What is a unit of competency

Your learning will consist of a number of steps, called ‘units of competency’ or ‘competencies’. A competency is the knowledge and skill required to carry out an aspect of your job, or training at the level or standard required.

If you are competent in a task, it means: • You can carry out the task correctly • You understand what the task is about and why you need to do it that was • You know what to do if something goes wrong while you’re doing it • You know how to apply what you’ve learned in one situation to another situation.

How do I prove competence?

We ask you to answer set questions and complete a range of tasks and activities which we assess.

Let’s look at an example: getting a driver’s licence.

Let’s say that I want to get my driver’s licence. I have been taught by my dad and have had lots of practice. I walk into the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS), and when my number is called I say that I want my driver’s licence, because I know I can drive. Do you think that the RMS would, at this point, simply give me a licence? I should hope not!

They would use a number of methods that give me the opportunity to prove to them that I am indeed capable of driving:

  • They make me take a knowledge test when I apply for my learners permit, to ensure that I know all the rules, signs etc
  • They test my eyesight, to make sure I can see well enough to be safe on the roads
  • I have to present my driving log, which shows that I have had practice driving in all conditions, for a certain amount of hours, and is signed by my instructor saying that they have observed me doing this
  • I then have to do an actual driving test, where an accredited assessor
  • tells me what I need to do (reverse park, get onto the motorway, etc) and observes my driving performance.

What else could they do to determine if it is safe to give me my driver’s licence?

  • They could ask me to assess myself on a list of skills first, before getting me to do the formal driving test with the assessor and have one of my parents sign each skill as well, to say that they agree that I can do it They could ask me to go out and take photos of road signs, for example all the road signs I can find that say something about Parking, and present these to the RMS during an interview, where they ask me questions about the signs I photographed.

When assessing your competency for your course we use a number of these methods at different times. Just as with getting your driver’s licence, you need to prove to us that you have the competency required; it is not enough for you to just say that you do (not that we don’t believe you, we just need to make sure before we give you your certificate).

Assessment is an important part of the learning process. It gives you feedback on your progress – letting you know your areas of accomplishment and pointing out if there are any parts of the learning process where you need to do some more work.

The outcome of the assessment of a competency is either Competent or Not Competent. If the assessor decides that you are Not Competent, they will explain that to you and what is needed for you to be assessed as Competent.

You will then have an opportunity to resubmit your assessment.

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