One of Australia's biggest IT training companies, Excom Education, has shut its door across the nation with industry figures saddened by the development.
Techno Phobia's Andrew Morison said he was doing a course at the Excom centre in Sussex Street when he arrived to find it locked with the notice (pictured) on the front doors.
"All we have been told is that the company is in the hands of administrators," he said.
ARN understands from other sources that Excom will officially go into administration at 4pm today and that the company had been under financial stress for some time.
It was an authorised training partner across vendors such as Novell, Cisco, Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.
According to Australian Computer Society CEO, Bruce Lakin, the closure is a major negative for the Australian IT industry.
"It will put a hole in local IT training because it was a reputable and capable organisation that provided terrific service to the ICT sector for some time," he said. "Without any question there will be a gap that needs to be filled and a level of expertise that we can ill-afford to lose."
Although Lakin did not have detailed information about the closure, he said there had been a steady decline in the number of international students coming to study in Australia.
"Across all the learning agencies, whether they be tertiary, VET or vendor, there has been a general concern that the decline of international students has had a real effect on enrollments," he said. "We've got this skills shortage and we still haven't got a solution to address it.
"I'm very sad to hear about this and it's a loss for us."
Rival training college, Dimension Data Learning Solutions (DDLS), has offered to take on all Excom students and allow them to complete certification courses at no extra charge above what they've already paid.
DDLS general manager, David Gage, said his organisation had more than 50 training rooms in six locations around Australia and was well-positioned to look after the displaced students. He added that international students were also welcome to take on the offer.
"If they bring across their courseware and course confirmation from Excom then we'll allow them to sit on the DDLS course the next time we run it," he said.
"We're conscious of the fact that there are a significant number of students and staff impacted by this closure so we just want to make sure there's continuity in the IT training industry."
But Gage said he would not take over the controversial 100 per cent job offer promise made by Excom to Express IT students.
"We're not taking on the Express IT program," he said. "This is really about certification programs that students have started to undertake."
Gage also called on former Excom teachers to apply for positions with his company and said DDLS would be expanding.
"We've commenced that process today and will definitely have some plans to expand our business," he said. "We're in a unique position to scale our business quickly so we'll do that over the coming weeks."
Gage said former students wishing to take on DDLS' offer should call 1800 853 276 and that staff looking for employment should email email@example.com.