Taking career development to Indonesia

Selamat datang and welcome to my latest blog post!

I was in Indonesia a few weeks ago and it was a most amazing experience; for a country with over 200 million people, and over 3000 islands, the pace is fast and city life is brimming with energy.  Despite this, the people I met were incredibly friendly and respectful, making me feel totally at ease.

My colleague Andrea and I were invited by Education NZ to run workshops with over 200 Indonesian high school guidance counsellors in Jakarta and Surabaya. We were given less than 6 weeks notice for this, so my planning beforehand was fuelled by adrenaline and a healthy dash of stress.

Indonesia 2
Press Conference at the NZ Embassy in Jakarta

I focussed my workshops around career development and broke it up into distinct modules:

  1. The steps of career planning – I introduced the counsellors to this simple framework so they could understand the different (and fluid stages) a student goes through in exploring career ideas.
  2. RIASEC card tool – I developed a simple set of cards focussed on John Holland’s theory.
  3. The future of work – I alluded to Lynda Gratton’s work and gave an update on future career trends.
The amazing Guidance Counsellors

Here were my key observations and learnings from my time in Indonesia…

  • Students in Indonesia are similar to students in NZ.  Be it Gen Y or Gen Z, our global students are faced with very similar circumstances.  #getwiththetimes
  • Indonesian guidance counsellors provide BOTH personal/pastoral care, and career guidance.  Typically they are the only person in the school who performs that job.  Wow.
Wearing traditional Bakti
  • The Indonesian Government has recently decided to fund a provision of career information for schools.  No further details are available yet. 
  • The counsellors are so passionate about helping their students.  I’m not surprised the energy felt great during the workshops.
  • Formal career development training is non-existent in Indonesia.  Whilst many had a psychology or education background, they had minimal understanding of pure career theory.
  • Narrative approaches are appreciated.  I spent the beginning of my workshop showing images of my family and sharing my career story.  Several reciprocated and shared theirs with the group too.
  • Working with an interpreter is fun, but exhausting!  It was a real art to clip my sentences and to keep the dialogue flowing.
  • On day 1 we were given gentle feedback about our dress (we were dressed a bit too informally) but received a great solution for day 2 – wearing the traditional Bakti outfits conveyed utmost respect to the counsellors.
  • I ran an icebreaker whereby they had to follow a sequence of physical moves (clicking fingers, clapping etc).  They picked it up straight away and it made me wonder if Kiwis are naturally less co-ordinated… tee hee!
  • The Wifi is fast.
  • The counsellors love taking photos.  I think I now wear a permanent smile.


Reflecting on the RIASEC cards


I am grateful for my time in Indonesia and learnt a lot about working in a different context.  It challenged my perceptions and also made me realise that we have much to gain from embracing cross-cultural experiences.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Dee says:

    Great summary of your visit to Indonesia Andrew, and well done to you and your colleague on delivering this stellar workshop in such a short turnaround! Sounds like a very interesting exchange where you gave and received a lot. And what could be more kiwi than seeing you at Sydney airport LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew Tui says:

      Thanks for the feedback Dee! It was great to see you at the airport too 🙂


  2. grant says:

    Awesome Andrew – love the shirt too!


    1. Andrew Tui says:

      Thanks Grant! It was very comfortable too 🙂


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