Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg, Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection Julia Farrugia Portelli and Parliamentary Secretary for Lands and Construction Chris Agius launched a training programme for real estate agents which will be accredited by the Institute for Tourism (ITS) at Level 4 on the Malta Qualifications Framework (MQF Level 4) and which will be given by the same institute through collaboration with the MDA Academy. The course is three months long, with two lessons a week. Applicants may choose to attend the course in the morning or in the evening. Lessons will be offered through various modes of blended learning. This follows a reform in the sector led by Parliamentary Secretary Agius in the last weeks.
“We have a reformist Government committed to continue improving quality of life and of all services affecting people. We did not stop with a mandatory licence. Today we are here behind MDA Academy and ITS who will see that as of this October, real estate agents are given specialised training in skills that will help them work better and give a better-quality service. We believe in our professionals and in every training and professional development initiative, while seeking to ensure the protection of people investing in property. We are committed to continue witnessing more people becoming homeowners. We started with the first-time buyers and second-time buyers schemes, duty reductions for property purchases in Urban Conservation Areas and Gozo, and we are now taking a further step towards quality service", stated Minister Ian Borg.
Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said that, “while MDA will focus on the necessary technical competencies for property agents, ITS will provide students with the necessary knowledge, skills and competencies in specific subjects such as; customer care, consumer behaviour, administrative management as well as technical training on how an agent can make sales. These are transverse components which are relevant to the Tourism and Hospitality industry but which are also indispensable for those who wish to work in the real estate sector."
The minister added that following the official launch of the new ITS prospectus some weeks ago, which includes two new courses which are the first of their kind on an international basis, a recruitment campaign for new prospective students is currently underway. “It is my pleasure to say that there are very encouraging numbers, particularly on courses having a high academic level. This augurs well to have sustainable development in education related to the sector," Minister Farrugia Portelli concluded.
Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius said that this new law was incredibly necessary, also because this activity often involves the biggest investment in a buyer's life. He reminded those present that as of 31st December 2021, anyone carrying out the role of real estate broker or agent or the role of manager or consultant in the property sector will need to have a licence according to the 2020 Act about Real Estate Agents and Brokers and Property Consultants. He said that considering this, this training programme set to begin in a few months will give people operating in this sector a chance to prepare themselves until the law comes into force.
MDA Principal Ray Abela said that, “since the inception of the MDA Academy in January 2020, together with MDA President Sandro Chetcuti, we have worked relentlessly to offer the industry with accredited and recognised training courses aimed to instil further information and education and enhance the understanding of the responsibilities amongst those working in the industry. Today marks another milestone for MDA Academy, as we have diversified yet into another important area in our economy, that of real estate agent training."
Amongst other things, the training programme focuses on health and safety, service quality, social media, planning processes, legal and lands aspects, financial training about taxes and loans, as well as contracts. Eligible applicants must be 18 or older, in possession of a Mathematics and English O Level or 5 years' experience and Level 2 or higher in Basic ICT Skills. An additional 20-hour course is being offered to managers in this sector.