Maximising on the Effectiveness of Competence Management

RSSB’s human factors guidance and tools support the rail industry’s competency development frameworks. These also provide drivers and their managers with helpful techniques to use during periods of change.

Competency development and identifying training needs

A good competency framework will help define the knowledge, skills, and attributes required by a workforce. It is important to recognise that different roles within organisations have their own set of competency requirements. 

RSSB’s Competence Development Good Practice Guide was developed for people who are involved in the analysis, design, delivery, review or assessment of training and other competence management activities. It is designed to act as a reference manual and source of inspiration to help users ‘pick and choose’ ideas that are useful and practical depending on their needs.

The guide pulls together practical guidance from research projects and in-depth case studies that demonstrate how companies have adopted these approaches to suit their business needs. The guide also considers the future of competence management, detailing technologies and relevant mediums that support the implementation of innovative concepts. There is also signposting to practical tools and additional information.

One of these tools is the risk-based training needs analysis (RBTNA) toolkit. Specifically, this tool helps to identify how risks can be managed while aligning learning, assessment and competence management activities with the needs of both the learner and the organisation. For example, in a safety critical operational role such as a train driver or a signaller, breaking down tasks and mapping the non-technical skills (NTS) necessary will inform where the risks lie and where training needs to be prioritised. The tool can be used to design and implement more effective and beneficial training by focussing on essential areas that support the development of competence management systems.  

The toolkit can be downloaded by RSSB members free of charge, or for a one-off fee for non-members.  

Managing change and support for staff 

Managing change can be one of the biggest challenges within an organisation. RSSB’s human factors team have developed good practice guidance (GPG) to support driver’s on routes undergoing significant change. This guidance shares the effects and potential management techniques required to help prepare and support drivers through significant changes to infrastructure or operational changes to their routes. The guidance is particularly aimed at managers who are part of the change process, as part of the Common Safety Method (CSM) regulations. It aims to provide information to individuals who need to understand, manage or contribute constructively to the analysis, design, delivery, review or assessment of driver briefing during periods of significant change. GPG is relevant to those with an interest in driver management, operations, project management, and briefing (including the learners themselves). The guidance is modular in its structure so that it can be read based on the topics that are the most relevant to the change management process or read in its entirety.

RSSB’s Route Knowledge Management guidance document provides best practice guidance for the development of route learning processes, materials, and assessments. This guidance document is aimed at individuals responsible for making decisions about route knowledge related activities and those responsible for developing training material. This sets out a new approach to route learning that has been scientifically trialled with a range of railway undertakings. The document contains practical guidance and case studies to illustrate how the approach can be implemented in different organisations.

RSSB’s ‘Managing driver managers’ guidance provides a framework for understanding the issues within organisations. It aims to generate thought and share information across the industry with regards to reported driver manager issues, why they occur and the practices that have been found beneficial. On the whole, this helps to identify the issues that affect driver managers, the reasons they occur and the type of solutions that may be appropriate.

Improving operational decision making 

A better, safer railway relies on good operational decision making. RSSB have designed the G-FORCE tool for use in situations where staff have to make decisions in an operational environment. The tool is based on decision-making aids used in aviation, the military and the emergency services. It is not intended to be specific to any particular situation; instead, it guides the user through a logical, structured decision-making process. It avoids the natural human tendency to jump straight from problem to solution without fully considering the options and risks.

RSSB also offer human factors training to accompany the G-FORCE tool.

Log in or register to keep reading
Register for free individual access
  • Unlock research, articles and more
  • Get updates on RSSB’s activities





Need some help?
To talk to us about accessing RSSB content or corporate membership:
Cookies help us improve your website experience.
By using our website, you agree to our use of cookies.