The New South Wales Department of Education has released its policy statement on the state’s adult and community education sector.

It followed a review in 2019.

This 5-page document points to the long history of adult education in all its forms in Australia. However, the present NSW ACE sector is made up of approximately 250 not-for-profit organisations “offering a range of education, training and community support services.” Just under a quarter of them are also Registered Training Organisations. The statement was developed by the Department in collaboration with Community Colleges Australia, ACE Colleges and the NSW Skills Board.

The policy context includes the COAG VET reform roadmap, and NSW’s 2040 Economic Blueprint released late last year. The present paper stresses:

“The public benefit of education and training [which] cannot be underestimated for citizens of all backgrounds, ages, ambitions and abilities.”

ACE providers complement but have a different educational focus to that of

schools, TAFE, universities and other training providers. And, as the paper says, the NSW Government supports the ACE sector’s work with subsidies and ACE supports the Government’s priorities.

And, according to the policy statement:

“Their programs contribute to breaking the cycle of disadvantage through inclusive and affordable quality training and education, helping to develop adaptable and resilient learning communities, opportunities for life-long learning, building a skilled workforce that contributes to regional economic development.”

‘Wrap around’ services are also an important part of what ACE does, the statement says. They are big players in the provision of education and training to “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, learners over the age of 45, people with disabilities, regional and rural students and disadvantaged citizens.”

And that’s why the NSW Government will continue to partner with the ACE sector!

You can find the NSW ACE sector’s operating guidelines here.