With Macau's gaming and tourism business running at full steam, there has been a sharp increase in property development projects, and demand for quality property management has grown. Most property management companies in Macau view Hong Kong as their role model, believing the knowledge and experience of their neighbour can help raise their own professional standards. William Yong Wing-tai, a graduate of the professional diploma course in property management for practitioners in Macau, said local practitioners learnt about the Hong Kong experience and acquired other skills from the course. 'Unlike Hong Kong, where the emphasis is more on [acquiring] professional knowledge, property management practitioners in Macau usually rely on their experience,' said Mr Yong, director and executive general manager of United International Property Management, a local property management company with 200 employees. 'Completing the professional diploma course is a recognised professional qualification for practitioners in Macau,' said Mr Yong, who found the risk management aspect of the course to be particularly useful. 'The standard of the industry has gradually improved in the last five to six years as the Labour Affairs Bureau in Macau has started to provide training courses for frontline workers. 'This requires newcomers to have higher qualifications and education standards,' he said. 'Before the diploma course, there was no training programme for management staff in Macau.' Under the Macau Labour Affairs Bureau's and the Macau Housing Bureau's registration scheme, which is expected to come into effect this year, each property management company is required to have at least one staff member who has obtained the professional qualification. With more than 100 property management companies in Macau, almost every company has a staff member who has completed, or is studying, the course. Another graduate of the course, Jackey Chui Ming-man, managing director of Nam Ou Property Management Company, said the industry had suffered a shortage of professionals at executive and junior management levels because young people did not want to join, and practitioners from the older generations were approaching retirement age. 'With business growing, we may [have to] recruit overseas professionals, including those from Hong Kong, to fill the gap,' said Mr Chui, whose firm employed 80 staff and was looking to hire more. Mr Chui thinks locals need to be nurtured and the course, with a diverse and comprehensive syllabus, provides good retraining for experienced practitioners. 'It is an opportunity for us to review what we have learnt through the years and pick up new skills and knowledge, which is practical and useful for our job,' he said. 'With better knowledge and management skills, companies will put more resources into training their frontline staff to improve service levels and raise the general standard of the entire industry.'