As we arrive at the Christmas/New Year season of a super busy and yet another unusual year, we usually start lamenting about “where has the year gone” and it seems like only yesterday that it was Easter. This year seems like it has taken forever to get to December. We are all so keen for life to get back to normal, that everyone seems to be working harder, playing harder and our property market has seen so many changes – many agents and their clients have little idea of what the now and the future holds.
Just like last year, the first couple of months of this year for the property industry in NSW meant a mad scramble to the deadline of 23rd March and agents attempting to get their CPD requirements completed and Assistant Agents working towards completing their modules for their licensing needs. 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 and strata management. And then a little breather in April, and our wonderful students started with their CPD and licensing training for the new year again. At least the year did not bring anymore lockdowns and working from home arrangements.
ACOP Assessors conducted many Compliance Checks throughout the year and assisted agencies to meet their supervision and compliance requirements in terms of having tailored Supervision Guidelines and Policy & Procedures documents. What we have found mostly throughout agencies, is that most agents WANT to be compliant, but just need a little support to get there. They are so focused on running their business, that some of the finer compliance details tend to get left behind. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with these agents and their teams in supporting them to see that compliance is part of being successful in their daily practices and providing high quality services to their customers.
The changes for CPD are now in their third year, and unfortunately is still causing confusion for some agents. Simply – if you’re a Class 2 licensed agent, then it’s 6 hours of CPD this year (3 hours of Compulsory topics set by Fair Trading plus 3 hours of elective topics). Then, if you’re a Class 1 licensed agent, then it’s 9 hours of CPD every year (3 hours of Compulsory topics, plus 3 hours of elective topics, plus an additional 3 hours relating to business skills). An added requirement this year has been that if you hold both a real estate and a strata management licence, then you need to complete some additional compulsory topics (usually just an additional one hour of training). 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 this year, we have offered a combination of online, interactive webinars and face-to-face sessions for CPD training. Many agents got used to the webinar offering during the Covid lockdowns and have chosen to continue on this path. It’s kind of like face-to-face sessions (but without the coffee and cake provided by us). You still get to talk with your trainer and interact with the other students. Technology is a wonderful thing.
Upon review of the year, I feel that we haven’t been told so much what to do on a daily basis (in comparison with 2021 anyway). However, this has brought problems of it’s own – in that some people are now finding it difficult to actually make a decision, which means that for agents, you need to work harder than ever before in assisting your clients through the property maze of sales and property management. It has been a huge task for every workplace – not just in the property industry – that we need to reconnect with our colleagues, listen and contribute to our workplaces. If we are to work towards good mental health, then let’s take it on an industry, in terms of supporting all those around us to connect with all aspects of our industry. This is more easily said than done, and it’s going to take time, energy, conscious effort and reliance upon each other – to return to working successfully with our team mates.
ACOP turned 19 on 30th November 2022 and as we have done in previous years, we had a month of celebrations in November where our students received the gifts, with over $3,000 in Visa Gift Cards, refunds of enrolment fees and massive 19% discounts on our actual birthday. And who doesn’t love a good excuse for a cake – and we must say, we had quite a few this past year (possibly to make up for the ones we missed when we were in lockdown in 2020 and 2021).
And it’s a wrap for 2022. 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 2022, 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 better and create a 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 fourteenth 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 for those students who sign-up with approved providers such as ACOP, 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 2022 is all we can say.
About a year ago, ACOP was recognised by the NSW Department of Education as a “high performing provider”, which is a testament to the quality of training and service provision that we offer. It also means that ACOP has access to increased levels of funding and to specialised government subsidised products and training programs.
There have been comings and going at ACOP this year. We said sad farewells to Ryan as he went to travel and explore the world and to Tilly who has completed her university studies and went in search of new adventures in the marketing and media world. Our new mums from 2021, Megan and Rachelle are both back working, albeit from home, but we do get to see the babies (which is obviously the important part) when we have our team meetings – thank goodness for cameras. We also have quite a few new team members expanding the student support team – we now have Alexa and Olivia until she starts at university next year – both who have slotted into the ACOP culture as if they’ve been here forever. Wonderful news a few months ago from Abi, one of our student support team members, as she became engaged – so now we all get to experience the joys (mostly) of organising a wedding.
At this time of the year, many of us are focusing on the good times ahead with our family and loved ones – and the joy of planning gatherings and the copious amounts of food that we will consume. This year’s ACOP Christmas celebrations with current and past team members, was held in mid November at a restaurant at Circular Quay with beautiful views and magnificent food and even better company. It was a wonderful night to celebrate the year that has been. We had our celebrations early, as one of our team, Chanelle was booked in for spinal surgery in late November – and it wouldn’t be an ACOP celebration without Chanelle leading the charge on all things fun. Chanelle is now recuperating at home and we can’t wait for her return to the office in the new year.
As you plan your work and family celebrations, 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 staff members passing exams, engagements and naturally the many birthdays throughout the year. 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 levels. 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.
My loyal partner in business and life, John has organised for the two of us to travel to Cambodia this Christmas and spend time with our friends at the Cambodian Children’s Fund – a charity that we have been involved with and supported for the past 8 years. We can’t wait to see all the children and the programs that are running for their education and enrichment. It will be a very different Christmas day for us this year – but we are super excited.
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 is a Board member for the 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. Let’s spare everyone around us some extra thought and care this Christmas and New Year 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 16th December and reopen on Tuesday 3rd January at 8.30am. Naturally, you will still be able to login online and enrol and complete CPD training and licensing modules if required. Any of your questions will be addressed as soon as we are back at our desks on the 3rd.
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 2023. Let’s take the opportunity 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 era of 2023.
Don’t forget to leave out the beer and cookies for Santa and a carrot or two for the reindeer (and perhaps raise a glass of your preferred beverage – be it champagne or Coke No Sugar – to those you love and hold close to your hearts and to those who are no longer with us). Stay safe and happy. We are looking forward to seeing you all in the new year.