Sunday, 31 July 2016

Young Libs foul their political nest again


A well-connected young Liberal has set up companies that sell diploma courses and harvest job seekers' data for the scandal-plagued taxpayer-funded vocational education sector.
The Melbourne Grammar graduate, Jake Foster, previously owned a business which was accused of targeting vulnerable students and selling them courses at Australia's largest vocational education network…..
The company responsible for selling job seekers' data, Spot Distributors, is run by 23-year-old Victorian Young Liberal Jake Foster and, until May, was also owned by his best friend and Scotch College alumnus Paul Mitchell.
Mr Mitchell sits on Victorian Liberal Party President Michael Kroger's powerful state administrative committee.
Until last week, job search website jobify.com.au stated in its privacy policy that it was owned by Spot Distributors. The website used information provided voluntarily by job seekers which it then sold to external education brokers. These brokers then used the data to sell diploma courses to would-be students through taxpayer-funded VET FEE-HELP loans.
The practice, known as "lead generation", has sprung up in the wake of the federal government's ban on cold-calling potential students. When Fairfax Media visited the Jobify site several times in July the site contained no contact numbers for employers and had no job links that worked.
A spokesman said the site was undergoing maintenance to ensure compliance with the strictest government requirements. It has since added a "resume writing" portal to its webpage.
"We are satisfied that Jobify meets those requirements and makes it abundantly clear to users that they will experience job & education opportunities as a result of using the site," the spokesman said.
Following Fairfax Media's inquiries, the ownership of the site was changed to LeadOne, a company wholly owned by Mr Foster, who has been photographed by the side of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's recently installed Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O'Dwyer.
A spokesman for Mr Foster and Mr Mitchell said that Spot Distributors had no relationship with the website, and that it had been mistakenly entered as its owner in the privacy policy.
Mr Mitchell said he had never heard of the website until Fairfax Media contacted him. His lawyers said in a letter: "Mr Mitchell has never owned or worked on Jobify as published."…..
Mr Mitchell's co-founding colleague at Monash University's respected 180 Degrees Consulting group (which runs volunteer and work experience programs), Mr Foster, recently set up another job seeker site, Findtherightjob.com.au.
All five "job search," "read more" and "find a job" links on Mr Foster's new site lead to a request for personal data which it then on sells to education brokers.
Mr Foster also owned an education broker business called Go Careers that sells diploma courses on behalf of colleges.
The company was investigated by the Department of Education after concerns were raised by a former employee that it was targeting vulnerable people to sign up to diplomas.
Documents obtained by Fairfax Media show Go Careers call centre operators how to obtain a would-be student's tax file number through their Centrelink profile.
A spokesman for Mr Foster said the company did not target vulnerable students and denied any wrongdoing. He said Go Careers had not traded since February…..
Read the rest of the article here.
Note that the details of this web address registration were altered on 28 July 2016

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