Kitcher Risk Solutions

Competence Management

For an individual to be considered competent they require:

  • Skills to specified performance standards
  • Relevant knowledge and understanding
  • The ability to use skills and to apply knowledge
  • Experience - concrete events that have been used to learn and develop

Key features of competence include:

  • Competence is defined by outcomes rather than inputs - what people can do, rather than how they learn to do it.
  • Competence is defined as performance to a specified standard with associated underpinning knowledge and understanding.
  • The outcomes required to meet this standard are defined through "functional analysis"
  • Assessment is based on demonstrating competent performance to meet the standard in the full range of circumstances and environments that the occupation could normally be expected to involve, along with demonstration of the appropriate knowledge and understanding (Pye Tait Consulting, 2011)

Competence has a number of constituent parts including job and task based skills, functional skills such as literacy and numeracy, communication skills, situational and risk awareness, and self-awareness. Performance standards need to address all of these parts.

Competence can be developed, measured, evidenced, maintained, reported, analysed and assured. 

Finally competence is not something that can be attained and then fixed for ever. Competent workers will be on a continuum from beginner to expert. Changing work practices and the changing characteristics of the workforce require constant review. In addition human performance fades over time especially where use of a specific skill is rare or limited. This skill fade effect needs to be recognised and its size and time frame needs to be built into refresher programs.