New president slams ‘absolutely woeful’ education levels

One of the industry’s most prominent identities has pledged to fight for higher industry standards after assuming the top job at his institute.

Cunninghams managing director John Cunningham has prioritised improving the industry’s professionalism after being elected president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW.

“My agenda in the next two years – and it might be an ambitious one – is to turn us from an industry into a profession,” he told REB.

“I’m going to be very firm on my resolve to increase the education standards of the industry. They’re woeful – absolutely woeful – at the moment, and have been watered down and watered down by successive governments.”

Mr Cunningham said the industry needs to work together to push for higher standards.

According to Mr Cunningham, as things stand, it is easier to qualify as a real estate agent than a barista.

“You can’t be expected to be managing a sale of the consumer’s greatest asset after getting your qualifications off the back of a cornflakes packet,” he said.

“We also run trust accounts with millions and millions of dollars in them. We need highly skilled people to do that, and unfortunately the expectations that our legislation has of us are not matched by the educational requirements.”

Mr Cunningham is joined on the board by the outgoing president, Malcolm Gunning from Gunning Real Estate.

Raine & Horne Terrigal-Avoca Beach general manager Brett Hunter is the deputy president, while Laing & Simmons managing director Leanne Pilkington is the vice-president.

There are also 10 directors, including Gary Adamson from Strata Management Services, Damien Cooley from Cooley Auctions, Christopher Hines from Unrealestate, Barry Johnston from Balmoral Partners and Peter Matthews from Ray White Lower North Shore.

The other directors are Andrew Palmer from The Property Shop Mudgee, Peter Prouzos from LJ Hooker Riverstone, Tony Santolin from Griffith Real Estate, Kylie Walsh from Di Jones Real Estate and Braden Walters from McGrath Estate Agents Newtown.

[Related: REINSW threatens to form political party]

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