Keeping a record of past experiences in the industry is a valuable part of competence assessment. Kate Foreman explains
It is interesting that a good learning needs analysis may well generate the call for no more than additional reading and reassessment, but on the other hand, in the right hands, it may well highlight the need for substantial training or retraining.One of the major factors of establishing a new and robust training and competence scheme is the ability to establish the 'where are we now' in terms of competence to do the job in hand.However, there must be something still lacking if the whole world of competence measurement starts with the announcement that the FSA is taking over general insurance regulation and requires (through the EU Mediation Directive) that all practitioners should be competent to do the jobs they do.Let us all accept that robust learning needs analysis and competence assessment is the way forward, but if someone worked in this industry for over 30 years, surely there must be something in the process that values what they have done and not just what they know and can do now.I refer of course to all those things that a practitioner has done before the current round of competence assessments and pose the question as to whether anything that has gone before has any part in the measurement of competence today?Consider a company balance sheet. From day to day it measures the assets and liabilities of a company and comes up with a positive or a negative. Competence assessment is not dissimilar. It is a measure at a point in time and as soon as that point has passed the measurement is out of date.So, supervision and monitoring takes the place of the finance director, managing and observing the balance sheet of competence on an ongoing basis. If the asset balance falls below zero, direct supervision is required and the ailing practitioner is coached and assisted back to a positive balance.But what about the profit and loss account of competence. What about all those things we have done right over a career (profit) and all those things we have done wrong (loss). Does our past record of experience count for nothing?I want to introduce the idea of recording experience in the industry and keeping that information on individual learning files. Next week we'll look at how we might accredit that experience in terms of up to date competence.Stop what you are doing now and have a look at either your own learning file or at the generic format that your firm has adopted.What type is it? Is it a minimalistic, two-dimensional knowledge and understanding assessment of how you undertake your current job, your past job record and your qualifications, or is it a record that seeks to document more detail of the experiences and life-long learning that brings you to the position you are now?What would that record look like if it also detailed your key experiences, successes and failures.Many learning files will have little record of past career, so we have to consider a structure that will make the information useful.
Experience factorsBluntly, these can be whatever suits your firm. Here is a list of some of the 'experience factors' that we know brokers have been able to draw on in the past: