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Completing the Competence Report: Section A

Put simply, competence is a sufficiency of knowledge and skills that enable someone to act in a wide variety of situations.

In this blog series, we will take each section of the competence report and look in-depth at how best to meet it.

Firstly, take a look at our competence report planner and write a few notes. This will help arm you with your examples right off the bat. Most people have been through an interview, and the principle of selling yourself through detailed, descriptive examples is much the same.

Starting Section A: Application of knowledge and understanding

In this section you will need to tell us about how you utilise your knowledge and understanding in the workplace.

Now that you have your notes, consider the following:

  • What do you know?
  • What do you understand about your role and the tasks at hand?
  • How do you combine these two things, and apply them to your job?
  • What are the overall outcomes of what you do?

These four things are what add up to competence.

1. What do you know?

Think here about the underlying principles or theories behind your work.

Don’t be tempted to think all base knowledge comes from formal qualifications. Many of our registrants did not complete a formal degree, and their specialist knowledge comes from years of working in their field.

What you know can be as simple as what a boiling point is, or as complicated as understanding the entire workings of a machine.

For example:
Apples are nutritious and cheap. Humans need nutritious food like apples to thrive.

2. What do you understand about your role and the task at hand?

Take one of your examples. What needed to be done? Why? What were some of the potential issues or risks? What were you needing to achieve, and why? We want to hear about it! It’s often easier to cut an answer down than it is to build up the detail, so write as much as you can first time.

Building on your example:
I am hungry, and eating will make me full. Not eating, or eating the wrong foods, will risk me becoming ill. Becoming ill will have an impact on my life and the lives of those around me.

3. How do you combine these two things, and apply them to your job?

What was your action? Your action will always be grounded in what your base knowledge is, plus what you know about the task and what needs to be achieved.

Don’t be afraid to be very technical. Your competence report will be assessed by somebody working within your professional body.

Building on your example:
A desire to be healthy led me to choose an apple to satiate my hunger. I ate an apple for its nutritious properties and low cost.

4. What are the overall outcomes of what you do?

What was the result of your action? It can be very easy to write things like “the results were of a higher quality,” but competence is about proving that you know exactly why you do the things you do. You had a reason for aiming for high quality results – what were they and were they achieved? High-quality results aren’t an outcome on their own, but high-quality results could mean that your technique was written up and followed by the whole department, which is a true output.

Wrapping your example up:
After eating an apple, I am no longer hungry, and can concentrate for the next few hours on my job. Due to the increase in productivity, plus the nutritious benefits of the apple, I’ve also decided to keep buying them each week, and my health and career will improve long term.

What not to do

I ate an apple because I was hungry.

This doesn’t tell us anything about your understanding of either the object, task, or desired outcome.

We could make an inference about what you might know, but then we could make those inferences from your job-title alone.

The competence report is about being specific, selling yourself and your skills and really telling us what you know.

Your examples will likely be more complex in RSci than RSciTech, and more so for CSci then RSci, but the principle is always the same.

Head back to your application to get started on your competence report: www.sciencecouncil.org/register

We look forward to welcoming you onto one of our registers soon.

Good luck!

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