Statewide Training Needs Analysis:

Disability Services Agency

The client

A large statewide public sector organisation providing support services throughout Queensland to persons with a disability.  

The brief

A high level review of the agency had been undertaken (the Ford Review) resulting in wide ranging recommendations to improve the quality of services provided by the agency to its clients. A key recommendation was to undertake a comprehensive training needs analysis of the 1400 staff throughout the state to determine critical skill gaps and develop a strategic training and development plan for the agency. 

My response

The methodology had to assess the training needs of expert and support staff in corporate and branch or regional offices, but specifically identify the needs of the 1200 care workers throughout the state. These staff were shiftworkers with very limited access to online information, poor computer literacy skills, and in some cases, poor literacy skills. They travelled to the client directly from home and direct contact with them was difficult. Capacity for every staff member to participate in the analysis was a critical factor. In addition, there were relatively high levels of anxiety resulting from the Ford Review and it was important that the approach encouraged people to not only participate but to provide honest and accurate information. 

It was agreed that a hard copy survey which covered the skills for all key areas of the work of the care provider would be the most beneficial method of assessing skill gaps. A comprehensive distribution process was designed to ensure all care providers received a copy and were able to complete and return their survey to the consultant at no cost. An extensive communication proves was undertaken during the project and a hotline to the consultant for questions and further information was provided. Survey data was validated with sample groups

My approach involved:

  • development of a survey instrument and methodology in consultation with a wide range of key staff, management, unions and consultative groups that represented care providers
  • one-on-one interviews with expert staff
  • distribution, collection, and analysis of hard copy collection of other data relevant to the job analysis
  • consultation with unions
  • consultation with key managers
  • analysis of all data against a framework of key issues developed in consultation with the client

A detailed report was produced which provided qualitative and quantitative analysis, highlighting significant areas of overlap in responsibilities between two levels of management, duplication of activities, time spent on key activities, areas of misalignment with existing position descriptions and accountabilities that were not being addressed, identification of barriers and blockages, key skills and knowledge required for the job and gaps, and anomalies in reporting structures.

The results

The findings were presented to the Branch management team and incorporated into a presentation to the Departmental Steering Group.  

Some areas of overlap and misalignment were able to be addressed immediately.  The findings provided important data to support the introduction of refresher training in certain areas and provided significant information that helped the Branch in realigning business processes and roles.