Any type of organisation (associations, businesses, institutions, coordinating organisations of networks and co-operations) which offers adult education and training/CET according to the definition set out above can be called a provider (cf. the beginning of Chapter 8) (definition based on: Ö-Cert, General basic requirements).
The Austrian adult learning landscape is characterised by a large variety of providers. Based on expert estimates, it can be assumed that between 1,500 and 2,500 establishments offer relevant programmes occasionally or regularly. They include:
- non-profit, adult learning associations active nationwide that have joined forces in the Austrian Conference of Adult Education Institutions;
- non-profit associations which are not part of KEBÖ;
- commercial providers;
- schools for people in employment (cf. chapter 8.4: Schools and colleges for people in employment (“evening schools")) and schools offering higher qualifications for skilled workers;
- universities and universities of applied sciences as providers of CET programmes for adults (cf. chapter 8.4: Tertiary study programmes for people in employment);
- companies as places of learning for company-specific and/or labour market-related CET for adults.
Public Employment Service Austria does not offer adult education and training programmes itself but is a major funding authority of labour market-related adult education and training held either in non-profit or in commercial provider establishments within the framework of active labour market policies (cf. chapter 8.4: Provision Targeting the Transition to the Labour Market).
Certification bodies are not providers themselves either but award important qualifications in the adult learning sector:
- such as the Austrian Academy of Continuing Education,
- cf. 8.4: Provision Targeting the Transition to the Labour Market,
- cf. 10.7: Management Staff Working in Adult Education and Training and
- cf. 10.8: Other Education Staff or Staff Working in Adult Education and Training.
In the formal education sector, the details of programmes (curricula, assessment procedures) are subject to the legal regulations applicable in the respective case; for CET programmes in the non-formal sector, curricula and examination procedures are defined by the providers.
Both sectors have in common that they use a wide range of teaching and learning forms, including distance learning elements.
It was precisely due to the large number of providers, in particular in the non-formal sector, that a quality framework for adult education in Austria called Ö-Cert was created in 2011. Ö-Cert is a supra-regional scheme aiming at the recognition of quality assurance measures of adult learning institutions. The Ö-Cert procedure, which examines specific basic requirements and recognises different quality certificates, creates quality standards which are uniform nationwide for education providers.