National Competency Standards

National Competency Standards are basically the skills a person must be able to demonstrate at work are defined by industry and packaged into combination that from various qualifications aligned to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

Increasing and sustaining the international competitiveness of the Australian economy is central to achievement of economic, social welfare, environmental and foreign relations aspirations of all Australians. Understanding the need for change the National Training Board of Australia (NTB) established a system of developing and endorsing competency standards for occupations and industries on a national scale.

The National competency standards provided:

-  Consistent national framework for developing competency based on industrial needs

-  The competency standards are used as benchmarks for vocational education, curriculum development, industry training and recognition, and the delivery and accreditation of training.

-   The standards are to be benchmark for recognition of skills and qualification of those trained overseas.

National Competency Standards are those which have national applicability and facilitate transferability between employment and situations. These are called core standards which are valued by employers and employees because they facilitate transferability and provide the basis for both broad skilling and up-skilling of the workforce.

Vocational training activities and processes for the recognition of prior learning are to be based on agreed competency standards which reflect realistic workplace requirements. In a typical workplace these include competencies which are common to a range of occupations, industries and enterprise. Additionally, industry requires competencies which are applicable only to a specific industry sectors or enterprises.

National core competency standards will therefore comprise those required in an occupation together with those required by a particular industry or industry sector. Core standards consist of:

Occupation Core Standards

These are competency standards which must be achieved by all persons in an occupation regardless of their particular job. They include broad-based competencies in numeracy, literacy, occupational health and safety and communication within their occupational context. They also include the broad technical expertise deemed by the industrial parties to be the essential basis for the occupation.

Industry Core Standards

These are additional to the occupation core standards and include competencies, both broad-based technical, which are required for a person to be effective in a particular industry or industry sector. For example, an automotive mechanic will require core standards which are appropriate to that general occupation. If the mechanic is employed in the heavy vehicle sector, he or she will need additional standards to meet the competencies appropriate to that sector.

The National Training Board encouraged the early development, endorsement and implementation of core competency standards at both occupation and industry levels. These core standards provided the basis on which a more effective vocational education and training systems to be constructed.

There are however refinements and variations to core competency standards which are essential to improved competitiveness and which will contribute to workplace flexibility. Such refinement and variations are best developed within the Australian Standard Framework so as to maximize their transferability between sectors and enterprises.