Adult (or continuous) education and training (CET) in Austria is characterised by a large number of providers. In addition to schools and higher education (HE) institutes, commercial and non-commercial institutes offer CET courses and programmes.
The management functions at schools and HE institutes are regulated by law (cf. chap. 10.2 and 10.5). The management functions in CET providers outside schools and HE institutes are not subject to legal regulations. Each institution defines its management structures and functions itself and determines how people who hold these functions are selected and what requirements (qualifications, professional experience, management skills, etc.) they must fulfill.
However, these institutions also offer educational programmes that are publicly funded, e.g. basic training courses as part of the Adult Education Initiative. In order to guarantee certain quality standards, the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) introduced Ö-Cert, a quality framework for adult education and training organisations, at the end of 2011. Institutions that correspond to this quality framework can apply for Ö-Cert certification. In order to receive certification, the applicant must prove that the basic requirements (Grundvoraussetzungen), stipulated in the Ö-Cert guidelines, are met. These also include organisational requirements. These state, among others, that the head of the training facility (or at least one employee) must have a sound pedagogical qualification as well as two years of professional experience. Since its introduction, Ö-Cert has therefore contributed to a certain standardisation and professionalisation of the management level in the rather heterogeneous area of non-school/non-HE-CET.
The same holds true for the Academy of Continuing Education (Weiterbildungsakademie, wba), established in 2007, which awards two important qualifications for adult educators: the wba certificate and the wba diploma. While the wba certificate (NQF level 5) serves as proof of comprehensive operational knowledge and skills in adult learning, the wba diploma (NQF level 6) is primarily aimed at proofing managerial functions. With the wba certificate, but above all with the wba diploma, the sound pedagogical qualification required by Ö-Cert for managers of facilities is fulfilled.