The group human resources director of the Leaders Romans Group wants the agency industry to improve its reputation by embracing more apprenticeships.
Hannah Cooper says it’s time for the agency industry to correct the false perception rife amongst the public by initiating apprenticeships, which would emphasise the skills, training and drive required to succeed.
She says the recently-launched government Kickstart scheme is one for the industry to ensure that those interested in the estate agent profession are given a chance to gain the necessary skills and grounding to become a trusted and knowledgeable professional.
The scheme provides funding for employers to create new six-month job placements for people aged 16 to 24.
“Kickstart will deliver the opportunity for our industry to change perceptions from the ground up, positioning the sector as desirable and one in which to ultimately build a valuable career, not just a job” explains Cooper.
“Positioning the housing sector as a desirable sector to both work in and trust during times of uncertainty is a major step the property industry can take to tackle unfair and unwarranted public perception” she continues.
She says that although apprenticeships are typically associated with learning a new skill from scratch - like hairdressing or plumbing - when transferred to the property world, apprenticeships can build local knowledge and sales skills for agents.
“This includes upskilling agents and supporting teams to become knowledgeable, trusted advisors and ensuring they have a deep understanding of the market so they can pass that knowledge on to their peers and customers” suggests Cooper.
She says apprenticeships play a key role at LRG; talented and driven individuals who thrive on the Kickstart scheme and want to pursue a career in the industry will be offered apprenticeships with the group, to continue their training and add value to the company itself, the industry and customers.
And Cooper concludes: “We have seen first-hand how industry apprenticeships can dispel myths and gain the trust of customers and potential job applicants. It is up to the industry as a whole to put the emphasis on skills, qualifications and training, to bring everyone up to the same level so that we can shift any negative perceptions of estate agents. Through embracing this approach, we robustly support the call for more regulation, training and support across the industry.”