Community Education in Australia

Australia’s Adult and Community Education Sector in Perspective

According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), at the end of 2016 there were 426 community education training providers in Australia. Of these community providers, 268 were Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and 158 were non-registered – all of this latter group located in Victoria.

Of the 4.2 million students enrolled in Australian vocational education and training (VET) in 2016, 378,900 (9% of the total) studied with a community provider.

In addition to community providers, Australian VET students enrolled in TAFE (739,800 students, representing 17.6% of the total); university providers (60,200 students, 1.4%); school providers (91,300 students, 2.2%); enterprise providers (85,000 students, 2%); and private for-profit providers (2,470,800 students, 58.7%); with 381,600 people (9.1%) attending more than one provider type.

In addition to the 426 adult and community education (ACE) formal training providers, there are at least 2000 other ACE providers in Australia, delivering personal interest learning and other courses (see Adult Learning Australia, Australia ACE Environmental Scan Research Project 2016).

CCA’s member adult and community education providers have the following traits:

  • Learning is part of their core business, and is place-based or locally focussed.
  • They offer inclusive learning environments and practices.
  • They provide opportunities for engagement/re-engagement in community life, learning and work through the delivery of programs and activities.
  • They are not-for-profit, community-based and community governed through volunteer boards.
  • They provide formal, non-formal and informal learning opportunities, including foundation skills learning.
  • They provide opportunity for engagement in accredited VET modules or qualifications, either independently or in partnership with another training provider.
  • They provide skills that enable health and wellbeing, engagement in recreational pursuits and increased civic participation as well as skills for work.

(Source: Adult and Community Education in Australia, Adult Learning Australia)

Acknowledgement of Country
Community Colleges Australia acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of our land, Australia. CCA acknowledges that our office is located on the traditional lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.