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Sydney - Continuing education

Adult education courses in Sydney

Adult education courses abound in Sydney. The most accessible adult courses are offered by community colleges across the city. These colleges are community-based non-profit organisations sponsored by the NSW Government to provide a range of educational opportunities for adults.


Courses almost always include English literacy improvement classes, courses for those with special needs, as well as a variety of business, computing, language, sport, lifestyle and creative courses. To find the nearest college in your area, visit your local library and ask for a free booklet of available courses. Usually, colleges will also send their course catalogue to residents within the area so look out for it in your mailbox before the beginning of each term.


Courses usually run each term, in keeping with the NSW school calendar. These usually go from February to April (Term 1), May to June (Term 2), July to September (Term 3), and October to December (Term 4). However, these may change so you should check with your college to confirm exact dates. Some courses are intensive and are run as workshops over one or two full days. Most courses run for two to three hours each week for three to eight weeks.  Most weekday courses are run at night, but some have a daytime option, too. These details will be included in the course catalogue.


Courses costs vary. For example, if there is some kind of formal accreditation involved, it will cost more. In 2006, dance classes, which run throughout the entire term, typically cost $110. An accredited bookkeeping course may cost $335 and run over 17 weeks. Where materials are supplied for you (for example, cooking ingredients or basic materials for arts and crafts), the cost is usually included in the course fee but you may need to pay for extra materials, so make sure you check before you enrol. Similarly, some courses may need you to bring your own equipment (for example, a musical instrument or special shoes for sports).


Community college courses are usually very casual and provide an excellent way of meeting new people in your local area. Any assumed knowledge will be indicated in the course booklet. Almost all courses will have a class for beginners and yes, they really do cater for absolute beginners. So if you’ve always had a burning ambition to be a jazz dancer, a painter or a jewellery maker, don’t be scared to sign up!


You need to be aware that classes are usually not held on public holidays. If one or more of your classes is affected, confirm that the course fee reflects the reduced number of days. If not, check the college to see if you can attend the class on a different day for the week when yours is not available.

All the colleges have a refund policy. You will need to apply for a refund in writing. The refund policy differs for each college. Some will give you a full refund if you withdraw from a course before a particular date, but others will only do so if there are exceptional circumstances. Some will give you a full cash refund, but others will only let you transfer to another course. Even if you are granted a refund, you might need to pay an administration fee. If a course is cancelled by the college then you should be able to get your money back.


TAFE (Technical and Further Education) Institutes provide more formal training than community colleges. TAFE courses have a vocational focus so most courses are “hands-on” (practical as opposed to theoretical). TAFE offers short and long courses, full-time or part-time, on campus or via distance learning, depending on the subject. You can obtain accreditation for courses, up to a Graduate Diploma. In some cases, TAFE courses can be used to gain credits for university courses.


In 2006, TAFE cost from $316 per year for short courses to over $1700 per year for a Graduate Diploma. Aside from the course fee, you may need to pay additional charges, such as membership to student associations, fees for commercial courses and other course-related costs. Be sure to check with the institution if this is a concern.


If you have a temporary visa, make sure you read the terms and conditions for enrolling in TAFE. You may need to pay extra fees. Each TAFE campus has a Temporary Visa Holders Officer who can offer advice about what you need to do.


Universities may also offer continuing education and short courses and most will offer non-award courses, which means you don’t have to enrol in a degree, diploma or certificate program to enrol in the class. Universities generally have higher course fees than TAFE or community colleges.


If you wish to enrol in continuing education for a specific profession or vocation, contact your local professional organisation. They’ll know of more specialised courses to suit your needs.


Community Colleges


Community Colleges NSW
Postal address: PO Box 14, South Strathfield NSW Australia 2136
Phone: +61 (0)2 9642 5622
Fax: 0+61 (0)2 9642 6156
E-mail [email protected]



Bankstown Community College

Office location: 1st Floor, 457 Chapel Road, Bankstown

Postal address: PO Box 3004, Bankstown Square NSW Australia 2200

Phone: +61 (0)2 9793 8155

Fax: +61 (0)2 9793 8604



Eastern Suburbs Community College

Postal address: PO Box 12, Bondi NSW Australia 2026

Phone: +61 (0)2 9387 7400

Fax: +61 (0)2 9387 7544

E-mail: [email protected]



Hawkesbury Community College

Office location: Suite 9, Civic Arcade, 225 Windsor Street, Richmond NSW Australia 2753

Phone: +61 (0)2 4588 5466



Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Community College

Office location: 1st Floor, 45-47 Hunter Street, Hornsby (next to Bob Jane Tyre Mart)

Postal address: PO Box 1693, Hornsby Northgate NSW Australia 1635

Phone: +61 (0)2 9482 1189

Fax: +61 (0)2 9482 1117

E-mail: [email protected]



Macarthur Community College

Office location: Cartwright Public School, Willan Drive, Cartwright

Postal address: Reply Paid 5772, Prestons NSW Australia 2170

Phone: +61 (0)2 9826 6455

Fax: +61 (0)2 9826 6977

E-mail: [email protected]



Macquarie Community College

Office location: 263 Marsden Road, Carlingford

Postal address: PO Box 2755, Carlingford NSW Australia 2118

Phone: +61 (0)2 8845 8888

Fax: +61 (0)2 9872 6912

E-mail: [email protected]



Manly Warringah Community College

Office location: Community College Annex, Pittwater Road entrance to Narrabeen Sports High

Postal address: MWCC Reply Paid 1966, Dee Why NSW Australia 2099

Phone: +61 (0)2 9970 1000

Fax: +61 (0)2 9970 6453

E-mail: [email protected]



Mosman Community College

Office location: Mosman High School, Gladstone Avenue, Mosman

Postal address: PO Box 186, Mosman NSW Australia 2088                        

Phone: +61 (0)2 9968 4000

Fax: +61 (0)2 9968 1643



Nepean Community College

Office location: Penrith Plaza, High St, Penrith (adjacent to Penrith City Council)

Phone: +61 (0)2 4721 5368 or +61 (0)2 4782 3532

Fax: +61 (0)2 4721 0350 or +61 (0)2 4782 5065



Northwest Community College

Office location: Unit 17, 7 Anella Avenue, Castle Hill NSW Australia 2154

Phone: +61 (0)2 9680 1117

Fax: +61 (0)2 9899 5334

E-mail: [email protected]



Parramatta College

Office location: Suite 67, 48 George Street, Parramatta

Postal address: PO Box 1121, Parramatta NSW Australia 2124

Phone: +61 (0)2 9687 2072

Fax: +61 (0)2 9687 2217

E-mail: [email protected]



St George & Sutherland Community College

Office location: 127-129 Sutherland Road, Jannali

Phone: +61 (0)2 9528 3344



Strathfield Regional Community College

Office location: 43 Hedges Avenue, South Strathfield (on the grounds of South Strathfield High School)

Phone: +61 (0)2 9642 1499 or +61 (0)2 9745 3469

Fax: +61 (0)2 9642 1556

E-mail: [email protected]



Sydney Community College

Office location: Corner Balmain Road and Perry Street, Lilyfield

Postal address: PO Box 247, Leichhardt, NSW Australia 2040

Phone: +61 (0)2 8752 7555

Fax: +61 (0)2 8752 7500

E-mail: [email protected]



Workers' Educational Association (WEA) Sydney

Office location: 72 Bathurst, Sydney (between Kent and Sussex Streets)

Phone: +61 (0)2 9264 2781

Fax: +61 (0)2 9267 6988

E-mail: [email protected]




Because there are so many courses available through TAFE, it is best to visit the TAFE NSW website and start your search there. You can search by location or by course and the site provides exhaustive information on courses and contact information.


TAFE NSW Information Centre

Office location: Level 13, 1 Oxford Street Darlinghurst NSW Australia 2010

Phone: 131 601 (within NSW) +61 (0)2 8289 4777



Other Continuing Education Courses


University of Sydney

Office location: 160 Missenden Road, Newtown

Postal address: Locked Bag 2020, Glebe NSW Australia 2037

Phone: +61 (0)2 9036 4789

Fax: +61 (0)2 9036 4799

E-mail: [email protected]