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By David Hughes

Programme Development Leader, MOL

OTHER FEATURES

Mandatory qualification legislation - an educator’s view

As residential sales and lettings professionals we are conditioned to adapt to change, it’s the nature of the profession. However, developments in government, and publication of the RoPA Report, could have a significant impact on the careers of all residential sales and lettings agents.

In what seems like a rare event in today’s politics, the RoPA Report received cross party support. With universal backing, the report has the potential to be a game changer for sales and lettings agents.

Although we haven’t had any formal clarification of which recommendations could be adopted, or how they will be implemented, it has been widely accepted throughout the industry that we will most likely be heading towards some form of mandatory qualification legislation.

It’s important to stress that we don’t yet know what this legislation will look like. However, we do know that it could potentially impact tens of thousands of professionals working within sales and lettings.

As someone who educates property professionals, my primary concern is how a shift in the industry will impact all agents and how we can support them in the face of this new challenge.

However, it will come as no surprise that I see mandatory qualification legislation as an overwhelmingly positive opportunity for our industry.

I know it’s a competitive market out there, so the role of us as educators is to make studying as flexible and accessible as we possibly can.

At MOL we see learners at all stages of their careers, we witness first-hand how the Level 3 and 4 qualifications are already instilling an appreciation for high standards and best practice in those who complete our courses.

Like any industry, we want to attract, and hold on to, the brightest and best talent out there. With mandatory qualifications will come a clearer professional development pathway to ensure ambitious talent can achieve their goals within our industry.

Many will be concerned that studying will impinge on the ability of agents to continue to be successful in their role. I can assure you, this does not have to be the case.

We have already gone some way to mitigating this with a flexible provision through our online platforms, a key facet of our offer at MOL.

Those who are only a few years out of college or university generally take well to the courses, they have recent experience of meeting assignment deadlines and studying towards exams. They are also more accustomed to the online study provision that we are now able to offer.

I know that these new methods of learning could be a barrier for some that haven’t been as exposed to similar platforms previously and we need to make sure our education provision is accessible to all.

I personally believe that the support we are able to offer does an excellent job of that already. But it is something that we as an industry must continue to be aware of.

We are confronting one of the most significant junctures in our industry’s long history. Those among us who see this for the opportunity that it is will thrive and those who dither might find themselves playing catch-up.

My recommendation to all responsible agents is to stay on top of developments in this area, research the courses available and ensure you are as prepared as possible for mandatory qualification legislation.

*David Hughes is a property agency educator for MOL with decades of experience in a range of roles across the industry. In 2019 he received the Lifelong Achievement Award at the Propertymark Qualification Awards.

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