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


  • 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’.
  • Generating 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 welfare dependence
    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 learning
    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 technology
    2016; Horrigan, John B. ‘This new Pew Research Centre survey shows the extent to which America is a nation of ongoing learners’. USA.
  • Updated ! 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.
  • Updated ! 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 Learning
    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 Learning ?
    2016; Demouy, ValĂ©rie; 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.

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Universities of The Third Age

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