Almost two thirds of industry professionals that responded to a recent poll believed continuing professional development (CPD) should be part of a national licence for agents.
According to the latest Real Estate Business straw poll, 64.6 per cent of respondents agreed that CPD should be included in any national licencing system, while 32.1 per cent disagreed. Only 3.3 per cent of the 336 total voters remained undecided.
The issue has come to the fore following the release earlier this month of draft national licensing rules for agents, which showed the Council of Australian Government's (COAG's) preference was for CPD to be excluded from the new licence regime. The new national licensing scheme is due to come into effect on July 1, 2013.
Speaking with Real Estate Business, Anne Forsyth from Duffy Forsyth and Co. in Melbourne, believed CPD has become a basic part of many Australian industries.
“I think CPD has become an accepted policy across a lot of professions," she said.
“Of course, it depends on the quality of CPD programs. Until recently the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) would only allocate CPD points to programs they ran. But I found that to be inappropriate because it’s the level of knowledge you acquire, not where you acquire that knowledge from.”
George Rousos, director at NSW-based Industry Training Consultants, told Real Estate Business earlier this month that CPD training is occasionally “not of a high standard”.
“Although, others have said the training delivered by some providers was very good and beneficial,” he said. “Overall, CPD needs to stay, making it necessary for practitioners to keep up-to-date with the constant changes happening in the industry, among other things, business skills, new editions of codes, amended legislation, evolving industry practice and heightened consumer expectations,” he said.
However, public perception of education in the industry also needs to improve, with Ms Forsyth suggesting agents being forced into full licences.
“To improve education, skills and public perception I believe we need to put a limit on how long someone can stay on an agents' representative licence before moving on to a full licence.”
“You can practise real estate until you retire on an entry level qualification. It’s basically an open ended apprenticeship. If we want to be regarded as a professional industry, people should be forced to get a full licence.”