Competence can be defined as the ability to perform within a work related function or occupational area to national or industry standards expected in employment

We can therefore define competence as having three key ingredients:


A person must have a thorough understanding of a subject or task. It is not acceptable for a technician to be able to simply repeat a task without understanding the actions they are carrying out.

Having knowledge of a subject or system allows us to make decisions to resolve issues that do not occur under normal conditions. Knowledge is therefore an important element of the definition of competence.


Skill can be defined as having the ability to do a task or perform an activity. A person who is competent in an activity must be able to carry out the task in a safe, efficient and reliable manner.


In some respects, experience is considered to be the most important element of competence as it dismisses the idea that someone can attend a training course and automatically be classed as competent.

Experience is a key ingredient of competence and it must be evaluated to determine what range of activities have been completed by the candidate during normal work activities.