The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) has cancelled the registration of Study Group Australia Pty Limited (registered training organisation (RTO) number 5806) as a provider of vocational education and training (VET) services.
ASQA has also issued a written direction to the RTO requiring it to cancel a number of VET qualifications and statements of attainment, where the organisation did not provide the assessment necessary for the relevant qualification or statement of attainment to be issued.
Study Group Australia trades under multiple business names including ACPE Academy, Martin College, Australian Institute of Applied Sciences, Embassy English, Taylors College, ANU College, Flinders International Study Centre, and Taylors Unilink.
ASQA’s regulatory decision only applies to VET courses offered by Study Group Australia. Higher education courses, English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) and Foundation Programs offered by Study Group Australia under its various trading names are separately regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and are not affected by ASQA’s decision.
ASQA Chief Commissioner Mark Paterson said the regulator had undertaken significant regulatory scrutiny of the training provider which included gathering information on multiple occasions over a period of time.
“This scrutiny identified that the training provider was non-compliant with the requirements of the VET Quality Framework, which all registered training organisations are required to satisfy as a condition of registration,” Mr Paterson said.
Examples of non-compliances included:
- low qualification completion rate, where students were enrolled through the VET FEE-HELP scheme;
- failure to determine student suitability for their course prior to enrolment;
- inaccurate and misleading sales and recruitment practices and a failure to provide students with accurate and consistent information about a course and its fees prior to enrolment;
- failure to appropriately assess and consider the needs of a prospective learner prior to enrolment and to monitor and support students during their enrolment, resulting in limited student engagement in the qualification;
- insufficient resources, including trainers and assessors, to deliver the qualifications to the number of students enrolled; and
- failure to provide an appropriate amount of training to learners and assessment systems that did not comply with all requirements of the training packages and the VET Quality Framework.
“Study Group Australia was issued with a notice of intention to cancel its registration in September 2017. Study Group Australia’s response to the notice was considered by ASQA’s Commissioners however it did not address adequately the non-compliances identified,” Mr Paterson said.
ASQA’s decision will take effect from 19 February 2018. Study Group Australia may also seek a review of the decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) and to also stay the operation of the decision.