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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’.
  • Association of Neighbourhood Houses & Learning Centres
    Find a House, news, resources what’s on, media, more.
  • 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’.

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.
  • 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.
  • Linkwest
    ‘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’.

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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’.
  • experience+
    ‘Describes a range of new services for job seekers and workers aged 45 years and over and their employers’.
  • Lerni
    ‘Multilingual learning resources for emerging communities’. Introduction, Find a Course, Resources, Index, Languages. Site available in multiple languages.
  • LiteracyNet
    ‘Key information about Australian adult literacy activities and links to additional program, professional development, resource and research sites’.
  • Reading and Writing Hotline
    ‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.
  • TILT : Tap into Learning Today
    ‘Designed to help share information and communication tools vital to the success of lifelong learning programs and initiatives’. Information for learners, service providers, others.

General Sites

  • ACAL
    [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.
  • Australian Neighbourhood Houses & Centres Association [ANHCA]
    ‘Represents nationally over 1 000 Neighbourhood Houses, Community Houses, Learning Centres, Neighbourhood Centres and Community Centres’.
  • 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.
  • New Zealand Literacy Portal
    ‘Designed to provide a knowledge base of adult literacy information contributed by both New Zealand and international organisations’.

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Reports & Research



  • Adult Refugee Learners with Limited Literacy : Needs and Effective Responses
    2014, John Benseman, Refuge. ‘this study provides a systematic documentation of their distinctive needs as well as effective educational strategies for use with these learners. The study involved interviews with 36 adult refugees, two program coordinators, five course teachers, and six bilingual tutors from a community-based program in New Zealand’.
  • A Golden Age for Adult Education : The Collective Disorienting Dilemma
    2011, Susan Johnston, College Quarterly. ‘Examines the historic nature of adult education and the unique opportunity presented to adult educators presented by the rapidity of contemporary culture and the stunning nature of current events’.
  • Continuous Education Of Older Employees : Cost Or Benefit ?
    2012, Jana Jana Žnidaršič. ‘The aim of this paper is to highlight the importance of continuous education of older employees and benefits that life-long learning brings to a company’.
  • Education decisions of employed persons : The influence of Adult Education Vouchers
    20 , Erik Haberzeth, Claudia Kulmus, ESREA Conference Proceedings. Vouchers were ‘intended to increase the demand for continuing education by reducing its direct costs for the individuals. The purpose of this paper is to determine how adults use vouchers and what influence vouchers have on decisions on participation in continuing vocational training. ’. This link gives access to a range of other conference reports.
  • Open Education 2030 : planning the future of adult learning in Europe
    2013, Jonatan Castaño Muñoz, Christine Redecker, Riina Vuorikari, Yves Punie, Open Learning. ‘Presents the first results of a foresight activity that aims to contribute to an understanding of how ‘Opening up Education’ can improve adult learning in Europe in the future’.
  • Shift of Adult Education Research
    2013, Bo Chang, AERC Conference Proceedings. ‘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’.
  • SWOT study on the development of Chinese adult education
    2014, Wang, Xiaoping. ‘Analysed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the adult education adopting SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats] strategy’.
  • Technology in Adult Education ESOL Classes
    2011, Nancy Ball, Journal of Adult Education. ‘Examines advantages of technology use and offers examples of successful classroom implementation’.
  • Understanding Reading for Pleasure for Emerging Adult Readers
    2013, Samantha Duncan, NRDC [UK].‘New research into reading for pleasure in the context of adult reading groups of emerging readers. The research, …, has enabled us to ask what reading for pleasure means, what people gain from reading and why they might benefit from reading in groups’.
  • Valuing the impact of Adult Learning : an Analysis of the effect of Adult Learning on different domains in life
    2012, Daniel Fujiwara, NIACE, UK. ‘Works towards providing the evidence to support the case for protecting adult learning and illustrates the true impact of the policy of investing in community learning. The impact that adult learning has on four different areas in life is assessed’.

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Universities of The Third Age

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