What is a Certification vs Competency-based Course?

BCM Institute offers both competency-based and certification courses.  Which course should I then attend? What is their differences?
Moh Heng Goh
What are the certification and competency-based courses  being offered by BCM Institute?  Should I attend the competency-based training or the certification-based training? As a Singaporean or a Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) what are my advantages in terms of government funding?

Now before we dive deeper into the different types of courses BCM Institute offers, lets know more about what a competency is.

A competency is a measurable set of knowledge, skills, and attitudes that an individual needs to perform a task effectively.   Your  job thus may need several competencies, such as business continuity (BC) and crisis management (CM) for one to perform it well.  As competency is task-based, an individual may need to transfer the competencies to new situations and environments. 

What is Competency-based Training?

Now that we've understood what a competency is, a competency based training in BCM Institute then follows a set of defined BCM knowledge, skills, and behaviour competency standards set out by Singapore Workforce Skill Qualification (WSQ). The WSQ BCM competency framework provides a structured guide, enabling the identification, evaluation, and development of competencies in individual BCM professionals. 

WSQ.pngThe standard states what an individual can do, should know, when and where to perform his job and how well s/he perform his job.

BCM Institute, with review and approval as an Authorised Training Centre (ATO) by the SkillsFutures Singapore (SSG), provides a competency-based training that not only adhere's to WSQ's structured competency standards but also BCM industry best practices.

For Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents (PR) Undertaking the Competency-based BCM Training

As the design of the competency based courses focus on a subject matter one at a time. The courses are broken down into smaller modules to enable participants to understand a particular area before moving on to the next subject matter. Participants are assessed through face-to-face assessment at the end of all courses. The courses are scheduled 2 weeks apart in order to give the participants’ ample time to complete an assignment worksheet before attending the next class.

Typically our competency-based courses are funded by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). At the end of the course, participants will be able to also obtain a Statement of Attainment (SOA) awarded by SSG.  As at October 2019, the advanced level BCM and CM certification course is now funded by the CITREP+ funding program through another Singapore government agency,  IMDA.

What is Certification-based Training?

So what then is a certification-based training by BCM Institute? Instead of explaining what is a certification-based training, it is easier to provide a BCM example.  Whenever, there is a BCM program, the Organisation BCM Coordinator is required to have sufficient BC knowledge that covers a broad range of competencies on various aspects of BCM planning before s/he could embark on the BCM role. S/he is also most likely to need to ensure that the knowledge s/he gained is referenced to industry best practices and whenever possible, an ISO standard.

For an appointed  BCM manager, the best course then would be the holistic  ISO22301 BCMS Expert Implementer certification programme. This comprehensive BCM course is suitable for both newly appointed Organisation BCM Coordinator as well as experienced coordinators as it enables participants to get a thorough understanding of the full spectrum of BCM implementation with reference to the global BCM ISO standards ISO 22301.

This flagship course would take the participant from understanding the basics of BCM i.e. familiarising and understanding the 7 BCM Body of Knowledge needed to implement a plan, through to the steps and documentation needed in implementing the programme as well as managing and maintaining the programme.

The programme would also allow participants to get insights to market best practices shared by industry practitioners course facilitators.  Publicly run courses would also enable participants to learn from other participants of other industries and maturity  on alternative ways to implement and manage a BCM plans. 

This unique gradual understanding of implementing a plan also applies to BCM Institute's other certification courses such as the ones in

  1. Business Continuity Management [CITREP+ funding available]
  2. Crisis Management [CITREP+ funding available]
  3. Crisis Communication
  4. ISO22301 BCMS Standard Lead Auditor [CITREP+ funding available]
  5. IT Disaster Recovery Planning [CITREP+ funding available]

What Should be My Option?

So which course is most suitable for me?  You would need to ask these questions first:

  1. Fundamentals: Do I just need a base-level knowledge and skill  for my interested course of study e.g. BCM and crisis management?
  2. Funding: Do I want to exercise the subsidies from the Singapore government that is available for me?
  1. CITREP+ [BL-B-5] What Funding Is Available?Taught by Senior Industry Leaders: Do I want to learn from the senior industry professionals sharing of their knowledge and experience?
  2. Adaptive Learning and Practice OrientedDo I want to attend a practice-orientated program?
  3. New call-to-actionProfessional Certification: Do I want/need an internationally recognized industry certificate?
  4. Funding.  From October 2019, for Singaporeans and Singapore PR, there is up to 90% CITREP+ funding (SGD 850 for age above 40 years of age and SGD 1155 for those below 40)  for the BCM and CM advanced level courses.

To illustrate the difference in content, logistics and deliverable, if you would like to go deeper into the comparison between certification versus competency-based training, read the specific blogs that emphasized on the three specific domains:

  1. Business Continuity Management (BCM) {Both WSQ & CITREP+ Funding]
  2. Crisis Management (CM) {Both WSQ & CITREP+ Funding]
  3. Crisis Communication (CC) {WSQ Funding]
  4. IT Disaster Recovery (ITDR) {CITREP+ Funding]
  5. ISO22301 BCMS Audit (Audit) {CITREP+ Funding]

For those who are curious if they can relate both BCM Institute's  competency and certification courses, how they can upgrade from these courses, and are still not sure of the course most appropriate for you, have a read on  "What Is My BCM Competency Level?"

Read the list for frequently asked questions FAQ) from our potential participants on whether they should embark on a WSQ versus CITREP+ funded course??

Other readings that could help you included Where Can I Improve My BCM Competency and Skill?

Lastly, if you would like to continue to know more about Business Continuity management learning journey, click "Implementing and Managing Your Business Continuity Program"

Pillar Page BCM Read More About (RMA)  CTA KMA Know More About WSQ Courses


We hope with the readings you would have a clearer understanding of our courses, but if you still would like  someone to help you out, do drop us a line at 


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