Situation 'critical': Regulators suspend training college
The Australian Skills Quality Authority has immediately suspended the registration of Cooloola Training and Counselling Service Pty Ltd - known as Quest College - and signalled its intent to permanently cancel the college's registration as a provider of vocational education and training services.
Quest College can continue to train its existing students, but it may not advertise or enrol any further students while the suspension is in place.
The Authority's chief commissioner, Mark Paterson, said an audit of Quest College conducted on May 24 identified "a critical level of non-compliances that, in addition to intelligence received regarding recent actions of the provider, led ASQA to the view that immediate action was necessary".
The Authority found Quest College had insufficient numbers of qualified trainers and assessors and insufficient resources to deliver courses to students.
Mr Paterson said there was "sufficient risk" to students to justify an immediate suspension of the training provider.
He said the Authority was also "concerned as to the financial viability of the provider".
The college now has 20 working days to respond to the notice of intention to cancel its registration and the Authority will consider any responses submitted when making a decision to either cancel or impose a lesser sanction.
If the Authority continues with its cancellation of Quest's registration, the college can apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision.
Quest College's Facebook page celebrated the graduation of Cert III in Individual Support (Ageing) in Hervey Bay on April 21.
Cooloola Training and Counselling Service was listed by liquidators as an associated company of SC Admin Pty Ltd, the collapsed administrative arm of SmartCity Vocational College.
Cooloola Training and Counselling Service was directed by Jim Spong - director of SC Admin and SmartCity - until March 24.
In the liquidator's report for SC Admin it was revealed Mr Spong had met with liquidators in September, 2016, to discuss the financial situation and insolvency options for Cooloola Training and Counselling Service.
In a phone call to liquidators five days after that meeting, Mr Spong advised they were still having cash flow issues and were looking for investors to "save the business", whose principal place of business was at Maroochydore, but transferred to Moreton Bay last year.
Mr Spong was replaced as director of Cooloola Training and Counselling Service on March 24 by Johnelle Walters, who was an executive general manager of SmartCity.
SmartCity was officially de-registered as a nationally-recognised training provider on June 1.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has refused to confirm whether it is investigating SmartCity and whether it will look to claw back some of the $80-plus million paid to SmartCity by the Federal Government in VET FEE-HELP student loans.
The Daily has sought comment from Mr Spong and Ms Walters.
Quest College's website says it has "various locations throughout Queensland" and lists campuses at Brendale and Beenleigh.