News

Students launch class action after college collapse

CHASING MONEY: Debbie Fisher, Lyne Johnson and Jeanette Gerhard feel cheated by education provider SmartCity.
CHASING MONEY: Debbie Fisher, Lyne Johnson and Jeanette Gerhard feel cheated by education provider SmartCity. Rowan Schindler

THREE former students of Smart City have banded together to launch a class action against the failed educational provider who they say betrayed them.

Gympie's Jeanette Gerhard, Lyne Johnson and Debbie Fisher were enrolled in the diploma of counselling and were just six weeks from gaining their qualification when SmartCity Vocational College Pty Ltd collapsed.

They have contacted a lawyer and are urging other students to come forward.

The three women entered into study to "get back into the workforce" and help others.

 

 

After more than 12 months of full-time study they have nothing but debt. Between them, they have over $70,000 of debt with no reward.

Ms Gerhard, 54, has suffered more than most. As well as discovering her qualification was useless, she lost her home and everything she owned in a fire on September 23.

"I moved to Gympie from Imbil and got the transfer, paid the money, then a few months later we found out we couldn't finish our course and they were shutting down," Ms Gerhard said.

"Not long after our house burnt down. Everything we owned."

Ms Gerhard and her two grandchildren, to whom she is primary carer, narrowly escaped with their lives.

She entered study to work towards a better life for her grandchildren. She had a job lined up which fell through when SmartCity folded.

Ms Gerhard initially studied at Maroochydore campus in October 2015 before she transferred to Gympie in January 2016. She said SmartCity demanded she unenrol from her course and enrol again for the transfer to be granted. A process which cost her $7,500 on its own.

"They said that was the only way they would allow me to transfer," Ms Gerhard said.

"I wanted to do this so I could work and provide for my kids. When I pass, I don't want to saddle them with my debt. I'm no spring chicken.

"They can't knock me down any further because I was already at the bottom.

"I did it for the kids, they keep me going. They are my driving force."

Ms Johnson, 53, said they were joining forces to launch a class action against those responsible.

She said the legal case was to clear debts.

"We want to persuade people to come forward to help legal action," she said.

"These people have paid money and got nothing in return."

Ms Fisher, 47, wants the company, and those in charge held accountable. for their actions.

"I love helping people and I thought this was a great opportunity for me," she said. "Someone told me that they (the company) were in trouble while we were studying, and I actually defended them."

"I think the majority of staff were in the dark too. They were good people and I learned a lot from them."

"One day we just received a text message telling us to read our emails, which notified us of the closure. "Ms Fisher said the work she had put into study left her angry and the debt she has now accrued is a kick in the teeth.

It sent me into a depression. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

The national training college, based on the Sunshine Coast, reportedly pocketed more than $80 million in government funding and is no longer registered as a vocational education and training provider.

The company can still operate training, however students' qualifications will not be officially recognised.

If you want to get in contact with Jeanette, Lyn or Debbie, email gettingitallback7777@gmail.com

The Gympie Times attempted to contact SmartCity Vocational College but the phone is not connected and the email address is no longer in use.

Gympie Times

Topics:  education gympie law smartcity


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Work gearing up on $2.2 million transport upgrade

UPGRADE: Bongaree is in for a makeover

Bongaree is set to recieve a massive makeover on it's transport link

Vital Queensland service needs your help

THEY help 40,000 people by providing more than 140 services.

Shock as toddler's accused killer walks free on bail

Ryan Hodson was released from prison on bail.

THE teen accused of killing toddler Mason Lee has been set free.

Local Partners

Gunmen rob Deception Bay man after night out

Police are investigating an incident where a man was robbed at gun point after leaving a licenced premises in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bundy mum blogging to get families offline

FAMILY FUN: Deonie Crowther is holding family craft sessions at the Windmill Cafe in Bargara.

Crafty projects a hit with parents and children

Take luxury food, wine tour around Toowoomba

FOODIE CULTURE: Emily Moon (left) and Cheryse Bliesner with the Hummer used for Toowoomba's Luxury Food and Wine Tour.

It is designed to highlight the best produce the region has to offer

Country music stars coming to Ipswich

Ipswich will get it's country on when The Country Superstars Tribute Show hits town on Friday, June 30 at Brothers Leagues Club.

A UNIQUE tribute show will bring a bit of country into the city.

Game of Thrones: Crucial details you probably forgot

IT’S been a while since we’ve been to Westeros. But there are some crucial story points you need to remember before we head back there for season seven.

Pregnant Serena Williams nude on cover of Vanity Fair

"My heart dropped. Like literally it dropped,”

Wonder Woman sequel underway

Gal Gadot in a scene from the movie Wonder Woman.

IT’S no surprise plans are already underway for Wonder Woman 2.

MasterChef: Fish fry feast too much for Ipswich cook

Willowbank native Nicole Stevenson has been eliminated from MasterChef.

NICOLE Stevenson narrowly misses out on MasterChef's Top 10.

Thor on holiday: Chris Hemsworth is here!

If you didn't know who he was - you'd think he was a local

Agent judged among the world's best

Century 21 on Duporth principal Damien Said with team members Ryan Tomlinson, Jamie Smith, Kristie Cannon, Andrew Richardson and Sarah Beckman at the Maroochydore office.

Sunshine Coast real estate agent named in world-wide group's top 25

Island caretaker has weeks to live, abandons paradise

St Bees managing director Phil Webb, has been struck with illness and it has prompted the sale of the island.

His health has deteriorated in the past couple of months

Prime CBD site sold as laneway culture progresses

The Longs building Ruthven Street has been purchased by a group of investors to be renovated into a series of shops/eateries.  June 2017

How investors and council plan to transform the Toowoomba CBD

Gateway opens to $3b Coast mega estate

VISION: An artist's impression of the Palmview development 'Harmony' and its linear park.

New road provides link from the past to the future

Major German supermarket set to open in southeast Queensland

German supermarket giant Kaufland is understood to have approached southeast Queensland councils about a possible distribution centre, which would kickstart the establishment of new supermarkets.

Supermarket giant Kaufland has its eyes firmly on Queensland.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!