Agents get no value from mandatory CPD: NOLA

There is little evidence to show mandatory continuing professional development (CPD) adds value to the real estate industry, according to Barbara El-Gamal, deputy CEO of the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA).

Under the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) into national licensing, mandatory CPD would be removed and replaced with skills maintenance that would be prescribed on a ‘as needs’ basis.

Ms El-Gamal spoke exclusively with Real Estate Business and explained there was no proof that mandatory CPD increased the abilities of agents or that the courses were appropriate or targeted to skills requirements.

“Certainly there’s been evidence that some people have done the same units over and over again because they’re easy to access or the cheapest,” she said.

Rather than requiring agents to complete a certain number of hours or points, there would be a targeted program of skills maintenance, Ms El-Gamal said.  

“What was seen as a better approach ... was to say let’s work with the industry and work out what the identified areas that people need to do some training in at this point in time are.

“If we had new national requirements in relation to how you keep trust accounts or how you conduct auctions you would say everybody this year must do a unit of competence in relation to that, so that we know everybody is now competent in that.”

Ms El-Gamal said under the proposal there was a possibility that real estate agents would not be required to complete any training.  

“It’s about saying from a regulator perspective, 'If you’ve got these skills as part of your eligibility requirements, you’re able to operate and you might want to do some other things yourself, particularly if you’re going to open a business'," she said.

“It’s about attempting to have a light touch regulatory regime, which actually just requires you to do what is required at work, particularly when you have a CPD regime that has not been demonstrated to actually add anything to the profession.”

Ms El-Gamal said until the national licensing reforms were introduced, agents would need to continue doing CPD if their state legislation required it.  

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