How To Use Industry Competency Models

In this article, we introduce you to eight potential usages of an industry competency model.

Articulate Industry Needs

It is paramount for industries and organizations to articulate the essential skill and knowledge requirements. They can publish these needs to:

  1. Educators and training program creators
  2. Jobseekers
  3. Career development and guidance counselors
  4. Supervisors of workforce programs
  5. Expert curricula developers

Workforce and career development strategies must be guided by the workforce needs as published by economically crucial and fast-growing industries. These strategies, in turn, support the training and education endeavors in a region. All these efforts come together to meet the skill and knowledge needs of the industries. In this fast-changing world, skill and knowledge requirements change rapidly. Industry competency models help businesses communicate changes in skillset and knowledge demands. These models also allow career and workforce developers to understand industry requirements via the following:

  • A dedicated forum where industry and businesses can regularly update any changes in competence, knowledge, and skill needs.
  • A common ground for all workforce preparation and development stakeholders to agree on requirements.
  • Facilitating surveys for employer skill needs.
  • Identify and communicate required training programs within industries and cross-industry.

Career Guidance, Potential, and Exploration

Career exploration is an important process in today's employment climate as it helps facilitate career interests, abilities, and potential assessment. Furthermore, it collects information regarding possible career choices of individuals while developing a relevant and useful learning plan. Jobseekers and career development counselors can use competency models to achieve the following:

  1. Identify career goals
  2. Create a roadmap to achieve the goals
  3. Document training and learning requirements
  4. Develop a study plan

These resources help jobseekers identify a suitable career path via assessing career interests. They can then take advantage of the educational, skill, and workforce needs to enter and advance in the chosen career. Jobseekers may take help of credible career counselors, printed content, academic counselors, or the internet. Any source of guidance must be based upon a solid knowledge of potential job opportunities within an industry, industry growth rate, requisite competencies, and leaning needs for the chosen career.
When it comes to guiding individuals towards their chosen careers, industry competency models can help immensely by:

  • Providing career assessment to jobseekers that allow them to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in light of anticipated careers paths that have the highest potential for job opportunities and growth.
  • Clearly define all the requirements to achieve a career goal, including academic, job competency, skillset, and work-readiness needs.
  • Illuminate skill-gaps and resolve by identifying and recommending postsecondary training and educational courses.
  • Offer guidance in course selection based on industry requirements.
  • Ensure that graduating students possess skills suitable and adequate for industry needs.

Career Pathway, Framework, and Growth

A chosen career is only achievable if a clear roadmap is formulated based on education, training, and work experiences. This is known as a career pathway, and it can help individuals to secure and advance to higher levels of employment in a job. To create such a roadmap, industry competency models come in handy as they provide information related to:

  1. Requisite training and education programs
  2. Necessary technical competency to move up the corporate ladder
  3. Skillset required to advance on a career framework

Career growth options and lattices provide a visual aid to identify potential job opportunities that are available within a career. The career pathway can define the work experience and education required to enter the selected profession. Workforce development programs, career guidance programs, assessments, and certifications are useful tools to build a robust career pathway.

Industry competency models are critical in developing an effective career pathway as they bring together workforce, skill, educational, technical, and interpersonal competencies required to build the foundation to a career lattice or ladder. They help define the abilities, knowledge, and skills required which, in turn, helps in:

  • Securing an entry-level job within a fast-growing industry
  • Preparing for the competencies required to change jobs or grow within the same career
  • Identifying certifications, assessments, courses, education and licenses required to progress within a career

Labor Pool Analysis and Workforce Program Design:

Planning a workforce program in a region requires identifying the local workforce needs, analyzing available skillset and training and education programs available to update the skillsets of the current workforce. Competency models provide a guide to compare and identify:

  1. Workforce skills needs
  2. Current labor pool competency
  3. Training programs to introduce required competencies

To prepare an effective plan for workforce development, it is of paramount to understand the regional labor dynamics thoroughly. This analysis contains information related to current and potential skill needs of major industries that are anticipating rapid growth and the current competency of the existing and future labor pool. Competency models help in this analysis by:

  • Outlining current and future skill needs of industries
  • Helping assess current labor pool competencies
  • Pinpointing transferable skills within a career or industry
  • Outlining outgoing and emerging skill needs
  • Formulating a guide to identify common skill needs across industries

Curriculum Planning, Development, and Assessment

Curriculum developers and education program planners rely heavily on competency models to identify foundation skills and technical competencies required for an individual to survive and thrive in a selected career. This roadmap leads to effective curricula that equip participants with skills and knowledge to gain entry into a career and progress up the ladder. To achieve this, competency models are critical in:

  1. Modeling courses to match industry or workforce needs perfectly
  2. Create training objectives and outcomes based on required competencies
  3. Assess and modify existing educational programs
  4. Point out any gaps between employer needs and curricula objectives

Competency models are critical in establishing a collaboration between industry needs and education. They provide a common ground to articulate regional competency needs which model curricula development, career planning, assessments, and technical career development programs. By bridging the gap between industry needs and current educational structures, they help build a framework to develop skillset, knowledge, and abilities critical to perform in a chosen career. Competency models help curriculum developers through:

  • Identifying regional industry and profession skill needs
  • Providing an industry-validated framework to develop learning and teaching goals
  • Acting as a guide to model technical course in line with industry needs or student capabilities
  • Helping develop curricula, learning material, courses, and programs faster
  • Laying down a common vocabulary and set of terminology for educators and businesses to collaborate effectively
  • Providing content to enhance existing learning material
  • Identifying and bridging the gap between industry needs and current learning programs

Certification, Assessment, and Licensing

For individuals to succeed in a career, it is paramount for them to participate in credential enhancing activities such as licensure and certification. They must include knowledge and skills that encompass the necessary range and depth of knowledge required to perform the desired tasks. They should also include a set of standards that can measure an individual's proficiency at a certain task or in a field. Competency models help ensure these aspects of certification and licensure by:

  1. Laying down the foundational literacy, numerical, and academic competencies required to succeed at a particular job
  2. Identifying requisite technical competencies
  3. Ensuring the range of skills and knowledge contained within the certification includes the desired skills and knowledge
  4. Helping build achievement tests fine-tuned to measure expected knowledge and skills for a job

These licenses and certifications are developed to ensure that employees are equipped with the desired knowledge and abilities to perform certain jobs. Competency models document an individual's grasp of a particular technology, knowledge, and abilities. This information is used to assess an employee' qualification for these credentials. The models help develop the assessments, licensure, or certification via:

  • Documenting the basic, foundational and technical competencies required to succeed at a job or in a field
  • Documenting the literacy, academic and numeracy requirements for a particular job or field
  • Outlining the competency components required within a certification or licensure program
  • Acting as a resource to develop achievement tests that measure knowledge and skill needs of a job

Apprenticeship Programs

An effective alternative to traditional classroom training, apprenticeship program combine on-the-job learning and classroom training developed to match industry needs. Performance-based and competency-driven apprenticeship programs must include the following:

  1. Competencies defined must be directly correlated to job or role after a thorough job or task analysis
  2. Learning activities should be self-paced and structured with the provision to enter and exit as desired
  3. The program must have observable, repeatable and pre-decided assessments or tests
  4. Approximate time in hours or minimum/maximum time in hours taken to achieve a competency must be documented to ensure successful completion of a program. Work experience process schedules must have provision for the above

Apprenticeship programs are critical in the 4th industrial revolution as they provide employees with a flexible learning tool to upskill themselves. But combining the best of classroom training and on-the-job learning can be a challenge. Competency models are useful resources to assist in the development of training programs by identifying critical knowledge, ability, skill, and information for apprenticeships. The models are used to develop these schedules by:

  • Documenting the requisite competencies
  • Providing a blueprint of mentoring and guidance by peers while on the job
  • Highlighting separate career paths that can be handled by the same apprenticeship program
  • Providing a detailed outline of the academic competencies to be covered during the classroom training

Human Resource Functions

Competency models help organizations perform key HR tasks, such as hiring, recruitment, and performance management. These models define the standards that are used to identify the best job seekers aligned with the employer's requirements. They can be used to:

  1. Outline the selection criteria
  2. Define descriptions for particular job positions
  3. Take recruitment decisions
  4. Lay down expected performance criteria
  5. Assess and manage performance

Competency models act as guides to HR activities and help organizations fill vacant positions from the existing qualified labor pool. They are useful resources for the use of HR personnel and companies to solve key problems related to staffing and attrition. Competency models help the HR function in the following ways:

  • By creating a clear position and job description based on competency
  • Facilitate recruitment based on matching skills, performance management, and appraisals
  • Help attract new employees
  • Recruitment strategies to attract the best labor and plans to prepare new employees
  • Apprenticeship, enrichment or leadership development programs to develop existing talents
  • Create replacement plans based on restructuring, resignations, and retirements

Workforce development stakeholders may customize an existing competency model or build a new one to accommodate the key usages described above.

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