What is CBTA? CBTA Dangerous Goods Training


From January 1, 2023, Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) will be officially applied globally in accordance with the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Through this article, ALS (as the first IATA CBTA Center in Vietnam, providing a full functions of dangerous goods training programs according to IATA's new CBTA standard) will help you better understand this new form of training.

I. What is CBTA ?

Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) is not a new concept. It first appeared in the U.S. and flourished in the 1960s as a result of efforts to reform teacher education and training. Since then, the concept has been spread to other countries, adopted and adapted to meet the training requirements of the industry.

Competency-Based Training and Assessment as an approach based on learners' outcomes, closely combining teaching methods and assessment forms designed to assess learners' learning through their expression of knowledge, their skills and behaviour towards the requirements set out at each level.

From a practical perspective, CBTA focuses on what a person can do rather than what courses taken, and it measures a person's achievement against industry or workplace standards rather than one's achievement compared to others in the group. 

II. CBTA and the Transportation of Dangerous Goods

Following ICAO's approval and implementation, In September 2019, the Dangerous Goods Panel (DGP) undertook the development of new proposed provisions and guidance material under a Competency-Based approach for dangerous goods training.

The revised provisions adopted to apply the competency-based training and assessment (CBTA) approach to dangerous goods training will become mandatory as of January 1, 2023. Since then, the current traditional category (CAT) training system will be replaced by more tailored training modules which are built around the competencies required by individual trainees as part of their role.

The goal of the CBTA is to use the necessary tools to clearly establish the training needs for a job function of an individual involved in the chain of transport of a particular dangerous shipment and then ensure that the employee is equipped with the theoretical knowledge and competencies to perform practical work upon completion of training and assessment.

Concentrating on functions and responsibilities rather than a job title or description means that the training provided ensures that a person is competent to perform the function in compliance with Subsection 1.5. of the IATA DGR.

III. What is competence?

In common sense, competence is the set of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors of a person who can respond to a certain job to achieve a specific level of proficiency. This is also one of the important factors for an individual to accomplish something more effectively than others.

Performing a dangerous goods task may require different levels of knowledge, skills and attitude, depending on the complexity of the specific task and the operational environment. Therefore, to determine the relevant level of proficiency of an employee’s competency factors, the employer should consider the complexity of tasks and context, the range of work (routine, predictability, and dependencies) and the level of autonomy of the employee in performing the tasks.

IV. Level of proficiency

Proficiency can be divided into four levels, introductory, basic, intermediate and advance, and applied to individual tasks involved in the function(s) that an employee is assigned to.

  • Introduction (*): includes general knowledge or basic knowledge of basic concepts and techniques.
  • Basic (**): provides sufficient competence for an individual to perform simple, mostly routine and predictable work activities. With guidance or assistance from a professional may be required from time to time.
  • Intermediate (***): includes complex or important activities that, in a non-procedural context, allow a person to work autonomously and solve problems without special assistance.
  • Advanced (****): includes complex professional technical activities in a variety of contexts, allowing employees to give advice. Dangerous goods training instructors need to achieve this level of proficiency in the tasks or functions they will instruct before providing such courses.

V. Benefits of Competency-Based Training and Assessment for the safe transport of dangerous goods by air

The main benefit of a Competency-Based 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:

  • Targeting function specific training needs;
  • Supporting continuous learning and performance improvement;
  • Gearing towards learning rather than simply passing a test;
  • Ensuring the integration of knowledge, skills, attitude needed to perform a job at the required level of proficiency;
  • Supporting the application of safety management systems (SMS); and
  • Establishing sufficient, well-trained and competent trainers.

For any organization, ensuring employees can competently perform their job functions is critical. A competent workforce can not only reduce costs 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. Therefore, from a business point of view, it is easy to see that Competency-Based Training and Assessment offer the benefits as following:

  • Cost effectiveness
  • Efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved profitability
  • Reduced risk
  • Increased customer satisfaction

VI. What’s new in our CBTA compliant dangerous goods training?

The training for employees is carried out based on well-defined functions and the list of tasks they undertake. Previously employees were required to fit into a Job Role/Training Category, now the training fits into the employee role.

Two notable changes in the training program:

  • The removal of the category-based training program lists provided in Tables 1.5.A and 1.5.B; and
  • A shift in focus from requiring a single assessment at the end of a training course to verify understanding to requiring continuous assessment of competency.

This new standard dangerous goods training program will be designed for 10 key functions. Dangerous goods training functions include:

  1. Personnel Responsible for Preparing Dangerous Goods Consignments
  2. Personnel Responsible for Processing or Accepting Goods Presented as General Cargo
  3. Personnel Responsible for Processing or Accepting Dangerous Goods Consignments
  4. Personnel Responsible for Handling Cargo in a Warehouse, Loading and Unloading Unit Load Devices and Loading and Unloading Aircraft Cargo Compartments
  5. Personnel Responsible for Accepting Passenger and Crew Baggage, Managing Aircraft Boarding Areas and other Functions Involving Direct Passenger Contact at an Airport
  6. Personnel Responsible for the Planning of Aircraft Loading
  7. Flight Crew
  8. Flight Operations Officers and Flight Dispatchers
  9. Cabin Crew
  10. Personnel Responsible for the Screening of Passengers and Crew and their Baggage, Cargo and Mail

VII. Certification of Dangerous Goods Training Center “IATA CBTA Provider”

Recently, on September 26, 2022, ALS was honored to be recognized by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) as the Dangerous Goods Training Center “IATA CBTA Provider” in Vietnam.

Hopefully, the above information shared by ALS Training will help you better understand Competency-Based Training and Assessment - CBTA. Stay tuned for our next articles!

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