Finance

Beauty college collapse leaves workers without jobs, as hundreds of students are forced to find replacement courses

Emma Koehn /

Students have been advised they should find their enrolment paperwork to “speed up the process” of resolving what to do with their studies after the collapse of registered training organisation Australasian College Broadway in December.

On December 23 administrators from Rodgers Reidy were appointed to MHM Australasia Pty Ltd, which traded as Australasian College Broadway and was founded by Order of Australia Medal recipient and 2014 BRW Rich Lister Maureen Houssein-Mustafa.

Administrators advised in a letter to the college’s 80 employees on the Friday before Christmas that the business had ceased training and as a result all staff members’ employment had been terminated.

At the end of December, administrator Robert Moodie told Fairfax that cash flow issues appeared to have played a part in the college collapsing into voluntary administration.

The main page of the college’s website has been replaced by a holding page with a note from administrators advising: “At this stage we do not anticipate that the college will be in a position to operate in 2017.”

However, some other website pages remain live, including event galleries, some VET-FEE HELP information pages, and course advice pages.

The message from administrators on the home page directs students to the Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) website for more information about the collapse of their training college. ACPET lists six courses on its information page about Australasian College Broadway, including the Diploma of Specialist Make-Up Services, Diploma of Beauty Therapy, Graduate Certificate in Intense Pulsed Light and Laser Hair Reduction and Diploma of Salon Management.

In an “FAQ” note to students, of which there are believed to be up to 800, ACPET advises two options: for students to be placed in the same or a comparable course elsewhere, or have pre-paid HELP debt re-credited for incomplete units of study—although this option only applies for subjects not yet commenced but paid for upfront, according to the note.

Students are being referred to the ACPET help line and have been advised they will be contacted about the next steps in January. When SmartCompany called the general line at 9:30am on Tuesday morning, students were asked to leave all their course details on an answering machine for a call back in coming days.

In 2011 Houssein-Mustafa was given a medal for the Order of Australia for her services to vocational education. In 2014 BRW estimated her wealth to be $40 million, placing her at number 29 on the BRW Rich Women List.

In 2014, a NSW police investigation was launched into student numbers on record for the college, reports Fairfax, however Houssein-Mustafa has strongly denied allegations that “phantom students” were enrolled for courses at the college that were never completed.

SmartCompany was unable to contact Houssein-Mustafa for comment prior to publication.

2017 a year of changes for TAFE sector

Last year was a dramatic year in the TAFE space, with a number of colleges appointed external managers and an overhaul of the funding model by federal education minister Simon Birmingham.

From 2017, the government will provide support only to those registered training organisations it has deemed to lead to promising employment opportunities.

There will also be a variety of loan caps of between $5,000 and $15,000 for several courses, with VET student loans only available for diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificate and graduate diploma programs.

SmartCompany contacted administrators Rodgers Reidy for a further update on the future of the Australasian College Broadway business but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is SmartCompany's senior journalist.

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