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  Title The competency standard manual for pipeline integrity management
  Author(s) Michelle Unger and Dr Phil Hopkins  
  Abstract PIPELINE INDUSTRY REGULATIONS and standards require pipeline operators to have personnel (including contractors) to be ‘qualified’ in the tasks they perform, and have appropriate levels of ‘competence’ in terms of education, training, knowledge and experience. The pipeline operator has to define these needs, and provide the relevant training.

Competency is the ability to perform a task to a specified level, but how do operators demonstrate and prove their personnel are competent? Competence is demonstrated and proven through assessment. Competency can be assessed against a standard: ‘competency standards’ provide a common definition of a competency, with its required skills, knowledge and experience. They offer significant benefits to management, as they provide objective evidence of staff competence, set measurable standards of performance, facilitate staff progression, and assist in staff appraisals.

Demonstrating competence involves a minimum of two steps:

• Evidence of competence: Individual competencies are assessed using an agreed standard (the competency standard) containing the required skills, knowledge and experience for that competency. Individuals with documented and validated evidence that meets the requirements of the competency standard are awarded a ‘qualification’ in that competency.

• ASsessment of competence: Where there is insufficient or incomplete evidence, an assessment (e.g., examination or interview) is necessary to ensure that individuals are competent to undertake their job tasks. This assessment is conducted using the requirements specified in the competency standard.

Currently, competency standards are set by individual pipeline operating companies in accordance with their duty holder responsibilities, and are applied through the company-specific recruitment, promotion and contractor selection procedures. There is no agreed method for developing, writing, and applying these standards.

This document is a manual, giving guidance and a process for writing competency standards using a simple, goal-setting approach, which will complement existing in-house standards, and published standards, but it is emphasised that any competency standard gives the minimum requirements for a competency.

The document also summarises some of the competency standards needed for pipeline integrity management personnel, with examples of these standards. Additionally, guidance on assessing competency is detailed.

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