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
- Adult Community Education Grants Program
‘The ACT ACE Grants Program aims to increase opportunities for individuals to access vocational education and training’.
- 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 Approved ACE Providers">, compiled by ACE is found here. Each listing has details covering phone, email and address.
- 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 Training
NT.gov.au. Links to multiple areas of information.
- Adult Learners [Charles Darwin
‘Not everybody goes straight from school into higher education. In fact, many adult learners would argue that life experience makes the tertiary experience all the more rewarding. Charles Darwin University has a number of adult learners entering the University through many different pathways’.
- Northern Territory Adult Literacy And Numeracy Best Practice : What do other people think ?
‘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.
- Communify Queensland
Community education from within the local community.
- Frequently asked Questions for Adult and Community
Everything from What is Adult and Community Education, through to How much does it cost.
- 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 List of Adult and Community Education providers in Queensland, lists information about organisations that provide courses grouped in different areas of the state.
- Mature-age Learners
Training Queensland. Skilling Queenslanders for Work, Certificate 3 Guarantee, Community Learning, linked information.
- 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.
- Adult Community Education
Skills and Employment. ‘Courses are delivered in easy to access, informal community settings. You’ll learn with other adults in small groups, or even get one on one coaching. They are usually free or low cost’.
- Adult 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
‘Peak body for 80+ Community Centres and Neighbourhood Houses in South Australia’. Find a Community Centre, training, activities, resources, news, events, Capacity Building, more.
‘It is never too late to learn something new. Many organisations offer education and training specifically for older people’.
- Office of the Training
‘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’.
- TAFE Short Courses
Many opportunities in Adult & Community Education can come through the TAFE system.
- WEA of South
‘Providing adults with learning opportunities for both vocational and personal advantage. Publishes five Course Guides each year’.
- Adult Education Libraries 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.
- 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’.
- 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.
- 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 [ACFE] Board
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’. 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
- 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’.
‘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
Department of Training and Workforce Development. Coverage includes adult and community education.
‘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’.
Mature aged People
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. 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’.
- 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 -
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
‘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’.
Training and Adult Learning, Australia, 2016-17
Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Reports & Research
- New !
Adult & Community
Education In Australia
2015; Adult Learning Australia. ‘This report is an attempt to quantify the size and characteristics of not-for-profit ACE in 2015, drawing on a range of data sources. It builds on data presented in the State of ACE in Australia paper released by Adult Learning Australia in 2014. Data is drawn from published accounts of and research into ACE, government department websites [state and Commonwealth], and qualitative and quantitative data provided by representatives of state government departments and peak bodies servicing an ACE member base’.
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Lifelong Skills ...
Equipping Australians for the future of work 2018. Australian Technology Network of Universities. ‘People will need access to education throughout life, whether they reskill or transition between industries or upskill to up to date within a field. Taken together, these factors suggest the Australian work landscape will be increasingly dynamic’.
- New !
Re-imagining WELL in the 21st Century
2018; Adult Learning Australia. ‘The closure of the WELL program by the Australia Government in 2014 has created a vacuum for working Australians who do not have the language, literacy and numeracy skills to function competently in their workplace roles. Adult Learning Australia has a vision for a new effective and sustainable workplace model that is based on a set of agreed objectives; one that reflects the feedback from stakeholders, including workers, industry, TAFE and Adult and Community Education, and Registered Training Organisations, on how to improve outcomes for stakeholders’.
- New !
Resilience : Stories
of Adult Learning
2012; Edited by Tara Furlong and Keiko Yasukawa. ‘This is a collection of learner stories, in their own words and with some helpful contributions by tutors along the way. It is testimony to the resilience of human lives, the critical role of lifelong learning, and how adult literacies weave through our journeys, visibly and invisibly’.
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Upskilling and Retraining, Support Paper No. 8
2017; Productivity Commission. ‘Improving the employability of workers through upskilling and retraining is a necessary response to the combined effect of an ageing workforce and technological change. However, negative stereotypes and myths about older workers’ abilities and their willingness to learn new skills create barriers to training opportunities’.
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Adult Students: Meeting the Challenge of a Growing Student Population
2011; Joseph Worth, Christopher J. Stephens. ‘Adult student learners have returned to our campuses in remarkable numbers. The shifting demographics of our population have forced community colleges to reconsider both their offerings and their delivery methods to ensure adult student learners receive the educational options and the ancillary support they need to succeed’. USA.
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Broad Research on Adult Education
in the EU
2017; Edited by Natasha Kersh and Hanna Toiviainen. ‘This report, presents an overview of the state of the art of adult education across EU member states and one non-EU country [Turkey], specifically focusing on the role of adult education and lifelong learning in motivating and engaging vulnerable young adults in the 28 EU member states and Turkey’. EU.
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Community Education and Social
2007. ‘The programmes in this report are impressive because they set out to deal with disadvantage. Community education empowers and builds the confidence of local communities to engage in developing responses to educational and structural disadvantage and to take part in decision making and policy formation within the community. This impressive vision of what community education can do is the driving force behind the Donegal programmes’. Ireland.
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Developing a Theory of Community Education for Social Change
Pauline McDermott. ‘My research documents my professional practice as an independent Facilitator of Specific Adult Education Programmes for marginalized individuals and groups based in community settings in the West of Ireland’. Ireland
- New ! Does learning trigger learning
throughout adulthood ? ...
Evidence from employees’ training participation. 2017; Anica Kramer, Marcus Tamm. ‘Individuals with more years of education generally acquire more training later on in life. Such a relationship may be due to skills learned in early periods increasing returns to educational investments in later periods. This paper addresses the question whether the complementarity between education and training is causal’. Germany.
- New !
Fifty Years of Learning : ...
A History of Adult & Community Education in Aotearoa from the 1960s to the Present Day. ‘This monograph aims to provide a brief but critical history of adult and community education in Aotearoa over the past fifty years. It draws on primary and secondary sources as well as a substantial body of previous research much of which has yet to be published ’. New Zealand.
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Pathways to Align Career and Educational Choices for
2018; Andrew Ippolito. ‘Now, more than ever, more adults must earn college credentials in order to earn family sustaining wages and to help fuel and sustain a robust national economy. That means that institutions of higher education must do all they can to help adult students enroll in college and complete a postsecondary credential. Achieving the Dream emphasizes a student-centered approach, which calls for ensuring that the burden of accessing supports within the college is not on the student and that colleges intentionally design a college experience that increases success for adult students’. USA.
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Planning to Succeed : Meeting the Needs of Adult Students Today
2011; Greg von Lehman. ‘ In 1996, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that more than 60 percent of tudents in US higher education met some or all of the criteria that would classify them as “nontraditional” — for instance, having delayed enrollment into postsecondary education, attending school part time, being financially independent of their parents, working full time while enrolled, having dependents other than a spouse, being a single parent, or lacking a standard high school diploma. Today, the numbers are even higher’. USA.
- New !
Power to the People ...
The case for person al learning accounts. 2016; Learning and Work Institute. ‘Put simply, learning cannot be something that ends when you leave fulltime education as a young person. Learning throughout life is vital to helping people adapt to change so they can stay in work and build a career. Learning and Work Institute recommends that the Government commit to increasing participation in learning and cutting disparities in participation between groups. To help deliver this step change in learning, everyone should be entitled to a Personal Learning Account’. United Kingdom.
- New !
Research on Adult Learners : ...
Supporting the Needs of a Student Population that Is No Longer Nontraditional. 2011; Jovita M Ross-Gordon. ‘A key characteristic distinguishing re-entry adults from other college students is the high likelihood that they are juggling other life roles while attending school, including those of worker, spouse or partner, parent, caregiver, and community member. These roles may be assets, both through the social supports they provide and through the rich life experiences that may help adult learners make meaning of theoretical constructs that may be purely abstract to younger learners. Yet more often, these multiple roles present challenges in students’ allocation of time for both academic study and participation’. USA.
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
- 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.