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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Main providers


8.Adult education and training

8.3Main providers

Last update: 4 February 2024

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:

  1. non-profit, adult learning associations active nationwide that have joined forces in the Austrian Conference of Adult Education Institutions;
  2. non-profit associations which are not part of KEBÖ;
  3. commercial providers;
  4. 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;
  5. universities and universities of applied sciences as providers of CET programmes for adults (cf.  chapter 8.4: Tertiary study programmes for people in employment);
  6. 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:

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.