Skills, performance and certification

By drwynandgoosen, 11 September, 2013

If a strategic plan can be used to determine the required human capital, and industry experience is used as credit in an integrated system, it implies that there could be a link between skills, performance and eventually, certification. Skill (techne in Greek) is used to denote expertise developed in the course of training and experience. It includes not only trade and craft skills as acquired by apprenticeship, but high-grade performance in many fields, such as professional practice, the arts, games and athletics (Gregory, 1987:715). The performer of the task should match the demands of a task. In order to perform a task, a strategy for implementation must be developed.


There are, according to Gregory (1987:715) three main parts to a skill:

  • Perception of object or events - perceiving all relevant factors
  • Choice of response - making a decision
  • Execution of the choice made - normally requires motor coordination and timing


Senge (2010:15) discusses the development of industry and notes that the world industrialization boasts great success. However, due to this success, certain economic and social challenges developed over time.


It is this very level of achievement that would require the human race to develop a radical change in the way the world is viewed. Thus, if our economic thinking about what we achieve has to change, then so does our thinking about our performance. Not just how well we perform, but at what do we perform? This proposed change would suggest that we measure other things as what we did in the past. In keeping, our award system and recognition of achievement will need to alter. Once this type of thinking is evolved, the certification of the players would also need to change, hopefully for the better.


Drucker (1993) argued that a skill could not be explained in words, it could only be demonstrated. Thus, the only way to learn a skill in the past was through apprenticeship and experience. However, with the introduction of unit standards, skills can now be described, defined and documented in finite detail. Furthermore, it can also be assessed, measured and counted. It can even be mapped against similar skills, on an international basis.


Wade and Parent (2002) explore the mix of organizational and technical skills demanded of Webmasters, and the degree to which those skills influence job performance. The study was composed of two parts. First, a job-content analysis of 800 Webmaster positions in order to determine the mix of skills demanded of Webmasters by employers. Secondly, a survey of 232 Webmasters to test the relationships between those skills and job performance. The job-content analysis suggested that employers seek technical skills over organizational skills, and, in contrast, the survey results showed that Webmasters regard organizational skills as more important in performing their jobs.


The establishment of an empirical link between job skills, workplace learning and job performance, opens the field to further research in the skills of information systems personnel. Middleton (2010:59) believes that talent is either over estimated or undervalued. Thus, the measurement of skills and performance becomes even more important.


The connection between skills, performance and certification should be a continuous line. Required skills should be defined in relation to what is needed for business success. In the section above, the components of required skills are discussed. These required skills ought to function as the performance benchmark for industry as well as for the contents of qualifications. When compliance to the job performance is met, it implies the individual is competent. This supports the compliance of the standard with educational requirements, such as having the appropriate knowledge base. Collectively, these elements imply competency that may be certified, for purposes of a qualification.



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