The world of competence management is riddled with jargon. Some of the key words are defined here. It is not intended as a complete guide.
Competence is the ability to perform the work to a set standard. It is a holistic concept that embraces skills, knowledge and understanding, attitudes, training, experience and physical capacity. The emphasis is on application to work – not knowledge or skills for their own sake.
Competencies are expressions of competence, broken down into bite-sized chunks. They describe clearly the activities involved and the standards expected of a competent employee.
Tasks are where people apply competencies to specific areas of responsibility, processes, systems or equipment.
Competence framework is an overview of all the competencies and tasks needed to achieve organisational goals. It needs to cover everyone in the wider organisation, including contractors who perform critical tasks.
Critical competencies and tasks are those where there is critical exposure – i.e. where incompetent actions could lead to major harm, loss or damage.
Competence assessment is the process of gathering evidence, comparing it with a standard for the competency, and making a judgement. Those who assess must also be competent, both technically and in assessment methods
Competence assurance is a management control. Its purpose is to satisfy management that people in critical jobs are able to carry out their duties to a minimum acceptable standard.
Competence management is a systematic structure within which the organisation manages all the competencies needed to achieve its goals. It includes priority-setting, controls, and review processes.