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What is Competence?


Definitions of competence are not difficult to come by. Many diverse sources attempt to define and explain what competence is. In fact it could be said that competence is over defined rather than ill defined.

It is safe to say that competence involves many things. Definitions of competence that talk purely about the skills needed for a job, or definitions which emphasis only what someone should know for a job, are not satisfactory.

The ‘All Rounder’ or holistic approach to defining competence would appear to be the most satisfactory. Competence in this context is taken as someone’s ability to carry out skills, demonstrate knowledge, attitudes, values and professional judgement across a range of situations.

Competence in this interpretation is ever-changing and needs therefore to be maintained. Assessing competence is correspondingly complex and requires observation, questioning and examination over a period of time in a range of situations.