By Mike Cusano

If you’ve been in the real estate sector for a few years, you’ve no doubt seen the challenges that new salespeople face when they enter the profession. It’s a complex business and there’s a lot to learn. Even experienced registrants need to keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the rapidly changing marketplace.

That’s why education is one of the Real Estate Council of Ontario’s most important responsibilities. It’s our first line of defence to ensure that every broker and salesperson has the skills and knowledge to provide consumers with the guidance they need.

I’d like to tell you about some developments that everyone in our industry should be excited about.

Following a rigorous selection process, RECO has selected the education provider that will build and deliver our New Registration Education Program. Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning (Humber College) and NIIT Canada have partnered to take on this essential project.

Humber College, one of Canada’s leading post-secondary institutions, will deliver the New Program, while NIIT Canada, a global leader in education development, will cultivate a dynamic range of course material and assessments. Together, they submitted the proposal that best met our criteria.

The New Program will provide many advantages, but I’m particularly excited about new and innovative learning technologies that will be available to students.

For example, we’ll be introducing real-time virtual classrooms that allow students to interact live with their classmates and their instructor, no matter where they are. Students will also have the option of learning in a traditional classroom setting, or through self-paced e-learning modules.

In addition, the structure of the New Program will be designed to follow the flow of a real estate transaction. During the New Program, simulation sessions will assess how well students understand the content. The end result will be new salespeople who are better prepared to “hit the ground running.”

We’ll keep you informed as we work towards launch in mid-2019. There will be a smooth transition to the New Program so that existing students won’t be impacted. If you want to learn more, I invite you to review our detailed fact sheet.

In our fast-changing sector, continuing education for experienced professionals is just as important. It’s now been nearly four years since we launched the new Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) program, and in that time we have worked diligently to add new courses every year and to make improvements based on registrant feedback.

I am pleased to share that the MCE program continues to receive high approval ratings from registrants. In 2016, 96 per cent of registrants surveyed indicated the content in the course they took was relevant to their real estate practice, while 95 per cent found the content interesting and easy to follow.

This does not mean that it can’t be made even better. In the second half of this year we will be conducting a comprehensive review of the MCE program. Taking this fresh look at MCE is an important step in assessing how well we’re meeting the goals we set for continuing education and looking at ways to enhance the program.

These changes in education reflect an evolving marketplace, one where consumers are not only informed, but faced with greater challenges throughout the buying and selling process. As real estate professionals, your wealth of knowledge guides Ontarians through the biggest transactions of their lives. The education you receive at the onset of your careers, and then later throughout, is integral to the success you help bring your clients.

When buyers and sellers have a positive experience with their representative, it enhances the reputation for all of us. I hope you’ll join me in welcoming improvements that will ensure a bright future for our profession.