By Cath Dickinson
Like businesses across the country, REINSW has had to adjust to a new operating environment as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions. But far from limiting the availability of training options for agents, REINSW is using the opportunity to extend its reach by embracing new training delivery methods.
“This year was already set to be one of our busiest for training,” REINSW Training Manager Nerida Wood said. “With sweeping reforms to real estate licensing and qualifications, as well as a raft of changes to the residential tenancies framework, set to commence on 23 March 2020, the team had been working hard for months to prepare targeted courses and training materials.
“Never has our industry been faced with so much change at a single moment in time – and then COVID-19 hit!
“Almost every aspect of what we do and how we do it has been impacted – and it’s come at a time when we were already navigating a barrage of change,” Nerida said. “Social distancing requirements and gathering restrictions have fundamentally impacted the way we deliver training. For example, we’ve had to cancel face-to-face training sessions, including our annual Roadshow.”
Nerida explained that the majority of the REINSW Training team is currently working from home – and while the transition has brought with it some challenges, it’s also afforded the opportunity to embrace a range of new learning opportunities.
“The team has been experimenting with a number of tools to deliver training and can now conduct ‘virtual classrooms’,” she said. “We’ve recently held our first virtual class, with 25 learners joining us via Zoom. It was a resounding success and everyone was able to partake in the learning, participate in discussions, ask questions and complete workbook activities.
“These virtual classes are particularly beneficial in the case of more complex courses, where learners need direct interaction with the trainer; for example, trust accounting.
“We’re also encouraging agents to enrol in online training courses. With face-to-face classroom sessions not available, we’re definitely seeing an increase in enrolments for our online courses.”
Nerida said that REINSW has launched a new calendar of training courses, which includes classroom sessions and online training.
“Where face-to-face classroom sessions can’t go ahead due to COVID-19 restrictions, virtual classes via Zoom will be conducted,” she said. “Importantly, the new calendar will see classroom sessions scheduled at a range of times. While we’ve traditionally limited classroom sessions to business hours on weekdays, agents will now be able to attend classes, in person or virtually, in the evenings and on weekends.
Nerida said that beyond the current circumstances relating to COVID-19, REINSW’s use of virtual classes will be a huge benefit to agents moving forward.
“Regional agents, in particular, will benefit from our extended reach,” she said. “Sending trainers to regional areas has always been a challenge for us in terms of resourcing. But, with virtual classes now an established part of our training mix, agents across New South Wales, no matter where they are located, can join our courses.”
While COVID-19 has definitely thrown up many challenges for the REINSW Training team, there are also positives.
“REINSW’s training offering has been strengthened, as we’ve embraced the opportunity to do things differently,” Nerida said. “Our strength has always been in the quality of our training materials and the knowledge, skill and experience of our trainers. Moving forward, more agents will have access to our industry-leading training offering because we’re providing the flexibility they want in terms of how and when that training is delivered.
“This is a definite COVID-19 silver lining and agents are the ultimate beneficiaries.”
Click here for more information from REINSW's brand new training website .