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Generic task or a function. The ability to put skills, knowledge and attitudes into practice in order to perform activities or a job in an effective and efficient manner within an occupation or job position to identified standards.



Competence (competency) may be developed through a combination of education, experience and training. A term ‘competency’ is also used for a generic task or a function (e.g. for nuclear facility manager jobs). Achieving competency is generally a two-step process: both education and training is needed, although the weight of these two components may vary. Education is a knowledge-driven process which occurs mainly in accredited academic institutions, whereas training is an application-driven process occurring either on the site of the work, or in specialized training centres. Education aims creating, maintaining and transmitting knowledge - mostly basic and general knowledge, which can be used in many fields. On the other hand, training is mainly oriented to acquire specialised knowledge and skills which are necessary to perform a specific job. See Education and Training.

Competency can be viewed as an individual's knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSAs) which can be observed and evaluated. It represents a HRM based view on managing knowledge embedded in individuals and is closely related to qualification of individuals. Competency can be defined as groups of related KSAs needed by a person to perform a particular job [1]. Fig 1 depicts an iceberg model of competency. Self-concept, values, personality are under the surface and not directly observable, but they affect professional behaviour and performance [3].

The concept of competency is often mixed with the related job-task [1]. When describing competencies, a difference should be made between the required task and the competencies which allow a person to perform the task to a standard. These competencies may include knowledge and skills which are not directly connected to the specific task. For example to perform a maintenance task a person usually needs to understand the safety relevance of the task. In simple terms, if a person is competent, he/she is adequately qualified for a job or task. Fundamental competencies that are needed in order to be able to undertake a specific range of jobs are called core competences.

Fig 1: Competency, Ref [3]

Competency management

Development of competency


On-job training


Evaluation of competency



Competency model

Competency map

Competency loss risk assessment


[1]Training the staff of the regulatory body for nuclear facilities: A competency framework, IAEA-TECDOC-1254, 2001,

[2]Competency Assessments for Nuclear Industry Personnel, IAEA, 2006,

[3] Choi, Young-Joon,Plans for Competency-Based Human Resources Management in KINS, In International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes: Building and Sustaining Capacity Strategies for Education and Training, Networking and Knowledge Management, IAEA CN‐215, 2014, pp. 59-62.

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