What is competency?
People are considered to be competent when they are able to apply their knowledge and skills to successfully complete work activities in a range of situations and environments, to the standard of performance expected in the position they occupy. Training and assessment aim to make sure that the individuals participating in the training and assessment have the competence to undertake their work role to the standard expected.
How do we know someone is competent?
We know whether someone is competent after completing a competency-based assessment. Learners must demonstrate that they are competent by undergoing an assessment process. Assessment may involve a practical demonstration of skills, some form of written assessment, such as a test or preparation of a report, or a presentation or interview. Individuals can be assessed during their training, at the end of their training, or without even undertaking any training (for example if they believe they are already competent). Those being assessed are often called candidates. The method and timing of assessment will vary depending upon the assessor, the candidate and the competency being assessed.
What standards are candidates assessed against?
In order to assess whether a candidate is competent, they are judged against established standards (often called benchmarks). These standards have been developed by industry and are called competency standards. Competency standards may also be referred to as units of competency. Competency standards are documents that define the competencies required for effective performance in the workplace in specific industries. Competency standards include the essential information needed to assess a candidate. Some enterprises have developed specific competency standards for their business.