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.
- New !
Frequently asked Questions for Adult and Community Education
Everythig 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’. New ! 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 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 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.
- 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.
- 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’.
- Community Based
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.
- 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’.
‘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 -
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
- 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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
Universities of The Third Age
- U3A Australian Capital Territory
- U3A Brisbane
- U3A Darwin
- U3A Hobart
- Updated ! 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.