According to SEEK's chief executive, Andrew Bassat, the changes will prohibit SEEK Learning from operating as it qualifies as an education broker. The wide-ranging new regulations include a major crackdown on private colleges that receive taxpayer-funded grants as well as significant caps on student loans.
Mr Bassat told SEEK's annual general meeting that the company will adopt a 'people first' strategy in looking after staff, by offering alternative roles and generous redundancy packages. The redundancy program will cost SEEK $8 million.
Fairfax Media has reported opposition among SEEK's staff to what the company is offering, with some employees who had been in sales roles reluctant to change to a service role.
Bassat also revealed that SEEK will launch a new education business in 2017 that will provide "independent education and career insights". This new platform will reportedly operate in a similar way to travel site TripAdvisor and will offer a phone service providing free advice regarding careers, courses and job seeking. This business is expected to incur losses of $6 million in 2016/17.
Meanwhile, Bassat has shot down speculation that SEEK could sell its Chinese job search site Zhaopin, telling Fairfax, "Absolutely not. We see China as potentially a much larger market than Australia."
Despite the closure of SEEK Learning, the company expects to post an annual net profit of $215-$220 million over 2015/16, before deductions of $25 million for investment in start-ups and $16 million in one-off costs, including the current redundancy program.
The government's impending regulatory changes for the vocational education and training sector are forcing SEEK to close its education business, with a brand new business set to take its place next year. The winding up of SEEK Learning will result in job losses and erase $24 million from the company's net profit this financial year.