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

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Northern Territory


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South Australia


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    ‘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’. 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

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.
  • New ! 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.
  • New ! 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’.

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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’.
  • New ! 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. 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 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,
  • Updated ! 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 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.

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Reports & Research


  • New ! A Place to Learn and Work : Yuendumu Learning Centre
    2016; S Disbray, R Bauer. ‘The study draws on an account of learning that is broad, diverse and situated in meaningful activity, which is responsive to the social, economic and learning needs of remote settings like Yuendumu. It draws out key elements operating at the Learning Centre in Yuendumu that allow for responsive and sustainable learning and training’.
  • New ! 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’.
  • New ! The ACE Sector & Results Based Accountability
    2016; Adult Learning Australia. ‘For adult learners involved in non-formal learning programs, the main outcomes may be personal or social in nature [e.g. improved self-confidence and connections with others motivated to learn] rather than or in addition to being work related and economic in nature. The challenge faced by the ACE sector is how to measure these ‘softer’ outcomes achieved by participants’.
  • New ! The Community Strength Model : ...
    A Proposal to Invest in Existing Aboriginal Intellectual Capital. 2016; Michelle J Eady. ‘In this article, I reflect on a project that investigated how technology could best support adult literacy learners in an Australian Indigenous community. The project provided insights into how local people perceive the concept of literacy and the significant role it plays in critical thinking and quality decision making’.
  • New ! What happened to our community of practice ? ...
    The early development of Adult Basic Education in NSW through the lens of professional practice theory. 2016; Pamela Osmond. ‘This paper considers the first fifteen years, or genesis, of the field of adult basic education in the state of New South Wales in Australia through official documents and archival material and through the stories from practice told by the teachers’.
  • New ! Work-based Learning and Foundation Skills in Community Providers
    2016; Dr Don Perlgut. ‘This aims to develop an understanding of the extent to which community providers are delivering training, including foundation skills, through work-based learning arrangements, and the styles of work-based learning that have been successful in up-skilling workers’.


  • New ! 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 BelĂ©m 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’.
  • New ! Adult Education : Too important to be left to chance
    2016; Deirdre Hughes, Karen Adriaanse, Sally-Anne Barnes. ‘This evidence-based inquiry gathered the views of key stakeholders, partners and providers on their top priorities for adult learning in 2016 and over the next five to 10 years’. UK, Europe.
  • New ! Adult Learners in Digital Learning Environments
    ‘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.
  • New ! Does Learning Beget Learning Throughout Adulthood ? ...
    Evidence from Employees’ Training Participation. 2016; Anica Kramer, Marcus Tamm. ‘This paper addresses the question whether the complementarity between education and training is causal. Results confirm that education has a significant impact on training participation during working life ’. Germany, Europe.
  • New ! Job Complexity and lifelong Learning
    2015; Ljubica Nedelkoska, Alexander Patt, ‘Drawing on a large literature from psychology and economics, this thematic report discusses the relationship between job complexity and learning in adulthood’. Europe.
  • New ! Lifelong Learning and Technology
    2016; John B Horrigan. ‘Most Americans feel they are lifelong learners, whether that means gathering knowledge for “do it yourself” projects, reading up on a personal interest or improving their job skills. For the most part, these learning activities occur in traditional places. The internet is also an important tool for many adults in the process of lifelong learning. A new Pew Research Centre survey shows the extent to which America is a nation of ongoing learners’. USA.
  • New ! Research Study on Motivation in Adult Education
    2014; Sarka Hubackova, Ilona Semradova. ‘Lifelong learning is a frequent concept. In it, special emphasis is given to the actual initiative of an individual to educate himself and to take over the guidance of his education for his improvement and self-realisation during a lifelong learning process’. Czech Republic.
  • New ! Resilience : Stories of Adult Learning
    2016; Tara Furlong, Keiko Yasukawa. ‘Supporting learners and potential learners into and through adult, further and community education. These stories and multimedia resources can be used by friends, family, tutors, libraries, enrolment, and of course learners themselves. Available as a free e-resource in PDF and ebook as .epub [generic] and .mobi [Kindle]’. UK.
  • New ! The contribution of further education and skills to social mobility
    2015; Department for Business, Innovation & Skills. ‘This report investigates how taking part in further education - such as an apprenticeship, work-based learning, community learning and adult education - helps people get better jobs and wages. It also looks at the effects further education has on the prospects for the children of learners’. UK.

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Universities of The Third Age

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