Adult Education Organiser

The Job and What's Involved

Adult education organisers provide access to a range of educational and recreational courses to meet the needs of the local community and to encourage people to take part in them. They are sometimes known as community education organisers or community learning and development workers.

The range of part-time courses they organise may appeal to particular target groups, such as young people, families, minority groups, the socially deprived or the unemployed. These may encompass literacy and numeracy skills and programmes like citizenship, English for speakers of other languages and family learning programmes.

Much of an adult education organiser's focus is on generating interest in lifelong learning initiatives and giving groups access to qualifications and the opportunity to enhance their skills.

Specific duties may include:

  • Identifying local interests and community learning needs.
  • Liaising with community or resident groups, education providers and agencies.
  • Developing an annual programme of learning.
  • Finding and booking venues for each course, liaising with local schools, colleges and community centres.
  • Preparing online and printed programme materials and arranging local distribution and promotional activities, such as press coverage and enrolment events.
  • Providing support and information for interested students.
  • Interviewing prospective tutors.
  • Monitoring budgets.
  • Preparing reports.

Senior organisers are likely to manage a small team. They may also be responsible for preparing funding bids and curriculum development.

Adult education organisers may work full time or part time. Short-term contracts are widespread. Flexible working hours are available, including evening and weekend work.

Adult education organisers are usually based in a school, college or local centre. A typical day can involve lots of regional travel, attending meetings and visiting outreach education settings. A driving licence and transport are usually required. Some organisers work from home.

Full-time assistants or support-level staff in the voluntary sector may earn between £12,000 and £16,000 a year. Salaries for those employed by local education authorities and further education colleges may be between £20,000 and £25,000.

Senior adult education posts potentially pay around £30,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Key employers include:

  • Local authorities.
  • Schools and colleges of further and higher education.
  • Voluntary educational bodies, the largest being the Workers' Educational Association (WEA).
  • Youth and community organisations, such as the Women's Institute or YMCA.
  • Organisations supported by the Learning and Skills Council.
  • University continuing education departments.
  • Local community and voluntary groups, community interest companies and charitable trusts.

Agency recruitment is rare. Vacancies are usually advertised in local and national newspapers and through local and regional learning partnerships. Vacancies are also found in local authority and institution bulletins and websites and on Some jobs may be advertised in education publications such as The Times Educational Supplement.

Education and Training

Many adult education organisers have previously worked in teaching or training to gain an understanding of lifelong learning strategies.

Most assistant or administrative support-level jobs require applicants to have at least five GCSE's (A*-C) or equivalent. Direct entrants to organiser positions usually need one of the following, combined with some practical experience:

A qualification in teaching or adult tutoring.

A qualification in youth or community work.

A degree, foundation degree or HND in a related field such as educational studies, community youth work, community education, social sciences or communication studies.

The entry requirements for degree courses are usually a minimum of two A levels and five GCSE's or equivalent qualifications. Foundation degrees usually require one to two A levels and HND's require a minimum of one A level or equivalent qualifications.

The Diploma in public services (available from September 2010) may be relevant for this area of work.

Many entrants have voluntary work experience linked to an outreach social service activity or higher education mentoring programme. Management or administration experience, plus experience of working with specific client groups, such as ethnic minorities or young people, can also be an advantage.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once in post, training is likely to include a short induction, and access to courses and conferences to enhance skills. Some of these courses and conferences are delivered by lifelong learning and community agencies, giving adult education organisers the opportunity to meet their peers and share experiences.

There are many vocational qualifications available that may be relevant including:

  • City & Guilds Level 2 Certificates in learning support and supporting users of assistive technology.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma in training and operational management.
  • NVQ Levels 3, 4 and 5 in learning and development.
  • NVQ Level 4 in co-ordination of learning and development provision and management of learning and development provision.
  • NVQ's in youth work.
  • Diploma in teaching in the lifelong learning sector (DTLLS) at Level 5.

Postgraduate courses in education and community development may be relevant and are widely available in universities across the country.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An adult education organiser needs:

  • The ability to encourage and motivate people.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good organisational and time management skills.
  • Commitment to equal opportunities.
  • The ability to work independently, maintaining constant contact with remote working parties.
  • An understanding of the education and qualifications system.
  • To be decisive and creative.
  • A flexible approach to planning and reprioritising workloads.
  • Excellent IT, numeracy and literacy skills.
  • An understanding of project work, funding and bid writing for higher-level posts.

Your Long Term Prospects

Promotion opportunities for adult education organisers vary. Large adult education services or further education colleges are likely to offer a more structured progression route to management-level jobs.

Organisers and development workers could move into programme or education management. In a college setting they may combine course management with some teaching.

Alternative options may include working on a government-funded initiative, such as widening participation (encouraging more people to learn), Skills for Life (helping people with their reading, writing and number skills) and community development. A postgraduate qualification in a relevant subject may help those wishing to apply for senior positions.

Get Further Information

Local Government Talent

Lifelong Learning UK, 5th Floor,
St Andrews House, 18-20 St Andrew Street, London EC4A 3AY
Tel: 020 7936 5798

National Institute of Adult Continuing
Education (NIACE), 20 Princess Road West, Leicester LE1 6TP
Tel: 0116 204 4200

Workers' Educational Association,
Corporate Services, 3rd Floor, 70 Clifton Street, London EC2A 4HB
Tel: 020 7426 3450

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