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Sage Institute of Fitness enters voluntary administration

Sage Institute of Fitness enters voluntary administration
February 12, 2017

Following the Federal Government's crackdown on the vocational education sector, troubled fitness college network the Sage Institute of Fitness has reportedly entered voluntary administration.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that administrator Ferrier Hodgson, which has taken over three of Australia's largest collapsed colleges, Phoenix, the Australian Institute of Professional Education and the Australian Careers Network, has been called into the Sage Institute of Fitness group to put together a deed of company arrangement.

The college, promoted by Biggest Loser star Steve ‘Commando’ Willis, has been dogged by controversy over the past year, paying out large sums for endorsements to Willis while students complained of a lack of basic facilities.

With the Federal Government applying tighter controls on funds paid to vocational training providers, Ferrier Hodgson administrator George Georges told the SMH “there have not been any Federal Government payments since late last year.

"They were meant to be resuming in March, but it has been a number of months and there has been a drying up of cash."

The college, which is registered with the federal government under the 2000 student Australian Careers Institute, earned more than $32 million through the now scrapped VET FEE-HELP loan scheme while graduating 45% of students.

In September, Fairfax Media revealed that since 2015 the college's "ground-breaking, interactive learning" campuses have moved between four office buildings in Sydney alone.

It is the second college to go into administration in the past six weeks after a Sydney beauty college run by an Order of Australia medal recipient left hundreds of students in the dark and up to 80 staff rocked by dismissal letters on the day before Christmas Eve.

Willis publicised Sage’s "cutting-edge" Diploma of Fitness coaching on Channel Ten's hit show the Biggest Loser in 2015 despite the college having no dedicated gym facilities and asking students to help install their own classroom walls in empty office suites while charging them $18,750 a year in student fees. 

A hearing in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in October heard the college had spent $6 million marketing its Diploma of Fitness Coaching Course alone.

Georges said the college had responded to the concerns of students, adding “most of those issues have been addressed as far as we are aware.”

eorges said an eviction notice had mistakenly been placed on one of the college's main campuses in Oakleigh, Victoria, and that the college would endeavour to keep trading as normal while discussions where held over a potential future sale.

Georges continued “we are speaking with a very prominent person at the moment. I don't want to paint a negative picture. This is not a shut down scenario, we are trying to restructure the business to keep it going."

He said the college would apply to the Federal Government for future funding under the new VET student loans scheme and that as far as staff and students were concerned the college would continue trading and staff would be paid through the administrator's personal liability insurance.

He concluded “there is no disruption.

"If there is we will tell people as soon as we know."

Images: 'Commando Steve' in a Sage publicity shot (top - courtesy Sage Institute of Fitness/Facebook) and an extensive advertorial in Fitness Pro magazine from early 2016 (below - courtesy Sage Institute of Fitness/twitter).

21st December 2016 - AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT LOSES $2.2 BILLION IN STUDENT LOANS TO ROGUE TRAINING PROVIDERS 

9th October 2016 - SAGE INSTITUTE OF FITNESS LOSES BATTLE TO SILENCE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT 

11th September 2016 - ASHY BINES CUSTOMERS COMPLAIN OF BEING BILLED AFTER CANCELLATIONS

3rd April 2016 - STUDENTS SEEK ANSWERS OVER COLLAPSED FITLINK TRAINING COLLEGE

12th March 2016 - LEADING PERSONAL TRAINER SICK OF ‘FAKES’ AND ‘CASH-GRABBERS’ 

11th March 2016 - ACPET LOOKS TO CORRECT MISCONCEPTIONS IN MEDIA REPORTS ON THE SAGE INSTITUTE OF FITNESS

6th March 2016 - ‘COMMANDO STEVE’ BACKED SAGE INSTITUTE OF FITNESS CRITICISED FOR MISLEADING STUDENTS

8th January 2015 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO CRACK DOWN ON ROGUE TRAINING BROKERS

1st September 2014 - SINGAPORE FLYER SOLD FOR S$140 MILLION

11th November 2011 - PLUMMER WARNS OF THE DANGERS OF LOW-COST FITNESS MEMBERSHIPS

28th April 2009 - FITZROY ISLAND RESORT GOES INTO RECEIVERSHIP


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We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

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