Australia’s Adult and Community Education Sector in Perspective
According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), there are more than 400 not-for-profit adult and community education (ACE) training providers in Australia, the majority of them located in Victoria and New South Wales.
Of the 4.2 million Australian vocational education and training (VET) students enrolled in 2019, 489,100 (11.6% of the total) studied with a not-for-profit community education provider. This was an increase of 1.6% (7,900 students) on the previous year – 2018.
In addition to community providers, Australian VET students enrolled in TAFE (779,200 students, representing 18.6% of the total); university providers (77,600 students, 1.8%); school providers (108,000 students, 2.6%); enterprise providers (124,400 students, 3.0%); and private for-profit providers (3.0 million students, 72.1%). (Totals add to more than 100% as students may have enrolled in training with multiple provider types.)
In addition to the 400+ ACE providers which deliver accredited and pre-accredited vocational education and training, more than 2000 other ACE providers offer personal interest learning and other courses, including adult basic education in language, literacy, numeracy, digital and other foundation skills (see Adult Learning Australia, Adult Community Education Australian Environmental Scan 2020).
VET Students who enrol with community education providers consistently show the greatest increase into employment of any provider type: 16.8% of community education VET training graduates moved from unemployment to employment in 2018 as a result of their training, compared to 10.1% of TAFE graduates (also the national average), 9.5% of private for-profit training providers, and 7.9% of university VET providers. Compared to other VET provider types, community education graduates were also the most satisfied with assessment, the most satisfied with the overall quality of training and the most willing to recommend their training. Of those employed after training, more community education graduates found the training relevant to their current job and received at least one job-related benefit (source: NCVER VET Student Outcomes 2019 report, December 2019).