Private provider Education Centre of Australia tells staff that times are tough

COO Gavin Dowling says the “mood in the market” is that this year will be harder than last and so, there will be “an essential cost reduction exercise”

“Lack of clarity on when international students might be able to get on a plane and start their studies in Australia is a problem for our industry. Not least because there are other destinations – like UK and Canada – which remain open,” Mr Dowling told staff, Wednesday. And so, employee salaries “will be reduced” – managers will talk to staff. ECA staff are variously on contracts or the relevant industrial award.

“It is hoped and expected that reductions will be reverted in 2022 once the size of the business can support that,” Mr Dowling added.

“The demand in the offshore market has not gone away. It’s just more and more likely that we cannot see that demand realised until 2022 and that the remainder of 2021 will see us relying on continuing students and a small volume of on-shore students that can be recruited for our courses.

“In the medium-term (2022 onwards) we remain absolute on track for significant growth. We just need borders to be open,” Mr Dowling said.

ECA courses include pathway programmes with Swinburne U and Victoria U – with a Uni Canberra relationship in the works.