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
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’.
- The Centre for Short Courses [CSC]
‘Largest provider of recreational and work related short courses in the ACT’.
New South Wales
- Adult and Community Education, NSW [ACE]
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 Learners’
Department of Business. Includes funding grants.
- Northern Territory Adult Literacy And Numeracy Best Practice : What do other people think ?
- 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 [CASSA].
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’.
- 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.
- Community Education
and Short Courses
Overview, links to other areas of this site and also other sites.
- 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 [ACE]’.
- 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 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
- Campaspe College of Adult Education
Echuca and into adjacent areas of NSW.
- Shepparton ACE College
- The Centre
Wangaratta and Benalla. Can be slow to load.
- The Laurels, Bacchus Marsh Adult Education Centre
- Wimmera HUB
- 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. Each has a website where available plus other details.
- 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.
- Community Learning
Department of Training & Workforce Development. Community learning, Adult and Community Education, Computer Skills, Literacy, links, more. Of value would be their Course Search.
‘State association for Community & Development Centres in Western Australia’. Find a Member Centre here. Use the Search Engine or the A-Z listing.
- UWA Extension
University of Western Australia. ‘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’.
- Investing in Experience
Employment Charter and Tool Kit
‘A one stop practical guide for employing people over 45 years of age. It provides practical help for your business or organisation to assess the demographics of your workforce, to identify and address potential skill and knowledge gaps, and to recruit and retain experienced staff’.
- 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,
- Reading and Writing Hotline
‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.
[Australian Council for Adult Literacy]
‘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
- Adult & Community Education in
2015; Adult Learning Australia. ‘A snapshot of the status and role of the not for profit Adult and Community Education sector in 2015’.
- Disengaged Youth and Adult and
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’.
- Let’s get serious about Adult Literacy
2011; ALA, AEU. ‘Literacy development is lifelong and occurs in the community, in educational institutions and in the workplace. A whole of government response is required to enhance and support the institutions and community settings in which adults learn as well as programs that encourage employers to invest in the literacy and numeracy skills of their workforce’.
- Rethinking Community Based
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’.
- Studying beyond age 25 : who does it and what do they gain ?
2012; Michael Coelli, Domenico Tabasso, Rezida Zakirova. ‘Investigate[s] what motivates people to undertake education and training at more mature ages and the impact of this on their labour market outcomes’.
- The Role of Adult & Community
Education in Regional & Rural Australia
2013; ALA. ‘As a result of more limited opportunities in often less formally educated, non-metropolitan Australia, the outcomes from education by sector are also very different. This paper suggests that Adult and Community Education is critically important in addressing access and equity beyond the metropolis in Australia’.
- A Theoretical Basis for Adult Learning Facilitation : Review
of Selected Articles
2015; Mussa S Muneja. ‘The aim of this paper is to synthesize a theoretical basis for adult learning facilitation in order to provide a valuable systematic resource in the field of adult education. A call is given to African academics in adult learning to push boundaries further in the field of andragogy in order to be applicable in the current socio-political and economic realities’. Tanzania.
- Lessons Learned from Accelerating Opportunity
2015; Randall Wilson. ‘Based on four years of designing and managing Accelerating Opportunity, Jobs for the Future and our partners have uncovered critical lessons for replicating and scaling this promising initiative for adult learners’. USA.
- Making Skills Everyone’s Business
2015; Julie Strawn. ‘A call to transform Adult Learning in the United States. It offers seven strategies that hold great promise for improving the conditions that create and perpetuate poor literacy, numeracy, and problem solving’.
- Motivating Factors for Adult Learners in Higher Education
2015; Olusegun Agboola Sogunro. ‘This paper presents eight top most motivating factors for adult learners in higher education. The study concludes that these eight factors are critical to eliciting or enhancing the will power in students in higher education toward successful learning. The implications for practice and further research are also discussed’. USA.
- Older Adult Education : New Public Pedagogy in 21st Century
2015; Ya-Hui Lee. ‘In response to the impact of population ageing and low fertility rates, numerous elementary schools, junior high schools, and universities have allocated resources and space to establish learning centres and learning camps for senior citizens, providing them with the opportunity to learn. Older adult education extends beyond the classroom and into society, forming a new public pedagogy in Taiwan’. Taiwan.
- Qualification of Adult Educators in Europe : Insights From
the Portuguese Case
2015; Caterina Paulos. ‘This article explores the role of the European Union in defining an adult education policy and the way European countries appropriate those guidelines and implement them in their realities’. Portugal
Study of Effective Practice in the Teaching of Reading to Adult Learners
2013; Greg Brooks, Maxine Burton, Pam Cole, Marcin Szczerbiński. ‘This was the largest study in Britain to date of the strategies used to teach reading in adult literacy classes, and the first to attempt to correlate that evidence with measures of change in learners’ reading attainment and attitudes to literacy’. UK.
- Transforming our world : Literacy for Sustainable Development
2015; UNESCO. ‘The literacy programmes featured in this publication are drawn from every region of the world and testify to the central role of literacy in responding to sustainable development challenges such as health, social equality, economic empowerment and environmental sustainability’.
- What Works for Disconnected Young People : A Scan of the
2016; Louisa Treskon. ‘The purpose was to conduct a scan of the current state of the evidence regarding what works in helping disconnected young people, defined as the population of young people ages 16 to 24 who are not connected to work or school’. 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.