Eyes wide open: What to look for in a professional RTO

by Dennis Mackenzie - Property Training Australia 15th March, 2019

Eyes wide open: What to look for in a professional RTO

The strata and property management sectors are widely acknowledged as one of the fastest growing industries in Australia with an insured value in excess of $1-trillion covering 2.6 million lots and accommodating more than 2.2million people, and having commenced on the Gold Coast, the majority of the industry is now located along the narrow eastern seaboard.


Conceptualised and developed in south east Queensland, the industry that offers operators flexibility and a sound business with an above average return on investment and an opportunity to grow through rentals and sales irrespective of size or location, continues to flourish.


But with burgeoning development comes the need for greater governance, and there are several moves afoot to review and reform accreditation and licensing requirements to ensure that all aspects of the industry are adequately covered and stakeholders protected.


While those considering, or becoming engaged in management rights have traditionally fallen within the ‘Resident Letting Agents’ (RLA) license, or gone on to obtain their full real estate agents license, it is looking likely that in the near future the industry will see the introduction of more stringent licensing requirements and possibly even a mandatory ‘professional development’ point system to ensure continued education.


So, with this on the horizon, one needs to be prepared: what courses should you be doing, and what do you look for when choosing a training provider?


Obviously, reputable comes first. When looking for a registered training organisation (RTO), ensure that they have their own RTO number. If they claim to be operating under a third parties RTO, be concerned; why are the people doing the actual training not an RTO?


There are a number of other things to take into consideration too: what courses are being offered, what format do they take, what’s the duration and cost, how large are the classes, how experienced are the trainers and most importantly, do they meet the regulatory and compliance requirements?


With regard to compliance, every RTO is under strict guidelines to ensure compliance of all students and they are subject to regular audits to ensure they are delivering what they are required to. The last thing any student would want is to have to repeat a course because they were deemed competent but the training organisation was later found by the government regulator to have not delivered all the required information. 


Remember, the only people who can issue licenses are the government; the Office of Fair Trading. An accredited RTO will only provide a statement of attainment on successful completion of the course, so pay close attention to what is on offer.

In Queensland there are 19 units to complete to become a competent licensed real estate agent and one of these units involves attending an auction, it is not something that can be compressed or rushed through without losing vital information. Even an RLA covers a minimum of six units of competency that takes at least four full days in class or up to three months online.


In some instances, training can be customised, so how do you prefer to learn? Ask about location, timing and class size. There are obvious advantages to training in smaller groups, including invaluable 1:1 time with trainers on site and access to follow-up support and guidance during the initial handover period.


Be aware too, that often price is a good indicator of quality. The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ is relevant. Remember, you’re paying for education, competency and industry knowledge; these things should be the priority, not trying to save a few dollars.


If you find a full real estate course advertised cheaply, don’t think bargain, ask yourself what’s wrong with it as there may well be additional costs that are not disclosed on enrolment.


Make sure you read the fine print, and all the terms and conditions – some RTOs charge fees for late assessments or if there are changes to a booked course.


If you’re serious about a business in the accommodation sector, you want to ensure that you are as knowledgeable as possible when you leave class. It is a complex industry with much to absorb and understand – particularly with regard to legislation, and in addition to the theory it’s good to know that your trainers have personal experience in the field – preferably a lot of it – and can advise on the types of scenarios that happen ‘on-the-job’.


So, take the time to research your training provider as well: what experience do they have in the sector – either as a former onsite manager or agent, how many years has the RTO been in business and how have their audits been, what is their industry reputation with regard to standards in excellence, and can they provide testimonials or references of former clients?


Property Training Australia (PTA), formerly Property Training Queensland, is a family-operated organisation that has been training real estate agents and property managers throughout Queensland since 2003. CEO, Dennis Mackenzie started in management rights in 1990, and has gone on to develop a reputable and reliable training facility through which to share his, and others like him, years of experience and knowledge. The combined number of which is a remarkable 38 years.


PTA works exclusively with some of the biggest names in Australian real estate and property management including the Mantra Group (now Accor) and Wyndham Group throughout Queensland and have affiliations with all industry leaders.



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