Implementing CBTA at an organisation

CBTA Series 2 – Implementing Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) within your organisation

– Allan Whyte (Certified AvSec Instructor U.K. and Ireland).

Legislative Note: This blog post references Annex H from IATA’s Dangerous Good Regulations (63rd Edition – effective 1st January 2022) which is the current legislative document at the time of writing. Credit IATA


Welcome to the second instalment Butterfly Training’s Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) series.

If you missed the first post I would recommend reviewing that before reading this post, it serves as an introduction to CBTA and will hopefully set the scene for this post. The previous blog post, entitled – “So what is competency based training and assessment cbta” (can be reviewed by clicking on the title).

As we saw, the main benefit of a competency-based approach to training and assessment is its potential to encourage and enable personnel to reach their highest level of capability while ensuring a basic level of competence as a minimum standard. This is achieved by:

(a) targeting function specific training needs;

(b) supporting continuous learning and performance improvement;

(c) gearing towards learning rather than simply passing a test;

(d) ensuring the integration of knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience needed to perform a job at the required level of proficiency;

(e) supporting the application of safety management systems (SMS); and

(f) establishing sufficient, well-trained and competent trainers.

Ensuring personnel can competently perform their functions is critical to any organisation. A competent workforce can not only reduce cost caused by unnecessary shipment rejections or delays and miscommunication of job expectations but also improve safety by reducing the number of wrongdoings associated with incompetent performance. One of the classic examples is that, identifying, classifying, packing, marking, labelling and documenting dangerous goods for transport are critical to the safe transport of dangerous goods by air. The operator depends on these functions being competently performed by those preparing and offering a consignment for transport so that they are aware of the hazards posed and the required measures to mitigate them. If personnel performing these functions are not trained to competently perform them, unknown risks may be introduced into air transport. Herewith another practical example, for packages that are restricted to carriage only on cargo aircraft, the shipper must always affix the “Cargo Aircraft Only” label on the same surface of a package near the hazard label(s). If the “Cargo Aircraft Only” label is affixed on a different surface than the hazard label(s), the package will be rejected, and the shipper will have to make the correction before tendering the shipment again. On some occasions, shippers may even have to travel to the office from the cargo terminal for making the necessary correction, which can be time consuming and costly.

Through the implementation of a competency-based training and assessment approach, employees will have a better understanding on the task(s) involved in the function that they need to perform and the level of proficiency that they must achieve.

Components of a Competency- Based Training and Assessment Program

FIGURE H.4.A: Competency—Based Training and Assessment Components (Credit IATA)

The following components, as summarised in are essential for forming a competent workforce for the safe and efficient transport of dangerous goods by air:

(a)  a training specification that describes the purpose of training, the task list and the requirements that must be fulfilled when designing the training;

(b)  an assessment plan providing the process and tools for gathering valid and reliable evidence at different stages during training;

(c)  a training plan describing the training required to achieve the competencies;

(d)  training and assessment materials, and any other organisational resources need to implement training and assessment plans; and

(e)  a program evaluation report.

Establishing Competency- Based Training and Assessment Programs

FIGURE H.5.0.A: Competency—Based Training and Assessment Workflows (Credit IATA)

Establishing competency-based training and assessment programs can involve five phases:

  • analyse,
  • design,
  • develop,
  • implement and
  • evaluate.

Phase 1—Analyse Training Needs

FIGURE H.5.1.A: Phase 1—Analysing the Training Needs (Credit IATA)

The first phase in the development and implementation of a competency-based training and assessment program is to analyse the training needs. Analysing the training needs is very important because the needs identified will form the basis of the type(s) of training and assessment methodologies to be required. Training needs are specific to the employer’s environment and requirements, largely dependent on the internal process flow.

The objectives of this phase are:

(a)  to identify the purpose of the training;

(b)  to define the job functions that related to dangerous goods, establish task list(s) with the competency factors associated with the job functions; and

(c)  to determine various requirements, such as oper-ational, technical, regulatory and organisational requirements.

Phase 2—Design Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA)

FIGURE H.5.2.A: Phase 2—Design Competency-Based Training and Assessment Plans

Analysis of the training needs will form the foundation of the competency-based training and assessment program, and this phase will develop the backbone of the program.

This phase includes designing two major components based on the training specification produced in the previous phase:

  • an assessment plan that will be used to assess the competence of trainees;
  • a training plan that will enable the development and delivery of the training course.

Phase 3—Develop the Training and Assessment Materials

FIGURE H.5.3.A: Phase 3—Develop the Training and Assessment Materials

In this phase of developing and implementing a competency-based training and assessment program, the training designer will have to develop the training and assessment materials based on the training and assessment plans derived from Phase 2. Typical training and assessment materials include training notes, student handbook, case studies, presentations, video clips, examinations, practical exercises and on-the-job-observations.

Phase 4 – Train in Accordance with the Training and Assessment Plans

FIGURE H.5.4.A: Phase 4—Train in Accordance with the Training and Assessment Plans

When the training and assessment materials are well prepared, the training designers should determine the facilities, equipment, and training and assessment personnel required to conduct the training as planned. For the core dangerous goods training course(s), the course instructor will be the training and assessment personnel. In the cases where third-party training service providers are partnered with, the facilities and equipment for conducting the core dangerous training courses may already be included in the solution offered by the service providers.

Phase 5—Evaluate the Training and Assessment Program

FIGURE H.5.5.A: Phase 5—Evaluate the Training and Assessment Program

The employer is responsible for ensuring the effectiveness of the training program. At the end of a period of training, feedback from the trainees, and training and assessment personnel should be gathered to determine the effectiveness of the training and assessment program in supporting the progression of learning towards competence in the workplace. Evaluation of the training should be based on valid and reliable evidence such as course results, trainee feedback, reports from other training and assessment personnel, audit reports, and occurrence reports. This evaluation may lead to changes or improvements being made to the competency-based training and assessment design. Either the employer or their appointed assessor is responsible for evaluating the effectiveness of the training program. If this responsibility is outsourced to an appointed assessor, this person should be made familiar to the company’s process in developing the whole program from the very first phase.


While the above processes might seem daunting most entities who have a current DG training system in place should find that incorporating CBTA into your training programme is quite straightforward, it is worth requesting a no obligation and free of charge phone call to discuss CBTA in your organisation.

Butterfly Training can conduct a Training Needs Analysis (TNA) report, assist with implementing the Gap analysis and updating your DG manual to reflect the incorporation of new CBTA training competencies. Whatever assistance you require, we will be on hand to assist.

Contact Us to discuss Competency Based Training and Assessment at your organisation