Training Needs Analysis implementation: dilemmas and paradoxes (Part 3)

This discussion aims to illuminate the uncertainties which might arise in investigating a Human Resource Development initiative based on these three pillars and the potential concerns around developing trustworthy and valuable Indonesian organisations. Importantly, it must be stated that we are asserting that it is only at the intersection of these three pillars (ie. where mutual and effective engagement with each pillar is recognized), where meaningful engagement can occur (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Three Pillars of Human Resource Development (Fairman, 2017)

At the centre of the intersection of The Three Pillars, which represents congruity between each developmental activity, we find the desirable position for Human Resource Development outcomes. However it is a common occurrence within training and education institutions in Indonesia, that they develop their curricula without formally consulting industries (Helmy, 2014). This lack of essential consultation, and its effect on the resulting curricula, has an immediate impact upon graduates as they cannot be immediately absorbed into the workforce and cannot work directly in their chosen profession, because they are not adequately prepared for industry requirements and urgent workforce needs (Curtain, 2009).  A possible consequence of this lack of industry engagement is that these graduates require further ‘vocational skills’ development, either through gaining industry experience in a parallel field, or returning to formal vocational skills development or training (Analoui, 1993).


The authors of this paper envisage that a successful training and/or education program should be initially evaluated in order to ensure that the material and learning opportunities relate to the intended work environment, and that any change in requirement or miscuing of presentation, can be quickly identified and rectified (Figure 2). Such an interactive program might profitably start with the identification of any gaps in graduate outcomes through a focused Performance/Training Needs Analysis (TNA) (Moore and Morton, 2017). These TNAs will be conducted by the school or higher education institutions involved, working together with target industries in order to determine what competencies are required by industries in order to make graduates immediately employable. Based on the results of this analysis, which is often referred to as the ‘competency gap’, the course and its curriculum will consequently be specifically designed to enable students and trainees, together with their teachers, to engage in a learning process in order to gain the appropriate competencies required by the target industries (Paryono, 2017).

Figure 2: Training Cycle (Biech, 2005)

We assert here that the quality of TNA implementation, particularly in an overseas context, depends upon four interrelated aspects of practice and context coming together in a formal and integrated way. These interrelated aspects include: (i) respect for the current national and local regulations, (ii) enhancing the quality of existing human resources, (iii) maintaining and increasing the quality of the network between schools and higher education and training institutes (Snepvangers et al., 2018), which sustains the education and training dialogue with the industries that the program is intending to serve.

In the current context of increasing global interaction and competition, industries should be regarded as the main clients of the vocational schools and higher education institutes, because, in the wider Indonesian context, most of the graduates will ultimately be seeking employment in area which are experiencing growing production demands. For a number of historical reasons, this ‘mind set’ of primacy of ‘industry engagement’ is rare within the Indonesian education sector. It is noted here that there are some strongly competing outcome concerns which make this ‘work-ready’ mind set difficult to maintain for vocational training providers and higher education institutes (Biech, 2005). For example, there is a focus on measurable parameters regarding the number of students who are registered for entry into the course, and also the number who are consequently admitted to the program in the schools or higher education institute.  Although such information is valuable in terms of community interest, we argue that a better outcome data set would be developed from the number and quality of ‘exiting’ graduates, particularly in terms of their initial employment consequences, since this measure would have some direct implications for curriculum development within the institute, the training and educative approaches of teachers, and for the overall structure of courses given the national economic interests (Curtain, 2009).

Of particular relevance to this discussion is the existence of current Indonesian Government regulations known as Government Decree No 31, (2006) on National Vocational Training System[1] and also the LAN Chairman Decision No 3, (2013)[2]. Both of these crucial documents clearly state the importance of conducting TNA as an integral part of the Human Resource Development system. However, as implied earlier, the realization and implementation of the requirements of these regulations is still far from the intended outcomes (Sayuti, 2016).

To help to contextualize and highlight the extent of this problem, the examination of four case study examples of TNA implementation in an Indonesian context are plat- formed. The selection of material spans the range of training situations from the perspective of industry concerns, local government implications, national government requirements and donor-funded bilateral program intentions.

Industry engagement

A more thorough and detailed examination of the implementation of TNAs is illustrated here through a case study of a regional higher vocational school. This case study illustrates how there was a ‘conflict of interest’ between industry support for vocational training and the intent of local government’s accreditation requirements, which resulted in a dilemma for the management of this vocational school. In this case study, the car producer, which was located near the vocational school, approached the SMK indicating their willingness to contribute physical and human resources to assist the vocational school develop a stronger vocational program. These resources included; foci for content of their learning programs, relevant curriculum and training material, and offers of loans of machinery required for workplace practice. In addition, there was an invitation to use their company’s workplace for internship and ‘work placements’, with the clear intention of making the school students ‘work-competent’ so that they could be immediately employed in the industry.

This detailed and intimate engagement with an ‘industry’ sector is a common feature of many developed and developing countries, and is clearly a sensible and generally recommended approach to developing vocationally-ready students. However, in Indonesia, SMKs are required to deliver curricula that have been determined by the local government, since the consequence of not delivering the ‘locally endorsed’ curricula is that the school would lose their accreditation due to ‘non-compliance.’ This is part of the structure of the regulatory frameworks that are currently applied in Indonesia (Helmy, 2014). This example illustrates that schools have to make difficult choices in terms of curriculum implementation, either to support the regulated framework and continue as an accredited school, or engage in a curriculum that meets industry expectations and as a consequence become ‘non-accredited’, which has significant financial implications.

Local Government Banking Sector

In another illustration, a Local Government Bank decided that, in order to gain information about training needs, their Human Resource Development Department would distribute questionnaires to individual staff asking them to comment on “What they think, and feel they are lacking in terms of competence” and “What training they may require to close this self-perceived gap?”

[1] Accessed 15/09/2019

[2] Source, Decree of Lembaga Admistrasi Negara (LAN) No 10, 2010 on Development of Civil Servants Chapter Two-Needs Analysis and Planning Development

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