles, Margaret. ‘Describes the effectiveness of correctional education in improving post-release outcomes’.
- Unlocking the Potential Within
2016; Johns, Susan; Crawford, Nicole; et al. ‘This longitudinal study explores the impact on rural mature-aged people of participation in a university enabling program, in terms of further study and employment outcomes’.
- Work-based learning and work-integrated
Fostering engagement with employers. 2016; Atkinson, Georgina. ‘This research synthesis draws on the literature on work-based learning and work-integrated learning to identify how engagement with industry and employers can be fostered, and what the two sectors can learn from each other’.
- 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.
- E-Learning in the
workplace : an annotated bibliography
2015; Guiney, Peter. ‘Provides an overview of the literature relating to e-learning in workplaces in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States’. New Zealand.
- Lifelong learning and
2016; Horrigan, John B. ‘This new Pew Research Centre survey shows the extent to which America is a nation of ongoing learners’. USA.
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Lost soul or new dawn
Lifelong learning lessons and prospects from East Asia. 2015; Duke, Chris. ‘Most learning takes place in communities, neighbourhoods and workplaces. Here practical solutions to big problems work or fall down’. UK.
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Recognition and validation of
non-formal and informal learning
Lifelong learning and university in the Italian context. 2014; Di Rienzo, Paolo. ‘This paper is a reflection, on the basis of empirical research conducted in Italy, on theoretical, methodological and systemic-organisational aspects linked to the recognition and validation of the prior learning acquired by adult learners or workers who decide to enrol at university at a later stage in their lives’ Italy.
- Skills in New Zealand and around
the world : survey of adult skills
2016; Government of New Zealand. ‘This report looks at how the skills of New Zealand adults compare to other countries and how they have changed over time. The Survey of Adult Skills measures the skills of New Zealand adults in literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology rich environments’. New Zealand.
- The Roles of Canadian Universities in Heterogeneous Third-Age
A Call for Transformation. 2016; Ratsoy, Ginny. ‘Makes the case that Canadian universities, both within and beyond their campuses, must broaden their visions of third-age learners [defined for the purposes of this article as persons seeking formalised education who are in the stage of life beginning at retirement]’. Canada.
- Why and How Do Distance Learners Use Mobile Devices for Language
2016; Demouy, Valérie; Jones, Ann; et al. ‘Adult students of five languages at different levels were surveyed about using their mobile devices to support their learning as well as their motivations in doing so. We also draw on eight follow-up interviews.’. Northern Ireland.
Universities of The Third Age
- U3A Australian Capital Territory
- U3A Brisbane
- U3A Darwin
- U3A Hobart
- U3A Sunshine Coast
- U3A [UWA]
- U3A Network New South Wales
- Updated ! U3A Network Victoria
- University of The Third Age
All branches of the University of the Third Age in Australia.
- University of the Third Age, South Australia
Access most of the U3As in South Australia, find courses, other links.