The goal of undertaking postgraduate training in psychiatry is to become a competent specialist, and the educational model under which one is trained and assessed is crucial in achieving this goal. Over the years, traditional training models have emphasised what trainees know, over a given period of time, with outcomes assessed mainly by simple recall of knowledge. While these traditional approaches have met with varying levels of success, they are less than optimal when the goal is to train individuals to perform specific, job-related skills. This recognition has led to a global move towards competency based training models where the focus of training and assessment is the mastery of specific knowledge and skills as well as the conduct of the doctor in day-to-day clinical situations. In this article, a general overview of competency-based training in psychiatry is followed by a review of recent developments in Ireland in a global context.