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Seb Anthony

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We are thinking of introducing a competency based approach to developement. However I am struggling to find any basic information on competencies that isn't NVQ based. For example Why is it good to use them? How many should there be for each job role? etc.
hannah Bovington

7 Responses

  1. Sugggested Reading
    There are a number of books on this subject…many very heavy-weight…but you may wish to try:

    The Competencies Handbook
    Whiddett and Hollyforde
    CIPD Press
    ISBN 0-85292-735-5

    It’s an easy book to read and very clear in its treatment of many aspects of using competencies.

  2. Competence at Work
    Try the above title by Spencer and Spencer it has a number of generic frameworks and also “how to” implement

    I cant find my copy to give you the ISBN

  3. Why >not< NVQs
    All NVQs (and an increasing number of other qualifications) are based on National Occupational Standards (NOS) – the NOS comes first, the qualifications second. So don’t be afraid of using the appropriate NOS. Someone else has invested a lot of time, money and effort writing them. Steal like crazy and save yourself work!!
    It helps if you understand the process of developing an occupational standard so that you can deconstruct the bits you need for your job roles.

    In our experience there are few jobs that cannot now be mapped successfully using existing stanadards – though you often have to use them from many different sources.

  4. Research areas
    I just went through something similar recently and did a lot of research on the web. The CIPD have a very helpful Quick Facts worksheet on competency and competency frameworks. had several articles covering the subject. One of which focused on explaining competencies for people going through the interview process. It was interesting to see them from that point of view. Plus I used ‘A HAndbook of Human Resource Management Practice’ (Michael Armstrong) which gave practical advice on approaches to competency analysis. You can usually find a copy of this text book in most libraries.
    I’ve also got a very good example of a competency based job assessment and development framework that I would be happy to talk to you about if you want to contact me by email.
    Good luck with it, there’s a lot of research to get through!

  5. Standards not NVQs
    As Peter Cox said earlier you don’t have to use NVQs and you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. The original concept of National Occupational Standards was, and still is, that you can adapt and use them for a variety of organisational needs.

    The basic priciple is simple – well written standards should encapsulate all the performance requirements and knowledge needs of any job role. They are created by first of all analysing all of the functions of an industry. You can do the same ‘functional mapping’ for your organisation and then interrogate and adapt NOS which relate to the functions and roles you have defined

    As a company we have used them to develop in-house recruitment and appraisal systems. Since we have also been involved in developing NOS, we have also used them to design training for other people. The list of things you can do is not endless but the key point is you adapt them to your needs.

  6. In-house competences and S/NVQs can run side by side
    At Citizens Advice Scotland, we are using both national standards, in the form of S/NVQs, in Advice and Guidance and in-house competence-based assessment. The reasons for having both are: S/NVQs are nationally-recognised, very detailed and thorough systems. A large number of organisations in the sector worked them out together, so they have wide currency throughout the sector. However, in order to deliver them, an organisation has to put into place a particular kind of delivery structure which involves a high staff input (or pay large amounts of money to an outside provider), putting it beyond the means of many voluntary organisations, including CABx. Also, the work involved for the candidate is substantial, and is greater than can be demanded of every volunteer adviser. A whole S/NVQ may take a year- year 1/2 to complete. The in-house system, while covering some of the same ground, has been devised to work with existing training systems. It makes demands which can be (and must be) fulfilled by every volunteer adviser, by the end of the training and mentoring programme (say, 2-6 months, depending on the training cycle and the individual). It also includes specific advice subject area competence which the more generic S/NVQs cannot address. However, some volunteers do want a nationally recognised, more intensive qualification, and some CABx opt to support this. So this is an option that is supported by the service for those (CABx and volunteers) who wish it.

    I hope this helps.


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