Unit of Competency Explained

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What is a unit of competency?

In my time working as a trainer, I’ve heard this question one too many times.

Units of competency are nationally agreed benchmarks that assess the required skills and knowledge you must have in order to be seen as competent in a particular job or job function.

Each unit of competency has different components, so knowing and understanding the different components can help you plan, execute, and assess training courses more effectively.

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The Components of a Unit

Each unit of competency must have, at its minimum, these core components:


This is basically a short statement that describes the work activity and outcome of the unit.


A broad description of what the intent of the unit will be, covering the skills, knowledge, and work function.


Elements help you define the key skills and sub tasks needed to carry out their job or task.

Performance Criteria

These clearly defines the workplace activities to be carried out and specifies the required level of performance for each activity, skill, or element.

Required Skills and Knowledge

Refers to the knowledge that students need to know to perform tasks or activities in a specific manner. Skills is the application of that knowledge in various workplace scenarios.

Range Statement

Range statements have been removed from many training packages but if you encounter some of them, they’ll help you to contextualize the elements and performance criteria to various industries.

Evidence Guide

The basis of every assessment is the evidence which students have to provide to demonstrate their competency. There are two types of evidence namely:

Knowledge Evidence, where you ask, what core facts and theory does the student need to learn before he can perform the tasks?

Performance Evidence, where you ask, what must the student demonstrate to show they can do the job?

Assessment Conditions

These guide trainers and assessors on the minimum conditions required for assessment to take place and sets out the equipment, timings and resources needed for assessment.



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