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Open Training Institute announces cessation of new enrolments

Open Training Institute, RTO 40766, (OTI), a registered training organisation operated by the national leader in online education, Open Universities Australia (OUA), has announced that it has stopped accepting new enrolments.

Citing a desire to focus on its core higher education business, Open Universities Australia CEO Paul Wappett said current and forecast demand for OTI’s courses by prospective students in the wake of scrutiny of the vocational education and training sector following revelations of the practices of a small number of providers had contributed to its commercial decision.

Mr Wappett said that the decision does not affect the existing 3500 students enrolled across OTI’s 23 fully online business courses within Australia. Existing students have received communication of the decision, assuring them that they will be supported by OTI staff through to the successful completion of their qualification or the end of their two year contract.

“This has been a difficult but necessary decision to take. The utmost priority is to assure our students that they will be supported fully. This includes support should they wish to continue their studies, but also support should they wish to withdraw from their studies with no ongoing financial commitment beyond the module of study in which they are currently enrolled, with no financial penalty and no lock-in clause”, Mr Wappett said.

Mr Wappett said that should OTI students not be able to complete their qualification within their contracted term, they will receive a Statement of Attainment for the units that they have successfully completed. Because Open Training Institute’s courses are recognised by any registered training organisation (RTO) in Australia, this will allow current OTI students with a Statement of Attainment in their course work to complete their qualification with another RTO provider if they have not completed them within their contracted term.

Unlike many other providers in the vocational education and training sector, Open Training Institute’s qualifications were full fee paying courses, meaning that government funding (such as VET FEE-HELP) was not offered to students.

“Open Training Institute was launched in 2013 with strong commercial backing and has offered students high quality vocational courses that were competitively priced but which did not cost taxpayers a cent”, Mr Wappett said.

“However the level of uncertainty around the sector has dampened consumer confidence and demand, whilst altering market behaviour and dynamics. In the circumstances, we have made the decision to concentrate on our higher education business whilst ensuring that our students are fully supported.”

OTI offers 23 fully online business courses at Certificate III, IV and Diploma level. Mr Wappett said all courses will be progressively closed over the next two years as students complete their studies. Enrolment for new students into OTI’s business course offerings has been closed.

OTI has multiple channels through which existing students can seek more information, including via email: ongoingsupport@opentraining.edu.au, via a dedicated information line: 13 87 75 and by the OTI website: www.opentraining.edu.au.

Mr Wappett said OTI would be open in its communication with students and would update them regularly.

“As a service orientated organisation we are committed to work with each individual student, including offering assistance and advice, to allow each student to be best positioned to seek future completion and certification of their course work,” Mr Wappett said.

Deciding the future of OTI was an immediate focus of a strategic review Open Universities Australia is conducting across its entire online tertiary operations to consider OUA’s next phase of development in light of the enormous changes in online learning in recent years.

The intended closure of OTI will affect some roles over time, limited by number, within Open Universities Australia’s operations.