Australian Regional Employment Agencies (AREA) and its national recruitment manager, Mr Shreyas Narayana, have admitted to misleading job seekers over paid IT training courses run by Zanok Technologies.
The admission comes after action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. AREA entered into an agreement with Zanok, an IT company, in late 2008 to recruit IT graduates for a paid training course run by Zanok.
According to the ACCC, from January to April 2009, AREA placed advertisements and interviewed applicants targeting non-residents and international students, including temporary residents from India seeking employment in the IT industry.
The ACCC says that AREA and Mr Narayana have admitted making certain misleading representations in advertisements and interviews, including:
- There were positions in the IT industry on offer when in fact the offer was for paid training costing up to $4700 There was a guarantee of employment at the end of training, when the workplace training agreement between Zanok and the trainee negated any such guarantee in circumstances including "Global Economic Crisis" and in any case Zanok could not guarantee jobs for all graduates Zanok would pay trainees a specified minimum salary level after completing training, when it was not in a position to guarantee to pay the specified minimum salary.
According to the ACCC, AREA and Mr Narayana have admitted contravening the Trade Practices Act 1974 and have provided the watchdog with a court enforceable undertaking that AREA will not engage in conduct that is likely to mislead persons seeking employment and will implement a trade practices compliance program.
The ACCC has also instituted proceedings in the Federal Court against Zanok and its directors in May 2009 alleging unconscionable and misleading conduct, and obtained interlocutory injunctions in relation to the conduct on May 13 2009.
Those proceedings are ongoing and listed for directions on August 20.