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QLD Article

Professionalism – Not Just a Buzz Word in 2023

Professionalism is a word thrown around a lot, in a variety of contexts in a variety of sectors. However, few fully appreciate what it means. One definition of a professional of course is to contrast it with “amateur.” Someone who is paid for a job is obviously expected to do it to a higher standard than someone who engages in the same activity as an amateur. However, does this make them a professional in the most fulsome sense of the word? Probably not. I can pay my neighbour to wash my car, I don’t think this necessarily makes them a professional car washer.


Professionalism in the context of employment or work tends to focus on an employee searching for a higher purpose in what they do. The earliest occupations which morphed into professions were medicine, the law and clergy. Doctors heal the sick, lawyers uphold justice, clergy proselytise their faith. The higher purpose of a vocation distinguishes professions from “jobs” or “trades.”


So, in strata, how do we take strata management from being an occupation to being a profession?


Firstly, compulsory minimum standards with respect of education and conduct. Given at this point anyone can call themselves a strata manager, it’s unlikely that the title holds the clout to be dubbed a profession right now in the eyes of the public.


Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, we need to recognise a higher purpose to our work as a sector. To become a profession, strata must move beyond day-to-day service provision to lot owners and to recognise its higher purpose, to facilitate the provision liveable, harmonious, and efficiently run communities to Queenslanders.


The pathway to professionalism is not just about Government regulation, recognition or erecting a barrier to entry, though this will inevitably an important part of moving our sector in this direction.


What is critically important to all in the sector is to recognise, embrace and place at the forefront of all they do professional ethics and conduct, as well as an embrace of their higher purpose every day when they go to work. As an industry, a big part of becoming a profession will be embracing this higher purpose.


As we push forward on this journey towards professionalism, as the peak body for the sector, SCA (Qld) intends to lead by example. We already have a Code of Conduct and a rigorous CPD program for members, but raising the standards of these further, spreading their message as well as enhancing the culture of the industry are all part of this.


With Government’s eyes upon