Boosting the professionalism of real estate professionals

Singapore’s second largest union launched SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter and partners industry players to enhance the competencies of real estate professionals 

The Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union (SISEU) officially launched the SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter to reach out to 32,000 real estate professionals in Singapore. In conjunction with the launch, four training bundles comprising three core continuing professional development (CPD) courses each have been identified to address the different training needs of the real estate professionals in the real estate agency industry as part of the pilot training pathway to deepen their expertise in a planned and progressive manner.

With a $20,000 pilot funding support from the National Trades Union Congress’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), the four training bundles offered by SAEA Ltd, one of the key industry bodies for real estate agents and salespersons, will benefit up to 200 potential entrants and real estate professionals.

Mandatory Continuing Professional Development

Under the regulatory regime of the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), all real estate salespersons are required under the Estate Agents (Estate Agency Work) Regulations 2010 to undertake mandatory CPD programmes and fulfill a minimum of 6 CPD credit hours before they can renew their salesperson’s registration on an annual basis. As part of the structured CPD framework introduced by CEA in April 2011, at least half of the stipulated CPD credit hours must be on core competency courses such as Estate Agents Act and Regulations, latest changes to government regulations, professional ethics and policies and procedures pertaining to property transactions, to ensure that the salespersons are knowledgeable and provide accurate and sound advice to their clients. The real estate professionals may also fulfill the balance CPD credit hours with non-core subjects such as marketing skills, business management and interpersonal skills which serve to enhance their skills competencies.

To date, CEA has approved close to 300 core CPD courses offered by various training providers. To guide the salespersons and enable them to acquire the necessary professional knowledge in a more effective manner, four pilot CPD training bundles were jointly developed by SISEU and SAEA, in consultation with CEA and supported by e2i to cater to the needs of different groups of real estate salespersons. (Refer to Annex A for information on the CPD bundles). Following this pilot funding, a comprehensive training pathway will be developed to include the learning needs of the more experienced salespersons as well as those who hold management positions.

“For real estate salespersons, good knowledge, ethics and professional service are key traits they should have in their conduct of estate agency work. To build knowledge and develop professionalism, training is an important aspect,” shared Mr Chan Mun Kit, Director (Regulatory Control) of CEA.

He added, “CEA launched the CPD scheme in April 2011 to ensure that salespersons keep up-to-date on the latest guidelines and regulations governing estate agency work and also learn how to conduct their work in a professional and ethical manner.”

“The industry associations, such as SAEA, have contributed to the process by providing quality training courses under the CPD scheme. In total, there are now about 300 CPD programmes on core topics available to the industry. CEA welcomes the opportunity to work with new partners such as SISEU, and together with the industry associations, to roll out a greater variety and depth of CPD programmes and structure them under a training framework which will provide progressive training to the real estate professionals. The core CPD bundle initiative is a good move towards this direction.”

“There is a myriad of CPD programmes in the market, and some are similar or have overlapping areas. There is a pressing need for not just variety of content but also depth of coverage to cater to the wide range of real estate professionals. With this structured CPD bundle approach, real estate professionals will be able to attend courses based on their learning needs, upgrade their skills and deepen their competencies in a systematic manner,” shared Mr Tay Kah Poh, Chairman of SAEA.

Subsidised Continuous Professional Development

Up to 200 real estate professionals who attend the bundled CPD courses will receive 50% course fees subsidy under a pilot funding programme from e2i. Additional 50% subsidy on unfunded fees will be provided to union members.

"With the SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter, the union is now better able to reach out to real estate professionals and collaborate with industry partners to further uplift the professional standards of the industry. Continuing professional development is one key area of focus,” said Mr Tan Peng Heng, President of SISEU. He continued, “We want to excite and attract real estate professionals to undertake a structured professional development journey. Besides course fees subsidy from e2i, union members will receive an additional 50% subsidy on unfunded course fees from the Union Training Assistance Programme (UTAP*). This additional subsidy is to encourage more union members to go for skills upgrading by helping to defray their training expenses.”

Mr Gilbert Tan, Acting CEO of e2i, said, “e2i is pleased to pilot the four bundled CPD courses together with SAEA and SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter. This is the first step towards developing a structured training framework for the industry and it encourages the professionals to take charge of their own professional development.”

SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter

The SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter was officially launched on 4 March 2013 by the Guest of Honour, Mr Lim Swee Say, Secretary-General of NTUC; Mr Tan Peng Heng, President of SISEU; Mr Chan Mun Kit, Director (Regulatory Control) of CEA; Mr Tay Kah Poh, Chairman of SAEA; and Mr Gilbert Tan, Acting Chief Executive Officer of e2i. The launch event was attended by 160 real estate professionals, industry players, regulator, stakeholders, as well as partners of SISEU and SAEA.

Moving forward, SISEU Real Estate Professionals’ Chapter will expand its outreach to the real estate agency industry by forging new strategic partnerships with industry players, and actively reach out to the individual professionals. It will organise a slew of PD programmes for its members such as industry conferences, seminars and workshops, networking events, and more. SISEU will work with key industry players, stakeholders and regulator to develop an industry training roadmap. Last but not least, the chapter will also look at working with relevant partners to provide affordable coverage to real estate professionals in key areas of need such as medical, insurance and professional indemnity.

*UTAP funds up to $250 per union member per year.