Australian Careers Network’s Phoenix Institute loses registrations

Australian Careers Network’s Phoenix Institute loses registrations

24 Nov, 2015
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
Author: Sarah  Danckert

Australian Careers Network’s troublesome college the Phoenix Institute has been stripped of its registrations by federal regulators.

The loss of key federal registrations that give Phoenix access to government funding for student courses is another blow for the embattled Australian Careers Network, which only listed in December last year.

On Tuesday, Australian Careers Network revealed the Australian Skills Quality Authority had pulled the plug on Phoenix’s registrations that allow students
at its courses apply for VET Fee-Help loans. Phoenix was also removed from the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students.

The company plans to seek an urgent stay of the decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which would allow the company to continue to operate as a registered training organisation.

“Phoenix does not agree with these decisions and proposes to seek an urgent stay of the decisions and otherwise apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of all the decisions,” Australian Careers Network chief executive Ivan Brown said in an announcement to the Australian Securities
Exchange.

Last week Australian Careers Network also extended its voluntary trading suspension to December 18 so it could get its house in order. Its shares last
traded at $3.43.

As revealed in Fairfax Media this month another college operated by Australian Careers Network, Consider This Training, is also of risk of losing its registration as the result of a full scale audit by the federal regulator following a raft of student complaints.

Phoenix, Consider This Training and another Australian Careers Network college Australian Management Academy have had their Victorian government
funding cut.

The Victorian government had also tried to sever the funding for all other Australian Careers Network colleges but put that plan in abeyance following a legal challenge by the ASX-listed company.

Phoenix has run into trouble in recent months after an outcry over its agents doling out free laptops to induce people into signing up for education and training courses that often weren’t appropriate for their needs and abilities.

Fairfax Media has also previously revealed agents working for Phoenix had targeted people in vulnerable communities, including low socio-economic enclaves and people with intellectual disabilities, in their sales activities.

Many Phoenix students have complained the agent did not properly explain their enrolment and signed them up to a VET Fee-Help loan often in excess
of $15,000.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recently flagged its intention to take court action against Phoenix for “misleading or deceptive
and unconscionable conduct”.

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