DRAINED: Chris Brock says he been left unsupported after the closure of SmartCity in Gympie.
DRAINED: Chris Brock says he been left unsupported after the closure of SmartCity in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

Gympie man left in $17k debt after SmartCity closure

A GYMPIE student has been left more $17,000 in debt and without any certifications after the closure of SmartCity.

Chris Brock said he was angry over the situation, which unfolded when SmartCity's administrative arm went bust.

Mr Brock said the collapse meant his attempt to change his life and start a business has instead left him in a financial hole with a mortgage and two young children to support.

"I'm drained, completely drained," he said.

"After a year's effort to come away with nothing, it's disappointing."

Starting his diploma of business in March last year while juggling full-time work, Mr Brock said he had always felt "things weren't entirely right" in his first year.

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For one, the staff was constantly changing, with original trainer leaving only four weeks into his course.

He also stopped receiving feedback on assignments after August.

Mr Brock said he had voiced his concerns, but was told to keep submitting his work through the end of the year.

On Tuesday, he received an email saying SmartCity was no longer able to offer further training for diploma students receiving assistance from the former VET FEE-HELP scheme.

What frustrated him most, he said, was the lack of communication or assistance which left him feeling "completely unsupported".

Chris Brock has been left unsupported after the closure of Smart City in Gympie.
Chris Brock has been left unsupported after the closure of Smart City in Gympie. Renee Albrecht

"There's been very little support from the government... or from SmartCity," he said.

According to Australia Council for Private Education and Training CEO Rod Camm, assistance was being made available to help those affected by the closure.

"We can certainly help them with options to continue their study," Mr Camm said.

Options were also available for VET FEE-HELP students like Mr Brock, he said. "Our job is to make sure that money is not lost."

People affected by the closures could contact ACTEP for help.

Attempts were made to contact SmartCity, but no response was received by time of print.

Gympie Times


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