Statistical Training needs Assessment Tool (STAT)

The Statistical Training needs Assessment Tool, also known as STAT, is a tool developed for National Statistical Offices (NSO) to assess and analyze skills gaps of staff and strategically decide on how to prioritize and meet their training needs by using different types of informal and formal learning approaches.

STAT focuses on all types of job functions including staff working in statistics production, IT, communication, management, finance, HR, and other administrative functions. Staff working with statistics production within the National Statistical System (NSS) can also be included in the assessment. This could be important for those countries where a large part of the statistics production lies with institutions other than the NSO.

STAT consists of three questionnaires to assess skills levels and training needs as well as a guidance document to support the analysis of data, prioritization process, and establishment of a training strategy and varied training plan.

STAT was piloted in cooperation with the NSOs in Colombia, Ghana, Maldives, Malawi, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea

How does STAT work?


    STAT uses three questionnaires set up in Google Forms to assess the current levels of skills and training needs. The questionnaires, which include 157 different skills address different respondents and purposes:

    1. A questionnaire for all staff including managers at the NSO to self-assess the individual level of knowledge and training needs of relevant skills.
    2. A questionnaire for managers at the NSO to identify gaps in their team’s ability to perform current as well as future tasks. The questionnaire is intended to capture institutional needs and can be compared to the questionnaire for staff.
    3. A questionnaire for staff working with statistics production at other institutions within the NSS (i.e. ministries and other public institutions).

    The questionnaires are developed to capture a wide range of different and cross-cutting skills relevant to different types of job functions. Since skills requirements can vary a bit from country to country, the questionnaires are designed to be flexible, and can thus be accustomed to meet the specific requirements of the country by deleting or adding skills.


    STAT provides recommendations on how to analyze and visualize data from the surveys. To help facilitate this process, STAT provides R codes to extract the data from Google Sheets to Power BI. The NSO can of course also decide to use another analysis tool.

    Example of how the results can look in Power BI.


    The next step is to prioritize among the many training needs that the survey will most likely show and decide on which training is most crucial and beneficial for the organization. STAT provides recommendations to help this process. There are several considerations to take such as choosing training where many have a need over the few and training identified as high vs low priority by respondents.

    Meeting training needs

    Once the NSO has the list of priority training, it has to decide on how the needs can be met. It could consider internal training resources, the use of free online training materials, and the use of trainers from academia, the private sector, or international and regional partners (free or paid).

    Lack of funding is often a challenge to meet all training needs. However, the NSO can even with limited funds develop a training plan. Focusing on informal training such as mentoring and free e-learning as well as offering a few facilitated face-to-face courses by using in-house expertise is a way to get started without making the task too costly.

    STAT can also be used to identify those training needs where support from partners such as regional and international organizations, bilateral donors, etc. are needed if in-house or nationally available resources are lacking. It allows the NSO to take the lead on highlighting training needs based on a full overview of priorities.

Promoting new ways of training staff

STAT seeks to promote the understanding of training as a broader concept besides classroom training. Staff can learn in many different ways and NSOs should benefit from the wide range of training approaches available such as on-the-job learning, mentoring, networking, reading manuals, e-learning, and of course face-to-face learning. Most learning does not take place in the classroom but rather when the staff is doing the job.

STAT seeks to promote the use of in-house resources to rely less on external resources. The NSO should consider using staff as trainers as it has many advantages. It strengthens the self-sufficiency of the organization, provides development opportunities for staff, and targets training to the specific needs of the organization. Thus, building a culture where staff are motivated and supported to train others is beneficial for the organization.

STAT also seeks to promote the use of free e-learning and offers a list of platforms where free e-learning is available. E-learning does not have to be an individual activity and there are different ways the learning outcome and interest in e-learning could be supported.

Making training of staff a strategic priority is key, which can be supported by the development of an organisational training strategy and individual learning plans.

Links to STAT