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Loss of bursaries angers agents

While welcoming the news that the Services Seta and the Estate Agency Affairs Board are settling their differences, the Institute of Estate Agents (IEASA) is deeply concerned that the bursary scheme for agents wishing to obtain the new industry qualifications is still on hold.
 
The SSETA announced last month that it had decided to suspend its bursary programme for agents working towards their RPL, as well as the NQF4 and NQF5 qualifications pending the outcome of dispute negotiations between itself and the EAAB.
 
However, notes IEASA national president Dr Willie Marais, while that dispute has now been resolved, the bursary scheme has not been revived and will, according to a joint announcement by the SSETA and the EAAB, remain suspended until its effectiveness to date has been “fully evaluated”.
 
“In short, there is currently no financial help available for existing agents who need training to obtain the new qualifications – which they are required by law to have before the end of 2011 - and many of the agents who are ready to undertake this training are now in limbo.”
 
Marais is quick to point out that the organised real estate industry fully supports the Department of Trade and Industry’s new education and training requirements for agents, which will result in higher standards of service to property consumers. “Unfortunately the regulations were promulgated at least a year too soon, as the preparatory work was not in place then, and is still not complete for the NQF5 and NQF7 qualification levels.
 
“And there is no doubt that these requirements place a financial burden on agents - which is particularly onerous in the current economic climate. Indeed, the total training bill for just for those agents currently registered with the board is estimated at about R400m.
 
“In the light of this, we believe the bursary scheme should be re-instated without delay – and funded as before by the employee skills development levies that the real estate industry itself is still paying.”
 
He warns that anger is mounting among agents at the “impossible position” in which they now find themselves - and notes that the real estate industry is now organised in such a way through IEASA that agents can legally take mass action against anyone who threatens the normal working of the industry, by way of the structures set up for organised labour and business.
 
Issued by the
Institute of Estate Agents of SA


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