IEA, Western Cape - A succesful year

2010 will go down in the history of the Western Cape branch of the Institute of Estate Agents of South Africa as the year in which training and education assumed a far greater importance in the affairs of the Institute - and the first big successes began to be achieved in this field.

This was said recently by Sandy Walsh, head of the Western Cape IEASA’s training division.

“At the start of this year,’ said Walsh, ‘our goal was to increase skills training to develop greater competency and to uplift the professionalism of Institute members.

“It became clear, however, that the requirements of the Estate Agency Affairs Board and Services SETA to ensure that every agent become qualified at a level never before seen in South Africa, needed to become our focus. We have therefore concentrated on helping our members tackle the relevant National Qualification for real estate at NQF level 4 and level 5. This is an infinitely achievable qualification for all agents and principals but requires good time management, focus and at least one hour of work each day for the few months.”

Experienced agents undertaking this qualification can significantly reduce the time and effort in achieving this through recognition of prior learning (RPL), a process which enables them to achieve credit for previous qualifications and certificates and short circuits the full training required for new entrants into the real estate profession.

The NQF4 and NQF5 qualifications, said Walsh, had led to the Institute’s forming relations with several training providers for the benefit of its members, who can register directly with the Institute. Before the end of this year, said Walsh, over 50 of our members will have enrolled for RPL and we anticipate the demand increasing considerably in 2011 to meet the EAAB deadline for enrolment by late next year.

“Although this high level qualification effort had to take priority,” said Walsh, “we were pleased to discover that agents were receptive to the specialist workshops provided they were not too highly priced. We have introduced workshops and seminars on different subjects like credit decisions, providing criteria and examples of the how decisions are taken by financial institutions to equip agents with information to pass on to their buyers. The Consumer Protection Act will impact enormously on agents next year and clarity and understanding has been provided at our seminars. Next year we will focus on preparatory courses for the long awaited Professional Designation Examination from the EAAB, which replaces the old Board exam.”

“This is training on a scale never before seen at the Western Cape or nationally,” she said.

In 2011, said Walsh, the Institute will introduce more workshops such as Property Power Hours in which agents will be shown how to generate referral income and introduce alternatives that they can offer their clients to make purchasing or selling easier in the current market.

Much of the success of the Institute can be attributed to its contributors and sponsors, added Walsh, which has prompted us to introduce a Marketing Plan for our sponsors to select the level of support they wish to make in return for different platforms of exposure and leverage through the Institute’s functions and dissemination of information.

“Our main objective is to represent the interests and rights of our members and to increase our membership. A further 250 members will take us to 2,000, which would enhance our claim that we are truly representative of the estate agency sector in the Western Cape. This is essential if we are to be effective as we should be in high level negotiations.”

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