The Guild of Property Professionals is to offer a formal agency qualification as it goes increasingly on the offensive in a bid to become the industry’s leading membership body.
It is offering a Level-Three Estate Agency Qualification at either certificate or diploma level in residential sales and lettings, and property management; it will at first be offered to Guild members only but may then be rolled out across the wider industry.
This will be in addition to The Guild’s existing Associate Training Scheme, which carries the approval of Cambridgeshire Trading Standards.
Offering a formal qualification is something that the membership has been asking for, says a statement from The Guild, which believes the new training will play into the likelihood of formal qualifications being demanded for agents, in accordance with the recommendations of the Regulation of Property Agents (RoPA) working group, which reported in 2019.
“While any mandatory qualifications within the industry are not quite with us yet and are unlikely to be so until Government decide on a response to … the Regulation of Property Agents, I believe people working in the industry want to be recognised for the professional service they offer to consumers and having fully qualified teams will raise standards and enhance consumer confidence” explains Guild compliance officer Paul Offley.
He adds that once launched, the training will be offered to Guild members for free as part of their membership, although they will have to pay for the cost of the actual examination to obtain the qualification.
“The qualification will be accredited at Ofqual Level Three status and will cover residential sales, lettings and property management. Once in place, it will all be delivered using a digital platform and supported via a range of digital learning options to help support learning and development of candidates” he continues.
The qualification will be available to all Guild members and their teams in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland with a potential to offer to the wider industry if sufficient interest is shown.
The training will be led by Offley and The Guild’s head of engagement and development, Jennifer Scott-Reid.
The RoPA working group recommendations say this about agent qualifications which it would like to see after the appointment of an industry regulator: “In the new regime, every property agency should be responsible for ensuring their staff are trained to the appropriate level and clear oversight arrangements are in place for junior staff. To ensure levels of qualification are appropriate yet proportionate, the working group recommend that licensed agents should be qualified to a minimum of level 3 of Ofqual’s Regulated Qualification Framework; company directors and managing agents should be qualified to a minimum of level 4 in most cases.”