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Joint Five-Year Work Plan Approved and Collaborative Partnerships Strengthened in Indonesia

The Partnerships for Productivity (PADU) Activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) formally began implementing its five-year work plan after the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Directorate General of Vocational Training and Productivity (Binalavotas) approved the work plan on July 17, 2023. USAID PADU’s initiatives are focused on four regions of Indonesia: East Java, North Sumatra, Banten, and South Sulawesi. The work plan underwent many iterations to ensure alignment of objectives with the Directorate General Binalavotas’ strategic priorities and manageable interests. The approved work plan led to the signing of the Grant Implementation Agreement (GIA) between the Government of Indonesia and USAID, officially establishing a comprehensive, collaborative partnership that centers on finding breakthrough solutions in BLKs and strengthening capacity in partnerships with the private sector.

The collaborative design of programs between USAID PADU and MOM, as the Government of Indonesia’s representative, is seen as essential for creating a market-driven, inclusive, and sustainable program to strengthen institutional capacity of technical vocational training institutions (Balai Latihan Kerja/BLK). Of equal importance is USAID PADU’s support of them in developing the future national workforce development program. USAID PADU anticipates attracting increased direct private sector involvement and investment in government-run BLKs, managed by MOM at the national, provincial, and district levels. Present challenges in achieving coordination and collaboration will be addressed through strategic partnerships.

“Putting BLK at the center, our mission is to connect national and sub-national BLKs and private sectors. In the spirit of collaboration and mutual trust, we believe this project will support improved cooperation between government-run BLK and private sectors and deliver benefits to BLKs graduates’ job placement.”

Mr. Syamsi Hari, Secretary of the Directorate General Binalavotas

Indonesia is facing a significant challenge of youth unemployment, with a reported 8.42 million unemployed individuals as of August 2022. Many of Indonesia’s young people lack the skills and qualifications that are in demand in the job market, leading to the unemployment problem. To address this challenge, MOM is actively working to make vocational training more market-driven. USAID PADU is involved in partnering with both the private sector and BLK managed by MOM to facilitate increased investments in TVET institutions.

Mr. Bergianta Sinulingga, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Directorate of Instructor and Trainer, highlighted the importance of collaboration. “We need to be more engaged in collaboration and coordination with various actors,” he said. “There are several factors that make collaboration challenging, particularly the Work Competency Standards. There isn’t a single standard for Indonesian labor proficiency in the sector. For instance, once we taught construction building instructors, the Ministry of Public Works abruptly disagreed with the certification scheme’s training program.”

Mr. Yusup Adriyanto, FKLPI-Serang. Photo by USAID PADU.

In a different discussion session in Serang, Banten, in July 2023, Mr. Yusup Adriyanto, the head of the Communication Forum on Training Center and Industry (Forum Komunikasi Lembaga Pelatihan dan Industri/FKLPI), highlighted the benefits of vocational training for businesses, including improved quality, production, and efficiency. He emphasized the importance of coordination in a changing economic environment. 

“MoM and the private sector need to work closely together and establish good relationships to ensure each party does their part to support vocational training revitalization,” said Adriyanto.