Navigating the Voluntary Administration of One of Australia’s Largest Apprentice Employers
Underpaying apprentice wages, reducing demand for labour, increased pricing competition in the building and construction industry, and resultant declining revenue ultimately led to the demise of All Trades Queensland and the appointment of Voluntary Administrators.
Employing 463 apprentices and corporate staff, All Trades Queensland Pty Ltd (“ATQ”) was one of Australia’s largest apprentice training organisations and employers, supplying the construction, automotive, engineering, hospitality, and administrative sectors across Queensland for over 15 years.
ATQ operated two distinct arms: a Registered Training Organisation (“RTO”), providing education and training to students, and a Group Training Organisation (“GTO”) that employed apprentices, trainees and skilled trades people who were supplied to host customers.
Issues Faced by the Business
A combination of declining apprentice numbers, falling revenues and an order by the Federal Court of Australia affirming it had underpaid apprentice wages for four years, put pressure on ATQ’s ability to pay its liabilities as they fell due.
The director sought to renegotiate agreements with major creditors and engaged an external third party to execute a business turnaround and sale campaign in an attempt to raise much needed capital. This however, was ultimately unsuccessful. The outbreak of COVID-19 proved to be the final straw, with the director appointing Joanne Dunn and John Park of FTI Consulting as Voluntary Administrators in July 2020.