Path to real estate career will start in classroom

By Elizabeth Binning

Cartoon / Rod Emmerson
Cartoon / Rod Emmerson

Children will soon be able to study real estate at high school in a move to entice more young people into the industry.

Real ITO, the sector's industry training organisation, is working with the Real Estate Institute on level 2 and 3 qualifications for secondary school students, which it hopes will be available from late next year.

The aim is to offer students unit standards which will result in them getting a national qualification in property. Details are yet to be finalised.

The qualification is intended as a stepping stone and will not be enough to let teenagers start selling homes.

Real ITO chief executive Lesley Southwick says more than 17,000 people are licensed to work in real estate offices around the country.

"But virtually all of these people entered as adults from a previous job," she said.

"Our intention is to make sure a career in real estate can be viewed in the same way as a career in finance or any other specialist skills career."

There was also a high turnover of employees each year.

"Offering very early qualifications, and opportunities to advance these studies, will encourage more people into long-term careers and create a more committed, less transient workforce."

Real ITO spokeswoman Victoria McArthur said there was now no career path into the property industry.

"We think there are a lot of life-skill topics we could put into that property qualification, such as budgeting, buying or renting your first house, what to expect from your landlord or how to be a good tenant - all those things we could introduce at that level."

The unit standards would not be enough for high school students to become licensed real estate agents, but would hopefully create an interest.

"From there they may have an interest in property and choose to go on to do a property degree at university or go into working in property management or an administration position and then carry into a level 4 qualification later on. It's creating a career path."

She said the current law did not allow people to sell property until they were 18, and they must have a level 4 national certificate as a salesperson in real estate.

Barfoot & Thompson managing director Peter Thompson has mixed views about the real estate studies.

"Not every young person that gets in is going to be a successful salesperson because they may not have even experienced the purchasing or selling of a property themselves.

"But then some of the younger people are more dedicated, hard workers and it's a good opportunity to make some income."

Mr Thompson warned that young people should not enter the profession solely because they saw it as an easy way to make money.

"Times are tough at the moment. The average income is a lot less than a lot of people think and to even get that income you have got to be working 24 hours, seven days a week.

"If they are thinking they are going to get in and make a lot of money easily, that's the wrong reason."

The Qualifications Authority's deputy chief executive of quality assurance, Tim Fowler, said the authority had not been advised of the new qualification, which would have to be quality assured and aligned to the industry training strategy.

- NZ Herald

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