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BESTT Pilot project - Assessment of Competence.

BESTT was approached by the Kent and East Sussex Railway (KESR) Carriage and Wagon Manager, Paul Wilson to assist in the development and implementation of a system to manage the departments staff competencies. It has been a requirement for heritage organizations to demonstrate that they have appropriate arrangements in place.

Railways are subject to the requirements of the Health and safety at Work Act and supporting Regulations such as the Management of Health and Safety and Rail and other Guided Transport Regulations. These have specific requirements to assess potential hazards and address specific controls for work that is deemed to pose a risk to transportation. One aspect is to have in place a 'Safety Management System' which requires a supporting competency system.

Traditionally organizations have deemed staff capable of certain duties and authorized them based on previous skill and experience or simply that they presently perform the function adequately. Now the requirement is to establish these arrangements formally supported with records, training requirements, identified previous experience and importantly 'on going' assessments to demonstrate and improve competence.

Having assisted the KESR there are further opportunities and BESTT has the personnel capable of providing this service.

Two phases of assistance has been completed and BESTT presented the Carriage and Wagon Dept with a suite of documents. These cover Competency Policy, Schedules of Competencies (supported by training, experience, recording and assessment requirements). The pilot project also delivered specific Assessment Forms and a range of these have been produced for railway vehicle maintenance and general health and safety functions.

The Competency Management System is not just about paperwork. BESTT also provides coaching to Workshop staff to develop their awareness and understanding to carry out assessments and persuade volunteers to become involved in the improvement process.

As a result of becoming involved and completing the Pilot scheme BESTT has had enquiries from heritage centres.

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