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 community education training providers in Australia.
Of the 4.1 million students enrolled in Australian vocational education and training (VET) in 2018, 481,200 (11.8% of the total) studied with a not-for-profit community education provider. This was an increase of 2.7% on the previous year – 2017.
In addition to community providers, Australian VET students enrolled in TAFE (777,100 students, representing 19.1% of the total); university providers (69,200 students, 1.7%); school providers (105,100 students, 2.6%); enterprise providers (116,600 students, 2.9%); and private for-profit providers (2.1 million students, 71.3%). (Totals add to more than 100% due to some students enrolling in more than one provider type.)
In addition to the formal adult and community education (ACE) training providers, there are more than 2000 other ACE providers in Australia, delivering personal interest learning and other courses (see Adult Learning Australia, Australia ACE Environmental Scan Research Project 2017).
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).