Being able to demonstrate experience is one thing – being able to demonstrate competence is another. To meet this need, the International Marine Contractors Association has developed an electronic document that covers both
The phrase “I’ll send you my CV” could soon be a thing of the past as far as freelance personnel working in the marine contracting industry are concerned.
Before long, they will be offering to send their IMCA freelance competence e-portfolio – a dynamic document used to record the competence of tasks pertinent to the individual’s prospective employment.
The IMCA e-portfolio, which is intended to provide competence assurance to a contractor and their client, is being launched initially in IMCA’s offshore survey division in April 2018, before being made available to the other technical disciplines covered under its competence and training remit.
What has brought this about? Increasingly, contractors are reliant on freelance personnel. Currently, the main tool used to assess their competence is a curriculum vitae (CV, or résumé).
As Gavin Smith of Caledonia Competence, vice-chair of IMCA’s Competence and Training (C&T) Committee, explained “Traditionally, CVs have been the only mechanism available to freelance personnel when they were asked to demonstrate their suitability for a role.
“However, the need to demonstrate competence in addition to experience means that a CV is no longer enough for many IMCA member companies. Indeed, IMCA members are now more focused on the need for evidence showing that a freelancer is competent for the role.
“While some companies have already moved to an e-portfolio for their own personnel, the need to make something available to the freelance population, and in turn the agencies and contractors that they represent, is a significant step forward for our industry.”
As IMCA’s Nick Hough, technical adviser – HSSE, competence and training, survey and ROV, explained, the association’s offshore survey division, in conjunction with the C&T core committee, set up a workgroup to develop an easy, cost-effective and measurable way to assess and verify the competence of freelance personnel agency workers and subcontractors.
The freelance competence e-portfolio is based on IMCA’s existing competence framework and consists of an explanatory introduction with examples, FAQs, a customisable Excel spreadsheet and supplementary information.
These documents can be used for observation records (an assessor’s summary of the task they observed a candidate performing in the workplace), questioning records (Q&As between an assessor and a candidate), witness testimonies (used to record specific events that have been observed by a work colleague) and candidate testimonies (which the freelancer uses to demonstrate knowledge when observation is not possible and the criteria too wide ranging for questioning).
Mr Hough explained that the first step will be for freelance personnel to undergo a self-assessment process whereby their competence is assessed with or without supporting evidence using the relevant competence table within the e-portfolio. This self-assessment process is intended to act as an informal tool for the individual to benchmark themselves against and identify areas for assessment rather than be a formal proof of competence.
The freelancer will then compile evidence to support their self-assessment. Closing the competence gaps that they have identified during self-assessment, by planning and seeking assistance, will be an important next step in the process.
“We are looking forward to the initial roll-out and then widening the scope to all our technical divisions throughout 2018,” Mr Hough said.