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ASQA to audit real estate training for standards compliance

The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) will monitor the performance and conduct audits of registered training organisations (RTOs) across the country, following reports standards in three real estate qualifications are not being met. 

The qualifications include CPP41419: Certificate IV in Real Estate Practice, CPP51122: Diploma of Property (Agency Management) and CPP40521: Certificate IV in Strata Community Management.

It is possible non complying RTOs could have their registration cancelled if earlier remedies do not work.

A spokesperson for ASQA said the aim of the compliance measures were aimed at maintaining the integrity of the qualifications.

“ASQA is acting on feedback from industry and regulators, which raised concerns that graduates from RTOs across Australia in three real estate qualifications are not being properly enrolled, trained and assessed, or given sufficient information of their legal and licensing requirements prior to applying to the relevant state or territory licensing authority to become a licensed real estate agent,” and ASQA spokesperson said.

“Where vocational education and training standards are not met, qualifications may be issued to students who do not possess the appropriate skills and competencies needed to meet licensing requirements and take up jobs. 

“This undermines outcomes for individual students and erodes confidence in the quality of vocational education and training and the industry as a whole.”

ASQA said it was working with the real estate industry and responding with a “range of regulatory activities”, including clear guidance, so RTOs understand what’s needed to comply with the expected standards, as well as targeted auditing and monitoring of RTOs.

“This will hold RTOs accountable for meeting their obligations and ensure students, industry, governments and the community can have confidence in the integrity of the qualifications issued by the training provider,” the spokesperson said.

If ASQA finds an RTO is not meeting legislative requirements or standards, it responds to non compliance in a proportionate way using an escalating range of regulatory tools to enforce compliance or cancel registration.

NSW Property Services Commissioner John Minns said RTOs that did not meet the required standards undermined confidence in the real estate sector and ASQA monitoring the situation was a positive move.

“There have been concerns from the leading training businesses around Australia, particularly leading RTOs, and leaders in industry everywhere that the quality of training content and assessment is very variable,” he said.

“And there is a significant section of the RTO market appearing to be in a race to the bottom, with the quickest, cheapest qualifications they can do to get you out the door in a couple of months with a diploma, regardless of the risk to the business or the consumers the business is dealing with.”

Mr Minns said in NSW, as part of project Elevate, discussions had taken place with many training providers that the quality of training was of concern.

He said it undermined the ability of good training providers to be competitive in the market as well as undermining confidence in the sector.

“And when we keep getting ethics surveys saying real estate agents are the least trusted, and you then turn around and say, ‘Well I can reach into my Corn Flakes packet and find myself a certificate that lets me run a trust account,’ that doesn’t actually improve things,” Mr Minns said.

“My office, along with the commissioner for fair trading and leaders within the sector said, ‘Let’s go to ASQA’ and ‘let’s gather what evidence we can of some of these practices and let’s meet with them and explain what our concerns are’.

“As a result of those conversations, they agreed that there were concerns and, within the resources that they have, they are prepared to go and have a much closer look at what’s going on.”

Mr Minns said the aim of the training itself and the monitoring of that training and its quality was to make the real estate industry, its practitioners and the service it offers, better.

“The industry itself wants to improve,” he said.

“People who are leading major brands and industry associations aren’t saying, ‘We want to be less capable real estate agents in two year’s time’, they are saying, ‘We need to respond to a rapidly changing market, rapidly changing consumer expectations and we need to be able to do more, we need to be able to remain current and we need to be able to add value because that’s the only way we’ve got a sustainable future business model.” 

For more information see the ASQA website here.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.