IT certification company Excom is in liquidation after it locked its doors last night and left students potentially thousands of dollars out of pocket.
The company was famous for late-night TV commercials that featured slick young IT executives, fast cars and guarantees of walk-in tech jobs with the completion of its Express IT course.
Students arriving at the company's state offices this morning found the doors locked, according to iTnews. Phone numbers were disconnected when ZDNet Australia tried to contact the company. Excom folded and filed for administration with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission at about 4pm today, according to the organisation's website.
Sources say administrators had plucked computers from unknowing employees as early as yesterday evening.
Rival education provider, Dimension Data Learning Solutions, has offered an olive branch to affected students, allowing them to complete their courses free of charge.
"We have no direct financial incentive to do this," chief executive David Gage told ZDNet Australia. "Other than we hope that they will continue with our services."
"There are a lot of individuals that are halfway through training and are out of pocket."
He is also recruiting redundant Excom staff and instructors, and will ramp-up hires in line with plans to expand the company.
Gage said that he had had no "real indication" of the company's sudden demise, but warned potential students to be generally cautious of cheap education courses.
He said his company's call centre staff have been "inundated" with calls from what he assumes are Excom students, but will not have figures until tomorrow.
The failure of Excom has been seen by some in the tech industry that IT jobs cannot be guaranteed with training.
Internode systems engineer Mark Newton said that students should be weary of training courses that bundle job promises.
"I don't think that can be guaranteed in any industry. The right skills is only part of the picture; you need to be able to integrate with a team, to show initiative and have the right personality. These can't be taught in a course," Newton said.
Comments on online telecommunications forum Whirlpool fielded similar criticism, with one comment suggesting Excom had accepted course payments until 4pm yesterday.