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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

Queensland

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South Australia

Tasmania

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Victoria

  • 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

  • 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’.
  • 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’.
  • 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’.
  • National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults
    ‘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’.
  • Reading and Writing Hotline
    ‘Australia’s national telephone adult literacy and numeracy referral service’.

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’.
  • LiteracyTools.ie
    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

Australian

  • Alternative Education and Transition Pathways for Early School-leavers
    2013, Megan Price, Boystown. ‘Examines the tangible and intangible 12 month outcomes achieved by disadvantaged young people participating in an alternative learning program in regional Australia’.
  • Centres ‘Down Under’ : Mapping Australia’s neighbourhood centres and learning
    2011; Donna Rooney. ‘The overarching aim of this paper is to ‘talk up’ learning in the Australian neighbourhood centre sector, realising this aim is premised on a need to understand neighbourhood centres themselves’.
  • Community Engagement and Transformational Education
    2009; Jude Butcher, Luke A. Egan, Peter Howard. ‘Gives examples of community engagement and transformative educational experiences that aim to empower people and communities who have experienced disadvantage, and, in the process, to increase their levels of hope’.
  • Updated ! Learning About Social Inclusion from Adult Students in Rural Communities
    2014, Jillian Marchant. ‘Explores the experiences of being included and/or excluded from the social life of their communities for a small number of adult students residing in rural South Australia’.
  • Lifelong learning policies : …
    2014; European Union Centre at RMIT University.‘Europe, Australia and the place of education in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals’.
  • Learning and leadership : …
    Evaluation of an Australian rural leadership program. 2014; Wendy Madsen, Cathy O’Mullan, Helen Keen-Dyer. ‘Highlight[s] the need for adult learning theories to be more overtly identified and utilised as the basis of planning and implementing leadership programs’.
  • 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; Adult Learning Australia. ‘The focus of this paper is on the informal and non-formal learning that occurs in and through community-based organisations.’.
  • The Ageing Population
    2014, ALA. ‘Suggests that the Adult and Community Education sector in Australia has already provided an important means of ensuring that adults can maintain skills, knowledge and wellbeing into their senior years’.
  • The state of ACE in Australia
    2014; Adult Learning Australia. ‘Defining the status and role of the not for profit Adult and Community Education’.
  • Through the Looking Glass
    2011; Roger Harris, Anne Morrison. ‘Adult education through the lens of the Australian Journal of Adult Learning over fifty years. The articles published in the journal are significant because they are primary sources of the day,’.
  • Using Grass Roots Community Programs as an Anti-Extremism Strategy
    2013; Robyn Broadbent. ‘Discusses the results of the evaluation of a multicultural leadership program that was delivered using an adult learning framework in which 16 young people attended and how such programs can continue to build the capacity of communities to build scaffolds of support that ensure the inclusion of young people and not their marginalisation’.

International

  • Adult and youth literacy : national, regional and global trends, 1985-2015
    2013; UNESCO. ‘Presents data on adult and youth literacy in 41 selected countries from four regions. Summarises the most recent literacy rates and estimates of the illiterate population, as well as historical trends for the period since 1990 and prospects for 2015’.
  • Bridging the Disconnect
    2014; Centre for an Urban Future. ‘Youth-focused workforce programs reach only a tiny fraction of the young adults who could benefit from employment and training services. The conclusion of this report is that a new level of focus and a new approach is desperately needed to power improvements’. USA.
  • Continuous Education Of Older Employees : Cost Or Benefit ?
    2012, Jana Žnidaršič. ‘Highlights the importance of continuous education of older employees and benefits that life-long learning brings to a company’. Slovenia.
  • Don’t Call Them Dropouts
    2014; Michelle Hynes, Centre for Promise. ‘Understanding the experiences of young people who leave high school before graduation’. USA.
  • Lifelong Learning for All
    2013; Heribert Hinzen. ‘A potential global goal for the post 2015 education and development agendas !’ Germany/Laos.
  • 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’. Spain.
  • Shift of Adult Education Research
    2013; Bo Chang. ‘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’. USA.
  • New ! Understanding Reading for Pleasure for Emerging Adult Readers
    2013, Samantha Duncan, NRDC. ‘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’. UK.

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Universities of The Third Age

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