1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Participation in adult learning(a) - 2009
Graph Image for Participation in adult learning(a) - 2009

Footnote(s): (a) Proportion of all people in each age group. Participated in the 12 months prior to interview.

Source(s): ABS data available on request, 2009 Survey of Education and Training


Adult learning (or non-formal learning) supplement formal educational qualifications by providing other ways of acquiring skills and knowledge that do not result in accredited qualifications.

One shortcoming of formal education is that it may not adequately provide graduates with the practical skills required in the workplace. Adult learning is therefore viewed as valuable in cultivating flexible and well-rounded employees and citizens. This kind of learning enables individuals to take their place in a skilled and changing labour force, to lead fulfilling lives, and to be active members of the community.

Adult learning includes, but is not limited to, work-related training, hobby and recreation courses (such as jewellery making and dancing), adult education courses (such as introduction to computing) and first aid courses.

In 2009, over a quarter of people (28%) aged between 15-74 years had participated in adult learning in the 12 months prior to interview. After 'requirement for a job' (46%), the most common reason why people participated in adult learning was for 'personal interest or enjoyment' (23%), and close to one in ten people (9%) said it was to 'improve general educational skills.'

There was some variation in the proportion of people who participated in adult learning across the age groups. Those aged between 25-54 years were the most likely to have participated in adult learning compared with all other age groups and this reflects their higher rates of employment. For example, almost one-third (32%) of 25-34 year olds had participated in adult learning, compared with one-fifth of 55-64 and 65-74 year olds.


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