Below is a summary. Please download Examples of Competency Standards (PDF) to view the appendices.
Competency standards provide a common definition of a competency, with its minimum requirements, and are used to assess the competency of an individual. Their purpose is simple – they are used to provide objective evidence that individuals have the necessary skills and experience to conduct the tasks in a defined competency. There are examples in the literature (for example, [1-11]), and Table 1 gives examples of the standards listed in References 10 and 11.
Competency standards are an integral part of the process to qualify and certify staff as being competent [12-14]. They offer significant benefits to management as they provide objective evidence of staff competence, set measurable standards of performance, facilitate staff progression, and assist in staff appraisals.
A competency standard must specify the level of the competency; for example :
- Level 1: the individual is able to carry out work with supervision from someone more proficient.
- Level 2: the individual is able to carry out work without supervision from someone more proficient.
- Level 3: the individual is able to train and assess others.
The levels can then specify the required skills, knowledge, and experience, requirements. A review [10, 12, 14] of published competency levels and descriptions [1-9] concluded that three levels are both practical and convenient: ‘foundation’, ‘practitioner’, and ‘expert’ (Table 2). Additionally, an ‘awareness’ level can be used as an entry level into these three levels of competency [12, 14]. These increasing competency levels correspond with increasing job responsibilities, and cognitive characteristics.
Examples of Competency Standards
References 10 and 11 give details of these standards:
- Table 1 gives a listing of the standards in these references; and,
- Table 2 gives the competency levels used in these references.
Appendix A gives four examples of the content of these standards.