Supporting the transition to competency-based training

The move to competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) should not be underestimated.


Although it is a concept that has been around for several years and first emerged in maintenance training, it has recently gained mainstream attention for dangerous goods training.

The move to competency-based training creates opportunities for organizations to improve training effectiveness, increase productivity, and improve customer satisfaction.

In CBTA, both the employer and the employee benefit. Moreover, the approach creates a positive workplace environment and stronger relationship between the employee and employer.

And though many organizations claim to have fully implemented CBTA, the reality is that few do it successfully.

“CBTA is fit for purpose training,” says Yaniv Sorany, IATA’s Senior Manager Certifications. “It becomes a driver of performance and so can have an enormous impact. It facilitates the best approach for fulfilling a business objective and ensures the workforce is productive in a safe, secure, sustainable way.”

In a traditional educational system, the training is focused on subject contents and the delivery of instruction is time based and instructor centered. The course contents are based on defined training objectives and an assumed homogenous level of knowledge from the participants, whose entry competencies are seldom evaluated before training commences. This approach can therefore fail to address an individual’s needs.

In CBTA, the delivery is based on the training requirements for performing defined tasks, and, as such, is learner centered. The goal of CBTA is to provide focused training for a competent workforce. It is a systematic method based on three principles:

  1. identification of the key competencies and skills to be achieved
  2. determination of the most effective way of achieving these competencies
  3. creation of tools for valid and reliable assessment measurement.

“When training is customized and focused on specific tasks, it improves knowledge, skills, performance, and job satisfaction,” says Sorany.


Dangerous goods

In 2019, ICAO made CBTA mandatory in dangerous goods training and this was duly included in the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR). This has now become the standalone Dangerous Goods Training Guidance.

Recognizing the challenge faced by many organizations to transform traditional educational systems into CBTA while keeping up with industry requirements and regulations, IATA established the CBTA Centers program.

CBTA Center is the global accreditation authority on recognizing organizations for compliance with the training provisions for dangerous goods under a CBTA approach. Accredited training organizations can provide learners with internationally recognized qualifications with co-branded IATA course certificates.

The program further aims to support organizations across the aviation industry to develop capacity and resources for dangerous goods training programs based on CBTA and in compliance with international and industry standards.

The objective of the CBTA Centers program is to:

  • Establish, maintain, and monitor a globally recognized accreditation program for competency-based dangerous goods training on a worldwide basis and in a cost-effective manner.
  • Elevate workforce competency and improve performance of air transport.
  • Contributes to the safe, secure, and efficient air transport of dangerous goods shipments.
  • Support the industry to develop capacity and resources to transition to CBTA approach.

Raise the bar in the industry and give visibility to certified organizations.

CBTA Centers support organizations in developing capacity and resources for dangerous goods training programs based on CBTA. They offer the aviation workforce high-quality and effective training that meets international standards.


Effective performance

CBTA Centers are having an increasing influence in the CBTA sphere.  There are:

  • 164 CBTA Centers and 50 in progress
  • CBTA Centers in 64 countries
  • 460 trained instructors
  • 70,000 people were trained in 2022
  • 100,000 have been trained since the start of the program in July 2021

“CBTA is based on the learner and not on subject content or someone’s job title,” Sorany concludes. “And CBTA Centers enable not only regulatory compliance but ensure operational excellence through a high quality and effective performance. CBTA is good for the employee and good for the business.”


Credit | iStock