“Competence” (or “competent practice”) occurs when a worker, in a specific workplace situation, acts in a safe and effective manner. Competence refers to the big (macro-level) picture, and it occurs in the moment and in the context of practice, in real time. Competence is a subjective measure that can only be determined within a specific context; it is not an objective, threshold-style attribute that a person either possesses or does not.
If we are concerned with worker education or assessment, we need to work at the micro-level and with objective, not subjective, measures. This is where competencies come in.
Competencies are more micro-level abilities that are objectively defined. As such, they can be taught and they can be assessed.
The link between competencies and competence is that possession of (occupational) competencies enables (workplace) competence.
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