Skip to content

Technical Consultancy

Training Consultancy

The IPS method of Training Needs Analysis

(TNA) helps to determine an individual’s range and level of capability in specific areas of expertise and is an essential tool for identifying individual training needs.

Applications and uses of profiles are in identifying training needs, determining skill levels, assessing the skills range and analysing team or work group capability.

The TNA takes the form of a planned prepared structured interview with the interviewee responding verbally and being encouraged to expand on responses by the interviewer. Most of the TNA is about the experience and knowledge that the individual has acquired but also about how this is applied. The TNA is divided into between 8 and 16 skills categories to help provide a comparison with a standard. Most TNA categories have a brief practical element to further check capability.

  1. TNA is all about preparing to deliver or plan training.

  2. TNA can be conducted with minimal disruption to shift working patterns.  A typical Technical Operator TNA will take 1 hour. 

  3. TNA can take place on site and is normally conducted in confidence in an interview room or similar.  There is no written work, which can inhibit some candidates.

  4. The TNA can be conducted via Microsoft teams. This provides greater flexibility in terms of arranging the candidate interview.

  5. The prepared interview is structured such that candidates who can do the job should be able to confidently describe the task, principle or technique including giving examples by relating previous experience.

  6. The data from a TNA interview is input to a database giving consistent presentation and validity of processing.

  7. TNA results are presented as a bar graph or spider chart arranged against a list of skill categories allowing an easy interpretation of capability.

  8. TNA data can be combined to produce team capability graphs allowing managers to identify gaps in team capability.

  9. Detailed analysis of the TNA data allows training needs to be specified in detail and training plans to be compiled focused to an individual’s need.

  10. If TNA is carried out both before and after training, it is possible to determine the benefit of training and compare results between individuals or groups.  

Skills areas are gauged against specific criteria particular, however each skill will have a common structure to TNA against:

  5. TNA questions are structured such that increasing knowledge and experience are required to give a satisfactory answer.

A TNA project follows several key steps in its planning, implementation and results interpretation.


  1. Determine the objectives in carrying out profiling.
  2. Determine the organisation benefits to be gained.
  3. Identify who or which groups are to be profiled.
  4. Identify the range of tasks that are presently carried out by the groups.
  5. Determine the new tasks that are to be carried out.
  6. Determine the range of skills to be profiled from all the task.
  7. Determine the level of skill required in carrying out the tasks.
  8. Consider the timing, location and duration of the profile interview.
  9. Consider the type of feedback given to individuals.
  10. Consider the analysis method, either by individual, team or group.
  11. Identify the training route or method of closing the skills gap.
  12. Consider re-doing the TNA to determine benefit.

The graphs in a profile report can be presented in three ways, Team graphs, Individual graphs and Pareto format. 

  1. Whole company and Team Graphs showing the capability of a group are presented using two graphs.
  2. The mean profile for each of the categories.
  3. The maximum achieved, by the one individual in the team with the best score in that category.
  4. The team graphs showing mean and maximum are of interest in showing the coverage of skills by the teams.  As an example, a low mean graph and a high maximum graph indicates that the team overall is capable but is made up of narrow bands of expertise which could cause problems during holiday and sickness periods.  It would also indicate that one person in the team is making up for lack of skills by others.
  5. Individual graphs that indicate the capability of each craftsman against the desired maximum competence level in each subject area.  These provide a strong indication of current strengths and areas for development.  The individual graphs have been found to be highly useful in the formation of individual training and development plans, as well as providing an insight into how much an individual applies the various skills at his or her disposal.  Generally, the more an individual practices a skill, the higher the score.
  6. Pareto graphs take groups of skill categories and then capability from left to right in order of descending capability. 

IPS can produce the following Profile graphs


  1. Whole company mean/max format.
  2. Single skill Pareto format e.g. Faults skills only.
  3. Individual graphs.

IPS normally uses the following profiling categories. New or additional categories can be included to suit a specific requirement. These will account for the type of manufacturing process under consideration, company safety procedures and environmental procedures.   The real limitation is the time involved with each candidate in the Profiling process.

It is recommended to keep the profiling categories to a maximum of 8 per technical subject area:
-    8 Electrical
-    8 Mechanical

Mechanical Examples

Bearings and Seals
Identifies knowledge related to installing and diagnosing problems on bearings and of basic bearing configurations.

Belt/Chain Drives
Identifies knowledge of Belt/Chain types, construction and drive layout and set-up including fault causes.  Also includes belt and chain conveyor systems.

Couplings and Alignment
Identifies knowledge of shaft alignment techniques, coupling components and shaft mounted equipment including installation and fault location and detection.

Identifies knowledge of pneumatic principles, compressed air, valves, symbols, terminology, systems and safe practices.

Measuring / Metrology:
Identifies knowledge and techniques in the use of dimension measuring equipment.

Electrical Examples

Electrical Systems
Identifies knowledge of ohms law, basic wiring of an industrial electrical system, isolation and wiring use of test equipment.

Motor Control Circuits and Motor Protection:
Identifies knowledge of  motor construction, motor control arrangements, control components, protection devices and reading a schematic.

PLC Systems
Identifies knowledge of reading  PLC inputs/outputs, interpreting a diagram/schematic, identifying specific PLC related terms and when a fault is indicated.

Motor Drives
Identifies knowledge of DC/ AC motor drives, associated electronic components, reading a schematic and when a fault is indicated.

Identifies knowledge of end of line device and how they input in to the control of an electrical system.


Identifies knowledge of general safe practices, safety legislation, and safety signs.
Fault Diagnosis
Identifies knowledge good practice in fault location procedures and methods.

Pareto Profile

IPS can create a Pareto profile graph of groups to allow an overview analysis and targeting of training.

Individual Profile

IPS can create an individual profile graph showing individual strengths and areas for targeted training.


The IPS method of Candidate Practical Assessment 

The Candidate Practical Assessment (CPA) is designed to test a candidate’s applied knowledge and practical ability while working on an electrical, mechanical or fluid power system.

Engineering apprenticeships

The Candidate Practical Assessment (CPA) is designed to test a candidate’s applied knowledge and practical ability while working on an electrical, mechanical or fluid power system. This may be used to complement the TNA (Training Needs Analysis) or as a stand-alone assessment process. The assessments can be delivered at IPS International or at the client site. 

The candidate will be assessed on their practical understanding of the following:

  1. Isolation of an electrical/mechanical/fluid power system.
  2. The components fitted to an electrical/mechanical/fluid power.
  3. Assembling and testing of an electrical/mechanical/Fluid Power.
  4. Use of correct measuring instruments/equipment when working on an electrical/mechanical/fluid power system.
  5. Working safely.
  6. Fault finding logically.

It is recommended that 3 tasks are selected from each category. 

  1. CPA is all about preparing to deliver or plan training.
  2. CPA is delivered face to face and is a practical assessment.
  3. The data from a CPA  is input to a database giving consistent presentation and validity of processing.
  4. CPA results are presented as a bar graph or spider chart arranged against a list of skill  categories allowing an easy interpretation of capability.
  5. CPA data can be combined to produce team capability graphs allowing managers to identify gaps in team capability.


 Assessment Task Description 
1Carry out a safe Electrical Isolation and test for dead.
2Correctly diagnose faults on a range of electric motors AC + DC.
3Correctly diagnose faults on an electrical relay/contactor panel.
4Correctly select and assemble a cable gland to an industrial cable.
5Correctly test and set up a machine motion sensor.
6Wire up a control circuit for a complex motor starter.
7Connect a PILZ type safety relay for a particular configuration.


PLC & Control:

 Assessment Task Description 
1Carry out faults diagnosis on a PLC controlled electrical system.
2Carry out faults diagnosis on a PLC controlled electro-pneumatic system.
3Carry out faults diagnosis on an AC motor power electronics system.
4Successfully modify a PLC software program to include additional functions.
5Correctly modify the I/O wiring of a PLC system.
6Create a PLC ladder diagram from an OUTLINE SPECIFICATION.
7Fault find on a PLC controlled system with a PILZ type safety relay.



 Assessment Task Description 
1Correctly and safely isolate a hydraulic system for component removal.
2Correctly set up a loaded hydraulic system.
3Correctly diagnose a faulty hydraulic component or circuit.
4Assemble a hydraulic circuit and confirm correct operation.
5Correctly change a hydraulic Filter.
6Assemble a hydraulic circuit from an OUTLINE SPECIFICATION.
7Correctly setup a pump from a outline specification.



 Assessment Task Description 
1Correctly identify and describe pneumatic components from different manufacturers.
2Carry out a repair to a faulty Pneumatic cylinder.
3Diagnose a pneumatic fault on an electro-pneumatic circuit.
4Assemble a pneumatic circuit from a schematic and check operation.
5Replace a pneumatic component in a circuit with one different in style/layout.
6Assemble a pneumatic circuit from an OUTLINE SPECIFICATION and confirm operation.
7Assemble a pneumatic circuit from a SCHEMATIC, test and determine a SIMPLE FAULT.



 Assessment Task Description 
1Correctly align the shaft couplings of two mechanical units.
2Correctly maintain a multi-vee belt drive system.
3Correctly extract a stud from a component.
4Correctly select and install a bearing.
5Dismantle and reassemble a complex component.
6Correctly assemble and setup a complex bearing assembly on a shaft.
7Accurately measure and freehand sketch a complex component.

Your course basket is empty