ACE industry-accepted competency framework

Do you want to be a part of developing the future of consulting skills in Aotearoa? Do you have expertise in Te Ao Māori, operational and business management, delivery, contracts and risk, technology and digitisation and environment and sustainability? We're embarking on a Competency Framework for our industry and need your help. 

At ACE, our vision is that our members set the standard for professionalism in consulting and are New Zealand’s consultants of choice. Being a successful consultant requires more than just technical skills. It must also be underpinned by a range of non-technical skills to provide high-quality service and advice to clients.

For the most part, the education of professionals in our sector focuses on technical skills, with the expectation that non-technical consulting skills are acquired and developed ‘on the job’. Different businesses have their own approaches to the growth and development of their people’s consulting skills, from large firms with mature internal systems to smaller businesses that are challenged for the time and resources to support such programmes, or simply don’t know where to access relevant courses or tools to assist them.

Either way, there is no authoritative framework that sets out the core skills, competencies, and behaviours of a successful consultant, whether a sole trader just starting up or developing their business, small business, or large consultancy. As a result, there is inconsistency across the sector when it comes to developing their professionals, where to best invest their resources to grow their people to be the best they can be, and aligned to industry best practices.

Similarly, there is often a very narrow approach to recruiting skilled professionals into the sector with the focus being on technical skills and background, rather than the non-technical consulting skills required for the role.  

We are living in a time of change, challenge and opportunity, with the need to adapt to climate change, disruptive technologies, changing stakeholder expectations, and the need to innovate and adopt new and smarter ways of working in a restrained labour market. To be able to better address these challenges professional services consulting in the built and natural environment need to ensure now, more than ever, its people have the skills needed to be effective consultants, providing consistently high-quality services, in the professional services consultancy sector. In a resource-constrained environment, our businesses also need to know where they can best invest to develop, recruit, and retain their people. 

What is the Competency Framework?

We have launched a programme of work with the goal of developing an industry-accepted competency framework that will:

  • define the core competencies, behaviours and values of professional services consultants in the built and natural environments
  • act as the centrepiece for all our activities – advocacy, guidance, programmes, modules and resources – to grow and embed professionalism across our consultancy businesses so our members are consultants of choice

What have we done to date?

The initial phase of the programme is to design and develop the draft framework.

To date, we have undertaken targeted consultations with a range of our members in order to better define the problem and identify the current gaps and challenges.

From these consultations, we have designed a high-level framework.

Next steps

The next step is to develop the detail of the framework, describing each competency, including what this looks like at various levels of experience, while remaining relevant across the sector.

How can you get involved?

We are looking for people interested in being involved in the development of the framework detail. In particular, we are looking for people who have expertise and experience in the following areas:

    • Te Ao Māori
    • Operational and business management – including Health and Safety, people management, business strategy and governance
    • Delivery - marketing and sales, procurement and bidding
    • Contracts and risk
    • Technology and digitisation   
    • Environment and sustainability

We plan to run a series of online focus groups, grouped by these topics. The goal of the focus groups is to:

  • Define each core competency identified in the high-level framework
  • Including setting out the skills required for different levels of experience.

If you are interested in being involved in any of the focus groups and would like to know more please contact our Manager for Policy and Programmes, Julia Byers [email protected]