Career Support

In order to fulfil the SCiO objective of supporting practitioners in professional practice, and as well as organising Open Meetings and Development Day events, we provide three distinct, but complimentary, services for members and systems thinking practitioners, any or all of which can be used to support learning and continuous professional development (CPD).

Professional Development – Global

SCiO hosts introductory and intermediate courses in applying the Viable System Model and can also bring these or more complex courses into your organisation. Further information about courses, to register interest, or join the mailing list, check out the SCiO Professional Development page.

SCiO Competency Framework – Global

SCiO has created a framework of competencies for members who are practitioners of systems thinking, based on our Systems Thinking Body of Knowledge (SysBoK), the systems laws regularly explored in Development Days, and this is aligned to the Institute for Apprenticeship (IfA) Systems Thinking Practice L7 accreditation and their framework of Knowledge, Skills & Behaviours.

This framework details competencies, along with a method for members to self-assess their skill ability, mapping of extent of practice, and evidence, against ...

  • Systems Knowledge and Skills
  • Systems Thinking Knowledge and Skills
  • Intervention Skills

The SCiO Competency Framework can be downloaded by clicking here and used to commence the self-assessment process by any member. If you require an editable version of this framework, please contact:

Self-assessment and competency classification is supported by assessment interview with two member practitioners, using the framework of: Situation, Objectives/Goals, Actions, Results and Aftermath/Learning, the SOARA method.

Classification at skill levels will support mentoring, continual professional development priorities and support for IfA systems thinking practitioner apprenticeship assessment.


Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship – England & Wales

SCiO has been working with the Institute for Apprenticeship’s Trailblazer Committee since 2017, to develop and implement a Level 7 Master’s level Systems Thinking apprenticeship in England and Wales. The apprenticeship applies to practitioners of systems thinking methods and interventions, regardless of organisational type or size, sector or institution. The Apprenticeship Standard comprises a number of elements:

  • Expected Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs)
  • Occupation summary and Duties, the latter mapped to specific KSBs
  • Qualifications, Professional Recognition
  • Assessment methods

Further information about the Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship Standard, including the details of KSBs, and status, is accessible on the Institute for Apprenticeship page. We are not aware of equivalent schemes outside of the United Kingdom, or in Northern Ireland, or Scotland, but would be interested to learn of any likely equivalents.

If you have any questions about the apprenticeship please contact:


Mentoring – Global

Mentoring is a one to one relationship between members the aim of which is for a mentor to help a mentee to develop specific skills or knowledge in the competency framework. Agreeing which skills or knowledge they will focus on is part of the contracting agreement between the mentor and mentee and typically, the mentee will choose a mentor who has at least level 4 (Can supervise others in the use of the approach) or level 5 (Can train others in the use of the approach) skill levels in that particular competency in their portfolio.

Contracting should be in writing and include:

  • The names of mentor and mentee
  • The competency(ies) the mentoring agreement is covering
  • The current and target skill levels in that competency for each party (so before and after the agreement)
  • How the relationship will work – logistics, frequency of meetings etc.
  • The duration of agreement
  • The context in which the work will be done – whether that’s case based or in the mentee’s own organisation, or in a client organisation
  • How both parties will assess the effectiveness of the learning  

Benefits for mentees are improved levels of skill in competencies of their choice and an ability to use a new approach with the reassurance of a safety net. Benefits for the mentor are the confirmation of their skill level which they can evidence in their portfolio and the possibility to move in the skills ladder from level 4 to level 5 in that area of competency. Benefits for both are that both sides of the relationship count towards the requirement to invest in CPD as required for professional grading.


Action Learning Sets (ALS)

An ALS can be set up by any member wishing to work with others to develop their competence and can have a variable number of members, typically from 4 to 9. It doesn’t have to focus on a single topic, but each member of the set must have a problem domain that they can act in. For details of how to run an ALS see Revans “ABC of Action Learning”, the International Foundation for Action Learning or an equivalent guide. Within an ALS, members can base their learning around problems and learn whichever approaches or skills are prompted by the nature of the situation, or set out specific learning objectives – particular skills they want to improve and then use a problematic situation to help them do that. 

ALS can be run just as a peer group, or with a coach, and, within this context, an ALS may choose to draw in technical experts with specific competencies to help with specific learning objectives. As with mentoring, members of an ALS should contract with each other to agree how the ALS will function and upon any ground rules.

Where an ALS uses a facilitator or coach, that person will be responsible for:

  1. providing learning resources including taught material where appropriate
  2. supporting the learners in their learning process
  3. supporting the learners in their application of the approach to their work situation
  4. providing a part of the assessment of each learner.

Learners will be responsible for:

  1. their own learning
  2. supporting the learning of other group members
  3. providing part of the assessment of other learners in the group including indicative future learning needs

Organisations may, where possible and appropriate, provide part of the action learning assessment for individual learners.