Competency Standards and the Road Transport Industry – (Part 1) Background.


There are a number of myths floating around regarding having to go to training courses to receive qualifications. What I’m going to attempt to do in this blog and as simply as I can, is explain why you don’t necessarily have to go to a course to get a Nationally Recognised Road Transport Qualification. To do that we need to go back to the beginning, way back in the eighties and then the early nineties.

Way back then there was a tri-partite agreement between federal Government, State Government and Unions to create a smarter workforce and to develop career paths where people could build on their qualifications and move on to better, higher paying jobs. I don’t think at that time it was ever considered that some people might be happy just doing what they are doing.

Nevertheless Industry Councils were established in all industries, Health, Hospitality, Retail, Transport and Logistics etc. Their job was to identify what people need to be good at to do any particular job and define these as competencies. For example as a delivery driver you would need certain skills/competencies such as driving, maybe reading maps, communication and so on. These skills/competencies were grouped into a qualification.

The qualification then needed to be classified at a level and this was done by basing the qualification on things like the level of autonomy, the decision making, the responsibility for others etc. These levels started at Certificate 1 and on up to Certificate 4 and depending on the industry, sometimes Certificate 5 and then Diploma. A Diploma would get you University entrance to be able to study for a Degree. So for the sake of shortening this explanation, the basic qualification for Road Transport sits at Certificate 2 with the more advanced at Certificate 3. Certificate 3 is seen as a trade Certificate and mechanics, hairdressers and many other trades are Certificate 3.

As I said, these qualifications are made up of a certain number competencies called Units of Competency. The Fatigue Management one most of you have is a Unit of Competency.

However not all jobs at this level in Road Transport are the same. Some drivers may shift oversize loads, others drive tow trucks or low loaders. To account for these there are a number of core competencies and a number of elective units that align to a particular situation and need to be completed.

Now Units of Competency are made up of elements which have performance criteria attached to them. In addition there are also required skills and knowledge embedded in each unit.  You have to satisfy each of the performance criteria of each element to complete the Competency Unit and you have to complete all units in order to earn your qualification.

I know I said I would explain this simply but I never said it was going to be short. Any questions please comment so we can share. In the next part we are going to talk about how people got their first qualifications and what mechanism was put into place to facilitate that.

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