From Robots to Competence Management Systems…
…and everything in-between
Back in 2004 Gabe was working as an assessor and verifier for a consultancy firm within the Railway Industry. Managing lots of paper-based forms, working to pre-set assessment dates and following a compliance led approach, he quickly got very frustrated and felt the whole process was like a ‘sausage factory of assessments’. He could see there was lots of potential to develop individuals and let them take responsibility for their own competence, but there were no tools available to automate it. Using this process, individuals would be assessed at a point in time but the areas of improvement that were captured would disappear into a huge void, only be discussed the next time an assessment was due.
Their approach was to find someone with vision within the Railway industry who was willing to take a risk and convince them to invest in their idea!
Gabe’s initial concept was to create a portable solution that would empower the assessor to enable them to grade individuals in real-time, whilst they were doing their job. Candidates would then focus on the areas they needed to learn and work with the assessor to help identify areas of weakness, improve their skills and ultimately do their job better.
A simple app wasn’t going to suffice. They needed to build a database with reliable data and information for individuals at all levels – the drivers, assessors and senior managers, who needed to understand competency levels across the whole organisation at any point in time.
They met with C2C in April 2010, the day the iPad was released and proposed that C2C go totally paper free and use the tablet to manage their staff’s competency levels. C2C had the vision to see the benefits this would bring to their organisation and gave them the green light! AssessTech worked closely with C2C to develop the first app.
Gabe and Jools realised they couldn’t deliver a client as large as GWR on their own. They needed to build a team, and quickly. Sally came on board to run the operation and in 2013 they decided to reform AssessTech with Gabe, Jools and Sally as directors of the business.
By working with GWR, AssessTech were able to gather relevant information to expand individual modules and develop a very powerful industry standard platform, linking competency to incident and route management. Gabe was mining the industry for information, Sally was engaging customers and Jools was developing ACMS to create a robust industry focused platform.
“Because of the safety critical nature of the Railway industry, train operating companies are understandably cautious with new technology. It was critical for us to align ourselves to the key steps and pace at which our customers wanted to move forward in order to provide a solution that met their needs. From cardboard to where we are now is light years apart, and with our excellent customer service, ACMS is definitely the number 1 choice for developmental competency management in the UK Railway Industry. The defining point on my journey with AssessTech was watching Dr James T Reason’s video, Just Culture. His concept of the Swiss Cheese theory in identifying latent and inactive failures aligned itself to the Railways’ culture of incident causes. This concept confirmed that ACMS would be a great tool to identify those holes in current processes.”
In Summary, good developmental competency management only exists when you have:
- Access to the right information and data you need to learn
- Planning- empowering your candidate to manage their own competency level
- Excellent feedback and relevant questions from your assessor to ensure individuals self-manage their own competency
- Verification – streamlining the assessors to create a standardised approach