Student Resource Centre

What are Competency Based Procurement Qualifications?

The Procurement Diplomas are “competency” based meaning that you have to prove your competency in the procurement/supply chain activities covered by the qualifications. You will be expected to do this by putting a portfolio together using outputs of your work e.g. tender docs, emails, contract docs, spreadsheets etc...The qualifications are very practical as you will be expected to demonstrate your procurement skills and both you and your organisation will be effectively benchmarked against the qualifications which represent good procurement/supply chain practice. If there are any gaps in your systems and procedures, the qualifications will highlight these.  These qualifications can also be used as an effective personal development tool i.e. by selecting optional units for activities which may be currently outside your current role with the organisation providing the appropriate opportunities for you to gain the required experience to prove your competency for these units.

Who are these qualifications suitable for?

These work-based qualifications are suitable for procurement/supply chain practitioners who wish to prove their competency and demonstrate the application of knowledge and understanding in the workplace instead of perhaps taking knowledge based exams only.  These qualifications have the support of major UK employers both in the Public and Private Sector and provide a significant amount of knowledge, understanding and skills development that underpins occupational competence in the Procurement and Supply Chain Sector.

The Structure of QCF Competency Based Qualifications

QCF qualifications are available for almost any occupation you care to mention however, whilst the fundamental format of the qualification is universal, each occupational QCF has its own distinct specification or ‘Framework Document’.

Qualifications that use the QCF rules are made up of units. This provides flexible ways to get a qualification. Each unit has a credit value which tells you how many credits are awarded when a unit is completed. The credit value also gives an indication of how long it will normally take you to prepare for a unit or qualification.  One credit will usually take you 10 hours of learning.

All QCF qualifications are divided into sections, with the main differentiation between the sections being those which contain the mandatory ‘units of competence’ and those which contain the ‘optional units of competence’.
The mandatory units within a QCF qualification will generally be concerned with what are considered to be the fundamental competencies required by any individual in that occupation. All students undertaking the qualification will therefore be required to complete these units. The mandatory units generally make up approximately 30% - 50% of the total units required for any particular qualification.
The optional units provides Qube Vocational Development Ltd with the scope to bespoke the qualification to meet the specific needs of both the student and their employer. The optional units generally make up 50% - 70% of the qualification.
In order to simplify this explanation, the following is a definition of each of the components which together make up a competency based qualification:

Unit of Competence

A Unit of Competence describes what the student is expected to do in a particular aspect of their job, for example in the Procurement Diploma unit might be concerned with how a student manages a contract or how they manage suppliers . A ‘Unit’ is considered to be the smallest part of the qualification that is worthy of individual certification.

Learning Outcomes

Each Unit of Competence has a set of outcomes that will have to be achieved in order to demonstrate competent performance. They are, in effect, statements of competent practical activity.

Assessment Criteria

Assessment Criteria also accompany each Unit of Competence. These express the various activties and/or knowledge and understanding which has to be demonstrated.

Indicative Content

The information under the heading Indicative Content provides more information which is considered essential underpinning knowledge for any individual wishing to demonstrate competence. In effect the student should consider this the theory section of the qualification.

Demonstrating Competence

In order for the assessor to judge whether the student is competent, he or she will need to assess evidence of the student’s performance in the workplace. Performance or ‘product’ evidence as it is sometimes referred to, is the primary form of evidence which the student will include in their ‘Portfolio’ to demonstrate their competence and, which the assessor will use to make a judgement of the students performance against the standards. That said, the following is a listing of other legitimate forms of evidence which can be used by the student as alternative forms of evidence;
Observation: The student may be assessed through observation in the workplace if a convenient assessment opportunity arises. For example, the student may be observed chairing a meeting or making a presentation.
Product evidence: Actual outputs of the students performance in the workplace as referred to above will provide evidence of competence. Work products may include reports, contract documentation, specifications and general communication for example letters, e-mails, memos, minutes of meetings etc.
Simulations or Flexible assessments: These are special assessment occasions arranged within the workplace or away from it for observing performance in specific elements or units. They can be based on projects, assignments, role plays or professional discussion and may be necessary because the activity being assessed, although essential for competence, does not occur frequently as part of normal work.
Witness testimony: Line managers, colleagues and customers, for example, can provide evidence about the students performance in the workplace. This is called witness testimony. It can be oral or written but it must directly relate to the standards and refer specifically to achievements against one or more elements. Witness testimony can be in support of past experiences or provide evidence of current performance.
Historical evidence: The students past experience may provide a great deal of evidence towards the standards. This evidence can be recognised and will justify a claim for credit provided it is authentic, is relevant to the element/units of competence, is sufficiently varied to cover the range and shows that your competence is current. You can use witness testimony as historical evidence.
Questioning: The student may be asked questions, either oral, written or both, to confirm that they possess the knowledge and understanding associated with the competent performance of a task or activity.