Sage Institute shutdown destroys students' trust

I have a confession.

I’m 25-years-old, and I’m too scared to buy an annual magazine subscription. Why? Because in the past few years, I’ve said goodbye to all the titles I grew up reading. I don’t want my hard-earned cash to go to waste if the one I take a chance on happens to give up the ghost next.

Today’s world is a challenging arena in which to maintain a successful, profitable business. And it’s well known entrepreneurship is about calculated risk and taking chances. Call me crazy, but I think it’s a different story – at least, it should be – when it comes to someone’s future.

I may be skeptical about committing to a yearly reading subscription, but that fear should not extend to a young person’s investment in their education and career.

Here I am, worried about a measly $100 or so, and students across Sydney – including at least two in the Highlands – have more than $18,000 tied up in almost-finished qualifications with the Sage Institute, a private education provider that recently shut down.

Young people, trying to further their skills, knowledge and ability to contribute to society have been left high and dry by an organisation they should have been able to trust.

It’s no surprise the students feel they’ve been left in the dark, as the discussions that concern them take place among corporate executives in city offices.

While efforts have been made to contact students, comments from the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) and Australian Council for Private Education and Training (ACPET) both support the fact student data and records needed to facilitate this process have been difficult to obtain from Sage.

Brad Johnson, 18, of Moss Vale wants to know if his work at the Sage Institute of Fitness will amount to anything. Pictured here with Steve 'Commando' Willis, who featured heavily in Sage's advertising. Photo: supplied.

Brad Johnson, 18, of Moss Vale wants to know if his work at the Sage Institute of Fitness will amount to anything. Pictured here with Steve 'Commando' Willis, who featured heavily in Sage's advertising. Photo: supplied.

The students I’ve interviewed have asked me what I think is a very fair question. “How was this allowed to happen?”

Today’s youth should be able to trust in our country’s rules and regulations around education providers.

If a student commits to a course, surely the institution should have to commit to them. At the very, very least, it should provide them official recognition of their studies and the qualifications they have worked tirelessly for.

Let’s hope the students can now confidently place their trust in the recovery process. I wish them resilience and great success.

  • By Victoria Lee