1 [uncountable] also competency
the ability to do something well [≠ incompetence]
Students will gain competence in a wide range of skills.
He questioned the competence of the government.
professional/linguistic/technical etc competence
Doctors have to constantly update their knowledge in order to maintain their professional competence.
2 [uncountable] lawSCL
the legal power of a court of law to hear and judge something in court, or of a government to do something
be within the competence of something
Many legal issues are within the competence of individual states rather than the federal government.
3 [countable] also competency formalBE
a skill needed to do a particular job:
Typing is considered by most employers to be a basic competence.