Defining the Industry Standard
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for detailed information on the competencies required to perform successfully in particular environmental occupations including: meteorology, greenhouse gas, and water and wastewater.
The founding documents of ECO Canada’s initiatives with respect to employment in the environmental sector are National Occupational Standards (NOS).
National Occupational Standards are the competencies an individual requires to perform successfully in a particular occupation. They are comprised of a set of statements describing the standard acceptable skills and knowledge requirements of professionals. NOS are considered the benchmarks against which people of a particular profession measure their level of performance and competency.
All of ECO Canada’s NOS are compiled using a methodology that relies heavily on broad-based input from professionals in the field. Using this bottom-up approach, in conjunction with the guidance of senior experts, ECO Canada strives to ensure the standards are of the highest quality and relevance – creating an accurate depiction of current and emerging competencies.
What do National Occupational Standards consist of?
National Occupational Standards depict competencies in the form of statements, which assumes they have already been demonstrated by the professional measuring his or herself against it. NOS may consist of 3 different types of competency statements:
Core Knowledge Competencies describe a body of knowledge that a professional needs to have in order to perform successfully. Referring to the below diagram, these core knowledge forms the basis for overall competency in environmental work;
Transferable Competencies build off of core knowledge and describe behaviors or “soft skills” that contribute to the successful performance of technical work; and
Technical Competencies are statements describing the ability to perform a task or a series of activities that together produce a measurable result.
How are National Occupational Standards developed?
All of ECO Canada’s NOS follow a rigorous methodology for development that is designed to engage professionals at every step of the process:
Step 1: Define & Document
Work with senior advisors to create a clear definition for the occupation. Once the occupation is defined in terms of responsibility and scope, ECO Canada consults existing literature and works with professionals to document competencies needed to be successful.
Step 2: Verify
Conduct a series of national focus groups to verify the accuracy and validity of competency statements.
Step 3: Survey
Launch a national online survey asking professionals to rate the importance of each competency statement relative to their own areas of specialization. The competency statements and rating are then arranged into competency profiles for each main area.
Step 4: Validate
Conduct a final series of national focus groups to validate the newly created competency profiles. This ensures that ratings assigned to each statement accurately measure each area of specialization.
How often are the National Occupational Standards updated?
National Occupational Standards are updated approximately every 5 years to ensure they remain reflective of emerging areas in an ever-changing industry.
How are the National Occupational Standards used?
In addition to being used as a guide for hiring practices, National Occupational Standards are used to inform employment models; educate students about environmental professions; aid professionals to meet the standards of their profession; and to develop training curricula. In some cases, NOS may even be used by organizations for inform pay grades for employees.
Most notably, National Occupational Standards form the basis for all certification programs offered through ECO Canada. For more information, please the section of our website dedicated to EP certification »