The overall aim of the continuing professional development (CPD) programme is to ensure that experienced estate agency practitioners can consistently maintain their knowledge, practical competencies and skills through participation in a variety of relevant learning activities and interventions.
“CPD is an essential component of professional estate agency practice, as it keeps estate agents and principal agents abreast of developments in the industry,” says Meryl Muller, facilitator at EATA and IEASA-Nationally as well as iSiKolo School of Learning.
“It is also mandatory in terms of the Estate Agency Affairs Act (No 112 of 1976). Once all the regulations are finalised, this act will be replaced by the Property Practitioners Act (PPA). However, in terms of the new act, estate agents must still comply with the established CPD requirements.
“The onus is therefore on all professional estate agents to continually increase their professional knowledge, skills and undertake ongoing personal development.”
For each three-year CPD cycle, agents need to earn a total of 60 points - or 20 points a year. Education and training are compulsory (verifiable), whereas the other categories are elective (non-verifiable).
- Education and training include all education and training gained through acquiring the SAQA-accredited qualifications and attending short courses, seminars, conferences and/or workshops - both in-house and external. The focus must be content specific and relevant to property in general and estate agencies in particular. Participation by estate agents as lecturers, facilitators or contributors also counts towards points for this category. Agents need to earn 15 CPD points in this category each year – 45 points over the three-year CPD cycle.
- Professional development is an elective category. It includes activities that contribute to the development of the practitioner in relation to the estate agency and property sectors. A maximum of five points a year is permitted for this category.
- Corporate social investment is also an elective with a maximum of five points a year. Activities relating to this category include those with an internal sector focus undertaken to expand existing and new enterprises within the sector. Activities with an external focus are undertaken to raise public awareness of the property sector or estate agency as a career pathway, a source of wealth and a store of value. Examples of corporate social investment activities include donating funds to charities, opening internal schools for previously disadvantaged students, and taking interns from previously underprivileged sectors into service.
- Mentoring and coaching – another elective category – refers to activities where estate agents assume responsibility for providing guidance and transferring knowledge and skills to individuals who could be intern estate agents or junior employees of the estate agency. Mentoring and coaching could also include supervising further tertiary studies by employees or stakeholders. This category carries a maximum of five CPD points a year.
- Reading and publishing include reading appropriate and relevant estate agency-related articles in magazines, academic journals, industry magazines, books, and credible websites. It also consists of the publishing of articles in the same publications. This elective category also has a maximum of five CPD points a year.
- Personal development relates to activities that develop knowledge and skills that might not be directly associated with CPD commitments. Five CPD points a year are permitted for this elective category.
To achieve the 15 verifiable points a year, agents need to log in to the EAAB website and navigate to the MyCPD page. They then need to complete the verifiable categories online.
For the non-verifiable points, agents need to attend relevant seminars, conferences and other industry events. These could include attorney workshops, IEASA National online talks and courses run by industry professionals offering re-education, such as EATA and PropAcademy.
“Following the CPD guidelines will improve the entire industry. Agents will be more confident in their ability to cope with their responsibilities - from legislative compliance and financial obligations to effective marketing and mentoring of juniors,” says Muller.
“We encourage principals to set aside the necessary time to organise ongoing skills training for everyone in their agency. They also need to encourage their agents to make an effort to keep their skills honed and their industry-knowledge current.”
The entire industry stands to benefit from the overall upgrade in skills.