In our previous post, we looked at the current IfATE Engineering Technician standard and found that most of its options were potentially misplaced in the current IfATE occupational map. This represents a considerable rework to the map if it were to be repurposed for a wider audience as a skills framework.
To illustrate the type of rework to be done across the map, follow us through the example shown below. The current Engineering Technician standard sits in the Quality Improvement and Project Control Technician occupational cluster (1). If we look at the standard itself, we see it actually has 13 options (2). Either by expert review, or occupational information analysis with O*NET – or, more likely, by a combination of the two – we would most likely expect to place the Technical Support Technician option in one of the clusters shown in (3), while the Product Design and Development Technician would most likely cross the career pathways as shown in (4).
This process starts to make the map look like a map of occupations rather than standards – the starting point for a skills framework. However, what a world-class skills framework should, arguably, include is an indication of progression (both in seniority and laterally, perhaps even across career pathways) together with information on skills, competences and perhaps qualifications needed to facilitate progression.
For example, what would a Technical Support Technician, properly reassigned as a role in one of the clusters on the current map, need to acquire to become a Process Leader as shown (admittedly, as a standard at this stage) in (5)?
A starting point is shown in the diagram below. By mapping the current occupational clusters to one or more O*NET occupations (for simplicity we’ve only taken two occupations here, we can see the additional competences around areas such as resource management, commercial activities and leadership that are typically needed in progressing from technician to technologies.
This, in turn, may lead us to begin redrawing the current occupational map into more of a skills framework format, like this:
 We note here that in so doing, aspiring Product Design and Development Technicians would be better off doing the Design and Development T-Level than the one that we expect will be developed for Manufacturing, Process and Control