Indoctrination As Work Experience

Pigs At The TroughWe continue our expose of the REIV’s use of the media and political lobbying strategies to prevent changes to real estate licensing laws.

(For a detailed examination of corruption through political lobbying see Pigs at the Trough(Crown Publishers, NY, 2003) by Arianna Huffingtons.)

Indoctrination As Work Experience

The major impediment to competition in the real estate industry is the requirement for a would-be licence holder to work as the employee of an estate agent for a period of 1 year.

No professional with skills, experience and qualifications exceeding those of the average estate agent would be prepared to commit to 12 months as an employee estate agent. Similarly, no estate agent would knowingly employ a lawyer or accountant who was simply fulfilling this silly requirement.

It is crucial that this unnecessary impediment to competition be removed.

To become a the holder of an estate agent’s licence, an unqualified person must undergo a basic course in real estate practice, followed by practical experience as an employee of an estate agent. Presumably, the purpose of the practical experience is to give the unqualified person some “on the job” training in order to apply their formal training.

However, it is a well-known problem in any situation where formal training is supplemented by practical experience that there occurs a degree of “detraining”. A good example is the situation where a recently graduated police recruit is told by the experienced street cop, “Forget what they taught you in the Police Academy, we’ll teach you how it’s done in the real world.”

Thus, what appears to be further training becomes, in reality, a form of indoctrination and conditioning. The new recruit is taught to abandon the rules and values taught in formal training, and to adopt the norms and values of the street.

In my opinion, the demand by the real estate industry that the work-experience component of the estate agent licensing regime should be applied to qualified lawyers and accountants has more to do with the deterring or indoctrination of new-comers than with the development or maintenance of proper standards. There is very little to be gained by a professional lawyer or accountant from 12 months’ as an employee of an estate agent.

Lawyers and accountants who apply for an estate agent’s licence should be required to demonstrate their competence by whatever means the licensing authorities require, but compulsory work experience/indoctrination should not be one of them.

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