As we arrive at the 2020 Christmas/New Year season of this most unusual year, we usually start lamenting about “where has the year gone” and it seems like only yesterday that it was Easter. BUT NOT THIS YEAR. It actually feels like it’s been 5 years since March when the world went mad with the onset of COVID-19.
The first couple of months of this year for the property industry in NSW meant a mad scramble to the line of 23rd March 2020 and agents attempting to get their licensing needs in order prior to the commencement of the new reforms to legislation, both from a regulatory perspective with new licensing structures and requirements, and from a residential property management perspective. For us here at ACOP this meant supporting many, many students through the training and assessment pathways to achieve their goals in real estate, stock & station, strata management, business broking, and on-site management. AND THEN…. on Monday 23rd March, we, along with almost every other business in Australia started exploring the options of remote workspaces and online options for doing business.
With the changes to legislation, we have investigated the best options for inclusion of the new legislation into daily agency practices here in the NSW property industry. These amendments, combined with the amendments relating to COVID-19 requirements in both residential and commercial property management and the changed practices of conducting open homes and auctions, has meant that we have all learnt a stack of new skills.
We have seen changes to how CPD is offered this year, which has caused confusion for many agents. Simply – if you’re licensed, then it’s 6 hours of CPD this year. If you’re not licensed and hold a Certificate of Registration, you need to complete 3 Units of Competency towards your licence qualification. Just call us and we’ll put on the right pathway. So many CPD sessions have been conducted since March, with many of them via interactive webinars. Whilst we’ve always conducted webinars at ACOP, it is now such a huge part of doing business, that they are a daily occurrence, not only for training but for meetings. I think the saying of 2020 is definitely “you’re on mute”. And who doesn’t love a good background. The later part of the year with the lessening of COVID restrictions, has meant that we have been able to take to the road and conduct training sessions for licensing, certificates and CPD throughout our regional and outer metropolitan areas. The ACOP trainers are so happy to be back in front of students and assisting with their training and compliance needs. Fingers crossed that this will continue (and increase) in 2021.
ACOP turned 17 on 30th November 2020 and as we have done in previous years, we had a month of celebrations in November where our students received the gifts, with over $10,000 in Visa Gift Cards awarded to students participating in our November training activities and a week of 10% discounts for all enrolments.
And it’s a wrap for 2020. It’s our last fortnightly College Chronicle for the year so I thought a summary of the major topics that we have covered this year would be a great idea – just to show how much ground we have crossed. Remember that all past editions of the Chronicle are available on our website. In 2020, our topics have included:
We have focused heavily this year in training on compliance requirements and how to best cope in a changing environment. We truly believe that if agents implement the ethos of these legislatively required rules, that our industry will be a better and way more professional playing field. This is certainly the underpinning philosophy for why we do what we do here at ACOP.
As with previous years (in fact this is our twelfth year), ACOP was one of the few Registered Training Organisations that were granted the ability to offer government funding in the property, finance and management sectors – meaning that we continue to be closely monitored by Training Services NSW to ensure that our high standards of training are continuously met. With funding available for fee-free traineeships from 1st January, subsidised training for experienced workers, and half fees to people aged between 45 and 70 – it is an exciting time to be operating in the training arena – so bring on 2021 is all we can say.
There have been comings and going at ACOP during 2020. We said sad farewells to Jaymi and Elise from our Admin team. Jaymi returned to full-time study and working in a school for kids with special needs, and Elise is busy “brewing” the next generation for her family. We welcomed the energetic, friendly and talented Ryan to the team in February, just as we were going crazy with Reform changes and then the onset of COVID – what a time to start a new job. We have also welcomed a couple of new part-timers, Tilly and Sarah, who are uni students, and have morphed this month into full-timers for the university holiday period. We have also welcome Briellyn who has just completed the HSC and is with us full-time until she too commences university next March and returns to part-time ACOP’er and full-time Uni student. The ACOP team continues to evolve and grow no matter what the world throws at us.
At this time of the year, many of us are focusing on the good times ahead with our family and loved ones – planning our gathering and copious amounts of food that we will consume. This year’s ACOP Christmas celebrations with current and past team members, was held at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant, and even with social distancing requirements, we had a fantastic night with fabulous drinks and amazing food. As you plan your work and family celebration, remember to be mindful and ensure the safety of yourself and your friends as they travel to and from the celebrations, particularly if they are enjoying a few drinks at the parties.
We have had many celebrations this year at the College, with a wedding of our Training Manager Megan in November (small COVID wedding of course), and the announcement of a pending birth of an ACOP baby to our Training Administrator Elise and her partner Sone. We also had a new baby enter our ACOP family with the birth of little Stevie Carpen (daughter to our trainer Jane Morgan from End of Month Angels). We have also had staff members who have lost family members, which has caused our team to grieve with our colleagues. Through the good and bad of people’s personal lives, the team supports each other which makes me a very proud business owner.
It is now December and this means that it is time to reflect on the year that has been. Every day we hear the news, read the papers, and on the internet – the bad things that are happening in our world. We have seen negative changes to people’s behaviour, negative effects on people’s mental health, and negative effects on how people communicate with others. When talking to other businesses in all industries, there seems to have been an increase in people’s stress….and why wouldn’t there have been, with what we have all been confronted with this past year. So now it’s Christmas and time when we should be reflecting on what has happened in our lives during the year, and plan to make our lives, and the lives of those we can influence, a better place. We need to be grateful for the good in our lives, be that small or large. So please be kind to yourself and to others. We all need it so much this year more than ever.
As I always state in my final newsletter of the year, this is a time for reflection – both from a business and a personal perspective. We need to remember those in our community who need a little extra support at this time of the year. ACOP continues to actively support the Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter (through my position as Board Chair) and have now commenced supporting the Camden Women’s Shelter, as our team member Kristine has been elected to the Board for the planning and impending opening of this new Shelter in Sydney’s south-west. ACOP also strongly supports the Cambodian Children’s Fund and the team enjoy their participation in the planning for major fundraising events and assisting in the work that is done through these organisations. Sadly these fundraisers have all been put on hold this year, and other activities have taken over in order to raise much needed funds for these charities. Closer to home, we have the people who have lost their livelihoods through retrenchments and downsizing of businesses due to COVID and the rollercoaster of our economy this past year. Let’s spare them thoughts, and support (financial, physical and emotional) wherever and whenever we can – it will make everyone’s Christmas so much better.
ACOP will close its doors and telephone lines at 3.00pm on Friday 18th December and reopen on Monday 4th January at 8.30am. Naturally, you will still be able to login online and enrol and complete CPD training if required. Any of your questions will be addressed as soon as we are back at our desks on the 4th.
On behalf of John and myself and all of the magnificent ACOP team, we send our warm festive regards and wish you a truly happy Christmas and a safe, healthy and prosperous 2021 – which hopefully will be a year with less social distancing requirements and the world becoming more able to cope with this pandemic. This new era of “online everything” gives us the opportunity to take time to be grateful for all that is good and plan to make a fresh start with fabulous new ideas for the start of the brave new world of 2021.
Don’t forget to leave out the beer and cookies for Santa and a carrot or two for the reindeer. Stay safe and happy. We are looking forward to seeing you all in the new year.