This is a guide to using CPD frameworks for your continuing professional development (CPD).

What Is Competence?

Competence can be defined as the ability to perform activities to the standards required in employment using an appropriate mix of knowledge, skill and attitude.

To determine whether you are competent you will need to define the knowledge, skills and attitude required for the tasks you undertake in your role.

These should include both specific technical aspects and generic skills and behaviours.  Together these form the overall competences required for a role and make a framework.

Building competence frameworks can be a complex process and it is best if they are benchmarked against similar roles in other organisation or sectors.

In many areas, this work has already been done and there are several existing frameworks that you can draw on to provide the basis for your personal competence profile, for example NHS.

There are also other sector or role specific frameworks that you can use and many larger organisations create their own.

How to Identify The Competencies You Need

Where possible, here on professional care skills, we recommend using your employers framework if one is available.  If not, you can use existing frameworks to make an individual profile that reflects your role.

Alternatively, you may choose to create your own competence statements from scratch.  This route is not ideal unless you work in a role that is very specific and not represented by an existing framework.

Assessing Your Level of Competence

Existing frameworks usually have a formal scale or grading system and guidance on how to assess your level of competence.

If you have created your own competence statements or are using a framework without guidance, you’re likely to find assessing them to be fairly difficult without some indicators to help you, so you will need to set your own.

When using competence to plan and monitor your CPD, you should re-assess your level of competence regularly, usually once a year.

You may find it helpful to share your assessments with a mentor who can provide calibration of your self-assessment and act as a sounding board for ideas about your ongoing development.

When sharing your assessment, it will be very helpful to provide context to help anyone else who seen it to understand the circumstances in which you operate.

A statement of context might include information about your sector and role, the level of responsibility you hold and any specific technologies or equipment that you use.

Recording Your Competence

Keeping a record of your assessments will help you show increasing competence over time.  It may be useful to map your desired level of competence against your current level to identify gaps you need to work on and help monitor your development.