The Three Stages of Training, Development and Competence

 In Blog

We are going to spend a little bit of time looking at the three stages of Training, Development and Competence.

By doing so, we will give a bit more insight into how we can move employees through these key stages, helping them to become competent in their roles.

Training, Development and Competence

The diagram above highlights what we, of course, already know: that it takes time to acquire skills and it takes time to move to the competent stage.

However, there are key inputs that can help with this process and help us move the employee to the stage of being competent.

Step One: Task Induction

At this stage, the focus for the employee is on initial induction to the task, initial training (perhaps as an overview of the whole task) and the opportunity to observe the task being completed by someone who is competent in this area.

Throughout this step, you are aiming for the employee to:

  • Gain basis task awareness
  • Understand the basic techniques
  • Be aware of the key principles supporting the task
  • Gradually build more task awareness
  • Understand the key techniques involved
  • Have an awareness of the main procedures.

This may take time to achieve and different people will need a different amount of time and input.  It is important to reassure the employee being trained that he or she can ask questions, they can ask to see the task again and they have time to reflect on what they have seen.

If possible, it is a good idea to give them something to read or, if possible, to watch afterwards when they want to re-visit the task or to refresh their memories.

Finally, encourage them to take notes as you go through the training.  It is surprising how many people will not do this without being prompted.

Step Two: On the Job Training, Coaching and Close Supervision

This step covers quite a broad range of training inputs.

The exact combination will vary depending on the employee being trained and depending on the task involved.  You might involve other people in the training and coaching but keep a clear picture of what you are trying to achieve, and make sure that the employee does not get overwhelmed.

On the Job Training

It can be easy with this stage of training to squeeze the training in, perhaps not allocating the right amount of time.  Compared to off the job training, on the job training can easily be less important and not given the correct focus.


Coaching is an important part of the process and is an effective way to keep providing feedback, perhaps tweaking direction and to help the employee become more confident in different parts of the task.

Close Supervision

It is tempting, especially if the training has been time consuming, to leave the employee to complete the task on their own.  It is critical to not make that leap too early.

Throughout this step, the focus is to help the employee:

  • Build knowledge of the techniques and procedures associated with the task
  • Gain the ability to perform the basic tasks
  • Be able to communicate during the task.

Step Three: Competence Assessment

At this stage, you are aiming to get to the point where your employee can be assessed as competent in the task.  The training for this level of competence is complete and you want to complete the assessment so that you and the employee are happy that the employee is competent as required.

At this step, before completing the competence assessment, you want to be sure that the employee:

  • Can perform the routine elements of the task unsupervised
  • Has a good understanding of the task as well as a good understanding of his or her own limitations
  • Can deal with discrepancies within the task where the task does not go directly according to plan

Once you are happy that the employee is ready to be assessed as competent, you need to ensure that:

  • The employee is happy to be assessed now
  • The circumstances are right for the assessment
  • You explain clearly what you are going to do
  • Provide clear feedback and if the employee is not yet competent, be clear on what needs to happen for him or her to be competent in the task.

If you would like any more information or would like to speak to one of us, please contact us on:

Tel: +44 (0)1651 873398


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