Transport for NSW Engineering Capability Framework


    Engineers Australia has worked with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to develop a new Capability Framework for their engineering workforce.

    The Engineering Capability Framework provides a consistent approach to setting capability standards across Transport for role design right through to agile deployment. Aligned to the Public Service Commission’s Capability Framework, and developed in partnership with Engineers Australia, the framework outlines three capabilities that define the additional knowledge, skills and abilities required for roles within the engineering profession. They are: 

    • engineering professional knowledge, 
    • creativity and innovation, and 
    • evaluation

    Against each capability, there are five levels of complexity to determine level of skill and experience, from Foundational to Highly Advanced.

    About the Engineering Capability Framework

    The Engineering Capability Framework is intended to be used in conjunction with the 2013 NSW Public Sector Capability Framework (“Capability Framework”) to support the full range of workforce management and development activities, including:

    • role design and description
    • recruitment
    • performance management
    • learning and development, and
    • workforce planning.

    The Framework applies to all public sector roles, both executive and non-executive. Every role requires, at an appropriate level, all of the capabilities in the Capability Framework, including the People Management capabilities for roles responsible for managing others.

    The Framework consists of three capabilities that define additional knowledge, skills and abilities required for roles within the engineering profession in Transport.

    Fnd out more about the framework by checking out the resources below:


    Frequently Asked Questions

    The Engineering Capability Framework describes specialised capabilities that are required by Transport employees working in Engineering roles, in addition to the core capabilities from the Capability Framework that all NSW public sector employees must demonstrate and develop to progress along the career pathway.

    The Engineering Capability Framework has been the subject of extensive consultation and collaboration with Transport Engineers and Engineers Australia.

    It has been created through a comprehensive development process coordinated by TfNSW and Engineers Australia, including:

    • extensive research on national and international Engineering capability frameworks
    • reference group workshops with sector subject matter experts to determine the design and key content areas for the Engineering Capability Framework; and
    • consultation workshops to validate the draft capability design and content against best practice models, and to develop behavioural indicators for three capabilities across five levels.

    Each capability has a name and a descriptor stating what is covered.

    Each capability can be used alone, or in combination with other capabilities. It is not intended that roles will require all capabilities from the Engineering Capability Framework. The specific capability mix required may be different from one role to another or from one agency to another.

    The number of capabilities that apply to a role will depend on the breadth and nature of the role’s accountabilities. As a general guide most Engineering roles would be expected to require in the range of 1-2 Engineering capabilities (in addition to the core capabilities from the Capability Framework).

    There are five levels for each capability, with each level reflecting a progressive increase in complexity and skill.

    An individual may require a range of capabilities at varying levels in order to perform a role effectively. The levels in the occupation specific capability set do not correspond directly to classifications, bands or grades.

    Similarly, the levels in the occupation specific capability set do not correspond directly with levels in the Capability Framework.

    A set of statements, called behavioural indicators, illustrate the type of behaviours expected at each level for each capability.

    The behavioural indicators are an indicative, rather than exhaustive, list of the knowledge, skills and abilities expected at each level. Not all of the behavioural indicators may have application to every role. Although a majority of the indicators for the level should apply:

    • there may be behaviours expected of the role that are not covered in the list
    • there may be some indicators in the list that are not relevant for a particular role.

    To determine the appropriate capability level for a particular role:

    • read the list of behavioural indicators for each level holistically, and identify the level that is the best fit for the role
    • exercise judgement in deciding which behavioural indicators are important for recruitment and performance assessment, and which indicators are not relevant.

    The Engineering Capability Framework describes behaviours but does not specify qualifications.

    If a qualification or professional membership is an essential requirement for a role, this remains as a pre-requisite for employment, and should be incorporated into the “Essential requirements” section of the role description, and the recruitment process.

    The capabilities to be applied to a role will form the basis for assessment processes in filling the role, and a reference point for learning and development activities.

    The person who performs the role may possess other capabilities not included in the role description: however, the role description should include only the capabilities that are fundamentally important for effective performance of the role.

    Role Descriptions will require review at regular intervals such as when a vacancy occurs, agencies priorities change, or as part of broader workforce planning.

    The level of each capability identified from the Engineering Capability Framework should be identified based on the role’s:

    • Primary Purpose
    • Key Accountabilities
    • Key Challenges; and
    • Key Relationships.

    The capability levels are unlikely to change unless these aspects of the role change.

    Many roles in the sector are adequately covered by the capabilities described in the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework.

    Engineering capabilities will be included in a role description when specialised Engineering occupational knowledge, skill and abilities are required to effectively perform the role.

    The following indicators may assist in determining whether a role requires occupation specific capabilities:

    • the work clearly requires specialised, Engineering occupation specific knowledge, skill and/or ability
    • specialised, Engineering occupation specific work occupies a large part of the role
    • the job title is strongly associated with the Engineering function
    • the ‘Primary Purpose’, ‘Key Accountabilities’, and ‘Key Challenges’ contained in the role description indicate a need for Engineering occupation specific capabilities to perform the role effectively.

    Some Engineering capabilities may be selected as focus capabilities in addition to those selected from the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework, but there is no requirement that they all be focus capabilities.

    Focus capabilities are those for which an employee assigned to a role must demonstrate immediate competence.

    Once an employee commences in a role they may need some development to reach the required standard for one or more of the other, non-focus capabilities.

    See the Role Description Development Guideline and Capability Comparison Guide for an indicative number of focus capabilities for roles at different grades.

    It is not expected that all executive Engineering roles will have Level 5 Engineering capabilities. The context of the role in the agencies will determine whether Engineering capabilities are required and, if so, the level needed for effective performance of the role.

    It is expected that executive Engineering roles would, in general, have capabilities at Level 4 and Level 5, but it is feasible that – in some situations - an employee may require a capability at a higher level than their manager.

    Engineering capabilities are transferable, professional skills, knowledge and abilities, which can be applied when working in any practice area of Engineering.

    Subject matter knowledge is the knowledge that an Engineer accumulates working in a substantive area of Engineering.

    Both transferable Engineering capabilities and subject matter knowledge may be required to effectively perform a role.

    Subject matter knowledge requirements may be captured in the “Essential requirements” section in the role description.

    The recruitment and selection guides on the PSC website provide information on how to design an assessment process and select fit-for-purpose assessments that are suited to what is being assessed (i.e. the capabilities at the level required for the role) in the particular context (i.e. functional or subject matter area).

    Feedback on the Engineering Capability Framework is welcome, and will be considered as part of the evaluation undertaken 12 months’ post-publication through your HR Business Partner.

    Your professional engineering association may have a competency framework which aligns with the Engineering Capability Framework.

    The competency frameworks often require you to demonstrate knowledge, skill, values and attitudes in order to be recognised for a particular competency.

    You are encouraged to continue the professional development of your Engineering capabilities and competencies by creating targeted professional skills development plans consistent with your agencies strategic objectives and your career aspirations.