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Dawkins quits as chair of Vocation

 The Australian    |     27 November 2014

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John Dawkins has resigned as chairman of troubled education group Vocation, saying shareholders want board renewal.  He has been replaced immediately by Doug Halley, who is also currently chairman of ASX-listed Duet Group.

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john-dawkinsLast month, following a lengthy probe,  Vocation was forced to repay $19.6 m in Victorian  government VET funding over non-compliance issues and it has now emerged one of its subsidiaries  (Aspin) is the subject of  a previously undisclosed investigation by the federal skills regulator (ASQA).

Vocation has also been under investigation by state training regulator the Victorian Registration & Qualifications Authority, as a result of which its subsidiary  BAWM said it would be recalling qualifications from 2409 students.

Dawkins, a former Labor education minister and treasurer, said his decision to resign stems from his “sincere interest in Vocation’s success”.

My confidence in the private provision of vocational training and higher education remains undiminished and I believe the company will benefit from the continuing expansion of the sector.  In making my decision to resign, I took into account shareholder views that Vocation needs to rebuild the support of its shareholders and instigate board renewal.

Dawkins — who has chaired the private education provider since its listing on the ASX in December 2013 — will continue to advise the group as a consultant.

Vocation is now the subject of a class action initiated in the Supreme Court of Victoria by John Webster as trustee for the Elcar Pty Ltd Super Fund Trust and on behalf of anyone who bought shares in Vocation pursuant to its offer of securities under the replacement prospectus dated November 27 2013, or, on or after December 6, 2013 and held any of those shares at the commencement of trading on October 27, 2014.

The writ alleges Vocation “has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in issuing its prospectus dated November 18, 2013 and replacement prospectus dated November 27, 2013”.

It is also alleged Vocation failed to disclose certain matters in relation to the prospectus.

Vocation denies the claims and says it will vigorously defend the proceedings.

Two other class actions are proposed by Slater and Gordon on behalf of retail and institutional investors

Not surprisingly, Vocation’s share price has plummeted from $3.29 in October to around  $0.55.

Vocation graph

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

 

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