What is competency?
The broad concept of industry competency concerns the ability to perform particular tasks and duties to the standard of performance expected in the workplace. Competency requires the application of specified skills, knowledge and attitudes relevant to effective participation in an industry, industry sector or enterprise.
Competency covers all aspects of workplace performance and involves performing individual tasks, managing a range of different tasks, responding to contingencies or breakdowns, and dealing with the responsibilities of the workplace including working with others. Workplace competency requires the ability to apply relevant skills, knowledge and attitudes consistently over time and in the required workplace situations and environments. In line with this concept of competency Training Packages focus on what is expected of a competent individual in the workplace as an outcome of learning rather than focussing on the learning process itself.
Competency standards in Training Packages are determined by industry to meet identified industry skill needs. Competency standards are made up of a number of units of competency each of which describes a key function or role in a particular job function or occupation. Each unit of competency within a Training Package is linked to one or more Australins Quality Framework (AQF) qualifications.
Components of Units of Competency
The components of units of competency are summarised below in the order in which they appea
The unit title is a succinct statement of the outcome of the unit of competency. Each unit of competency title is unique, both within and across Training Packages.
The unit descriptor broadly communicates the content of the unit of competency and the skill area it addresses. Where units of competency have been contextualised from units of competency from other endorsed Training Packages, summary information is provided. There may also be a brief second paragraph that describes its relationship with other units of competency and any licensing requirements.
Employability Skills statement
A standard Employability Skills statement appears in each unit of competency. This statement directs trainers and assessors to consider the information contained in the Employability Skills Summary in which the unit of competency is packaged.
Prerequisite Units (optional)
If there are any units of competency that must be completed before the unit these will be listed.
Application of the Unit
This sub-section fleshes out the unit of competency's scope, purpose and operation in different contexts for example by showing how it applies in the workplace.
Competency Field (Optional)
The competency field either reflects the way the units of competency are categorised in the Training Package or denotes the industry sector, specialisation or function. It is an optional component of the unit of competency.
The industry sector is a further categorisation of the competency field and identifies the next classification for example an elective or supervision field.
Elements of Competency
The elements of competency are the basic building blocks of the unit of competency. They describe in terms of outcomes the significant functions and tasks that make up the competency.
The performance criteria specify the required performance in relevant tasks, roles, skills and in the applied knowledge that enables competent performance. They are usually written in passive voice. Critical terms or phrases may be written in bold italics and then defined in range statement in the order of their appearance in the performance criteria.
Required Skills and Knowledge
The essential skills and knowledge are either identified separately or combined. Knowledge identifies what a person needs to know to perform the work in an informed and effective manner. Skills describe the application of knowledge to situations where understanding is converted into a workplace outcome.
The range statement provides a context for the unit of competency describing essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment depending on the work situation, the needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item and local industry and regional contexts. As applicable the meanings of key terms used in the performance criteria will also be explained in the range statement.
The evidence guide is critical in assessment as it provides information to the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and assessor about how the described competency may be demonstrated. The evidence guide does this by providing a range of evidence for the assessor to make determinations and by providing the assessment context. The evidence guide describes:
- Conditions under which competency must be assessed including variables such as the assessment environment or necessary equipment
- Relationships with the assessment of any other units of competency
- Suitable methodologies for conducting assessment including the potential for workplace simulation
- Resource implications, for example access to particular equipment, infrastructure or situations
- How consistency in performance can be assessed over time, various contexts and with a range of evidence, and expectations at the AQF qualification level involved
Employability Skills in units of competency
The detail and application of Employability Skills facets will vary according to the job-role requirements of each industry. In developing Training Packages industry stakeholders are consulted to identify appropriate facets of Employability Skills which are incorporated into the relevant units of competency and qualifications.
Employability Skills are not a discrete requirement contained in units of competency (as was the case with Key Competencies). Employability Skills are specifically expressed in the context of the work outcomes described in units of competency and will appear in elements, performance criteria, range statements and evidence guides. As a result users of Training Packages are required to review the entire unit of competency in order to accurately determine Employability Skills requirements.