Focus on occupational competence

Definition of ‘Occupational competence’ [UK Training Agency (1988) – although there are many more current definitions]:

… the ability to perform the activities within an occupation or function to the standards expected in employment. (This includes)… the ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situations … organisation and planning of work, innovation and coping with non-routine activities… (and the) personal effectiveness … to deal with co-workers, managers and customers. It stems from an understanding (that) to perform effectively in a work role an individual has to combine… performance of various technical and task components, overarching management of the various technical and task components to achieve the overall work function, management of the variance and unpredictability in the work role and the wider environment, (and) integration of the work role within the context of the wider organisation, economic, market and social environment.

Occupational standards aim to objectively and clearly define the above, so that competence can be measured, observed, and evaluated in the workplace.

Competence standards essentially define:

The focus on what needs to be done. (This is not to be confused with who does the task, or where)
Set the level of individual performance
Describe applied knowledge and skills
There are many occupational standards, that attempt to define various tasks, in many business sectors. Collectively, a number of competences describe functional areas performed, and further still can support employability initiatives; such as career frameworks and qualification developments, for business.

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