Education, training and development of staff in a residential community homeowners association
By far the most neglected area in community management.11th Feb 2019
Recent research shows that most estate managers come from a security or military environment. There are many who have cut their teeth in the hospitality and retail sector, and there are many who have worked in local government and civil engineering.
While there are generic training programmes and qualifications for finance managers, administrators and facilities management, there are no nationally recognised qualifications for community managers. Of course, ARC and Johan Kruger did establish the Community Associations Institute SA (CAISA), and through this body, community managers can acquire internationally developed qualifications and designations.
At the moment, all training and education programmes are individually based and too few HOAs are adopting an integrative approach to the needs of the organisation. Such an approach includes:
- Conducting a skills audit of all staff in the HOA
- Interrogating job descriptions of all staff members
- Comparing the above two points and creating a needs analysis related to the gaps
- Identifying what training and skills development can be dealt with on the job, and if there are individuals who could provide coaching of these skills
- Identifying what training will require formalised off-site programmes, and sourcing appropriate nationally accredited programmes to address these
All HOAs pay a skills levy to the Services Sector Education and Training Authority (SSETA) and for this, a range of grants are available. The SSETA then expects the HOA to conduct the following:
- To compile a Workplace Skills Plan (WSP), based on the above points
- To compile and submit an Annual Training Report (ATR) at the end of the term that compares what was planned for and what training was conducted
It is not always necessary to send staff on lengthy qualification type programmes. Through the Institute of Professional Estate Managers (IPEM), staff can attend short courses aligned to the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). These short programmes will include:
- Dealing with difficult people
- Problem-solving and decision-making skills
- Intelligent business communications
- Time-management skills
- Effective people-management skills
- Dealing with diversity
- Project management
- Working in teams
These are not necessarily linked to an occupation and will apply to all staff in a HOA where the programme is geared to various levels of the staffing structure. Specific HOA-related case studies also assist to contextualise the programme content to the needs of an HOA.
Through the various SETAs, there are also opportunities for the HOA to participate in learnership programmes where the HOA can access a grant to take on unemployed graduates. As the host employee of the learner, the HOA will provide the workplace experiential component of the learnership, and an accredited external training provider will provide the theoretical component. A stipend included in the grant is paid to the learner, and learnerships generally run for 12 months.