Monday, March 2, 2009

Draft Occupational Standards Available for Review by Supply Chain Stakeholders

March 2, 2009, Mississauga, Ontario – The Canadian Supply Chain Sector Council (the CSCSC) has developed 10 draft occupational standards that are available online for review by the sector’s employers, educators and other stakeholders. (Five more standards are in development.) Comments on the standards will be accepted until May 29, 2009, after which the standards will be revised based on feedback, reviewed by the project’s Working Group, and presented to the CSCSC Research Committee and Board for approval. The standards are expected to be finalized and ready for use in October 2009.

Occupational standards describe what a person in a particular occupation must know and be able to do to be considered “competent” at that occupation. Standards are used primarily in human-resources management. They serve, for example, as guidelines for developing job descriptions, for designing and delivering training for the occupation, and to assist employers to explain their expectations to the people working for them. They are used as reference points against which actual practice can be judged. They are also used by educational institutions in the development of curriculum. Generally, occupational standards are a written statement of:

• The skills and abilities required to perform the job in a competent fashion;
• The core knowledge required to perform the job in a competent fashion; and
• The standards of ethical practice expected of practitioners in the occupation.

The CSCSC engaged the Canadian Standards Association (the CSA) to lead this occupational-standards-development project, which is unique in both its approach and format. While the norm for development of an individual occupational standard ranges from three to four years, the CSCSC’s Canadian supply chain occupational standards will have been developed concurrently in only 18 months, using a best-practices approach.

With the project’s Working Group, the CSA identified priority occupations – high-demand occupations or those that require an increased emphasis on training or skills development – from among the 26 NOC codes that identify occupations within the sector, then undertook a review of existing standards, occupational profiles developed by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes and other sources to enable the development of seed documents for review by stakeholder focus groups across Canada. The “draft” documents currently available on the CSCSC’s website are those initial seed documents revised to reflect comments from focus-group participants.

The CSCSC’s draft standards, at an average of 8 to 12 pages in length, reflect industry’s desire for short, clear, simple and usable documents that outline key job tasks and essential knowledge and skills required by the occupation. The occupational standards have been designed for the potential future addition of information related, for example, to job descriptions and educational curriculum.

Upon completion of this project, the CSCSC will have developed 13 to 15 occupational standards, a fast-track process for the efficient development of occupational standards, and a list of priority actions for further work beyond this phase. A proposal has been submitted by the CSCSC to HRSDC for a second phase of this project, which would make possible the creation of a further 10 to 15 occupational standards for the supply chain sector.