Establish a baseline to effectively measure competence

22 Apr 22

Technology can only help measure competence after we have set a baseline to measure against, Morgan Sindall technical director Steffan Speer told the audience at the recent GIRI Technology Working Group webinar.

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Steffan drew delegates’ attention to the Raising the Bar report, which identified competence as an issue across the construction industry and highlighted key points, including the competence of dutyholders, the need for competency frameworks for the various specialisms, that competence should be demonstrated and measured by third parties, and that the industry should adopt the principles of continuing professional development (CPD).

‘What does this mean? For me, it means we have to start thinking about how we manage our processes, our policies, and our resources within each of our organisations and as also individuals.” He added that while organisations must ensure they have the right people with the right skills in specific roles, individuals should take ownership of their own professional development. This includes identifying those skills they are lacking.

“Technology definitely has a role to play in measuring that competence, but first we need a starting line. We need a framework to follow.” The British Standard Institute’s newly developed built environment competence frameworks will provide organisations with a starting point. “And the various professional bodies are also putting standards together,” he noted.

Steffan also shared some of the ways Morgan Sindall is using technology to improve and measure competence, including e-learning. “This is a great way of sharing knowledge, but you can only gain certain skills, behaviours and experience while you are on the job.” So, Morgan Sindall has also established an academy that provides competence matrices for various roles. “It records the training, knowledge, and experience people have, and logs their CPD, and through online appraisals can help individuals understand what additional training they might require.

“For me, technology is an enabler. It can definitely help with the inductions, the CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) cards, the ability to ensure only people with the relevant qualifications go onto our sites, it can record all these things, but when it comes to determining what those relevant qualifications are, what is actually required for individual roles, we need to first develop a consistent measure. We have to put those checks and balances in place before we start to measure competence, because how do we know what we are measuring if we don’t have that baseline?”

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Other reports from the webinar

Melanie Dawson from Origin7: Technology and competence - what should we consider?

Steve Green, Bowmer & Kirkland: The role of technology in managing competence requirements

Paul Dodd, Scottish Futures Trust: Can technology change how we think about performance?

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