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OTSecurityProfessional; TÜV Rheinland

New certification initiative to increase safety of industrial plants

Hackers are increasingly attacking operational technology systems in industrial plants. These systems detect physical effects or control motors, pumps or valves in industrial system. These systems are increasingly connected to the Internet in order to improve efficiency or help gain a competitive edge. These systems or  components may have vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-attacks. As  cybersecurity knowledge and skills in this domain are lacking TÜV Rheinland has developed the “Certified Operational Technology Cybersecurity Professional (TÜV)” certification program, which supports companies in identifying and improving team skills and thus increasing the overall cybersecurity of industrial and operational technology facilities.

The Triton malware attack reported in December 2017 was the first publicly documented cyber-attack on an industrial control infrastructure (ICS) designed to interfere with the operation of a Safety Instrumented System (SIS) used to protect an industrial plant as a fail safe against fire or explosion. According to experts, this incident was an urgent warning that attackers with geopolitical motives are now targeting security-critical systems.

The aim of attacks is usually to obtain intellectual property, trade secrets and technical information but many companies are unaware of the dangers cyber-attacks pose to their plants. In addition, their controls for cybersecurity are usually not tailored to the protection of OT systems. According to the new study “Industrial Security in 2019: A TÜV Rheinland Perspective“, 40 percent of respondents say they have never investigated the risks posed by cyber-attacks on industrial plants. A further 34 percent do not know whether their own company has ever investigated these risks. In addition, only one in five companies has tailored its cybersecurity measures specifically to industrial or OT facilities. This is alarming, as attacks from the network can shut down entire plants. This leads to production losses with high consequential costs and, in the case of critical infrastructures, can also have an impact on the overall security of supply and the smooth operation of modern society.

If production facilities or critical infrastructures – such as those of energy suppliers – are networked, this offers additional targets for cyber-attacks. Almost 70 percent of the respondents to the survey came from the manufacturing industry; in addition, the automotive industry, logistics companies, the oil and gas industry, public institutions as well as the telecommunications, energy and chemical industries were represented. The aim of the study was to better understand how companies detect and take protective measures against cyber-attacks. Because traditional knowledge in the field of cybersecurity is often not sufficient to meet the complex requirements of the industrial, networked world, TÜV Rheinland has developed this new certification for experts in the field of industrial cybersecurity.

More quality for the industry

With the new personal certification, TÜV Rheinland is responding to the increasing demand from specialists. In such a complex area as cybersecurity, a certification program from a neutral third party such as TÜV Rheinland can help to align companies’ expertise with the requirements of industrial cybersecurity and further professionalize industrial companies in this area.

The certification program actively evaluates candidates through a combination of professional career review, interview and technical review. Participants must have at least ten years’ experience in cybersecurity, including five years in a leadership role. The candidates prepare a case study as part of the examination. After a critical review by TÜV Rheinland experts, they will be invited to an online presentation and technical question and answer session. Experts who meet the standard receive a certificate from TÜV Rheinland and can use the title “Certified Operational Technology Cybersecurity Professional (TÜV)”. Re-certification by TÜV Rheinland is required every three years. Further information on the program can be found at:
www.tuv.com/en/otcybersecurityprofessional.

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Learning Trends 2019: Learning Apps and Extended Reality Increase

In 2019, digital media and methods in professional training, in particular, will continue to gain ground. This is reflected in the current “Learning Delphi,” a yearly trend monitor of the German mmb institute, think tank and driving force for innovation in education and learning. While Extended Reality (XR) is rapidly gaining in importance, wikis are slowly moving into the background over the years. According to experts in this study, web-based training is also losing its previously high position. It is clear that new digital technologies could slowly replace the old ones. The Trend Monitor is based on a survey of 65 education experts from companies, educational institutions and universities in Germany, according to which learning apps, explanatory videos, and digital learning assistants are top-rated.

The future of professional training is becoming even more digital, with social learning also gaining in relevance for 72 percent of the experts surveyed. Immersive learning applications are significant increasing: Extended Reality continues to grow. The term immersive is known from the gaming scene and means “deepening.” A recent study by the Turkish Gazi University in Ankara confirmed that XR has a positive influence on learning success. To teach their students how to assemble computer motherboards, Professor Dr. Ebru Kılıç Çakmak of the Faculty of Education used an immersive learning application. The marker-based XR application of educational researcher Çakmak, called “HardwareAR,” provided students with information about the properties of hardware components, ports, and assemblies. A control group acquired the theoretical and applied information about main board assembly from textbooks. The other students used the “HardwareAR” application. As a result, they were able to complete the assembly process in a shorter time and required less support. The AR students were significantly more successful than the textbook control group.

Blended learning, explanatory videos and learning apps clearly at the center
While training and further education in the craft trades can benefit from XR, other digital learning aids are on the advance in classically oriented professional training topics. Around 60 percent of the respondents to the “Learning Delphi” survey assume that “intelligent learning assistants” will establish themselves as an innovative form of learning over the next three years. Intended are systems that accompany learners through a learning process in dialogue form and remind them of deadlines and learning workloads. 97 percent of the experts regard Blended Learning and 89 percent Learning Apps as an increasingly important form of learning. The evergreen “Explanation Videos” is in second place with 94 percent. The importance of simulations has increased significantly from 36 to 53 percent. However, these findings may differ depending on age and generation and on the global average, as the following study shows:

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Where do most artificial intelligence professionals work?

In general, Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the attempt to reproduce certain human decision-making structures, e.g. by building and programming a computer in such a way that it can work on problems relatively independently. Often, however, this also refers to imitated intelligence, whereby “intelligent behavior” is to be simulated using mostly simple algorithms, for example in computer games. The understanding of the term artificial intelligence often reflects the enlightenment idea of “man as machine”, the imitation of which is aimed at the so-called strong AI: to create an intelligence that is to mechanize human thinking,[1] or to construct and build a machine that reacts intelligently or behaves like a human being. (Source: Wikipedia) But even artificial intelligence cannot get far without humans. According to a survey on LinkedIn, the USA has the highest number of Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts in the world.

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Elderly care competence in Poland for the need in Germany

As one of the fastest-growing societies in Europe, the demand for services for seniors in various sectors is increasing in Poland, but also in Germany. Due to market needs for professionally trained, qualified and certified employees in Poland, TÜV Rheinland Academy has started developing different programs for elderly care, oriented to the requirements of the German market.

Many employment agencies in Poland employ their teams in the elderly care sector, particularly in Germany. In 2011, one of the most significant association of employment agencies was interested in training for the staff who take care of seniors and working abroad especially in Germany as the elderly care assistant. Even though they already have many years of experience, the association wanted to train the staff and increased their competencies with certified qualifications also recognized on the German market. Therefore, TÜV Rheinland Academy Poland developed a customized project for the employment agencies and their customers.

Due to restrictive regulations of the German market, German employers increasingly demand the qualifications and competencies of employees in the elderly care industry. These regulations define the scope of requirements for people performing care and care activities. The Polish training meets these requirements — divided into two modules the training offers one self-learning part (in the form of scripts) as a preparation for the second module which covers 80 hours of intensive workshops.

On the first day of the workshop, there is a written exam from the self-learning part. With the final personnel certification the Polish attendant of elderly care now stands out in the market, especially in contrast to non-qualified people in this branch. The competence of the staff is essential in assessing the quality of care services provided. Careers, apart from detailed theoretical and practical preparation, must also have appropriate interpersonal skills. In this industry, high sensitivity to the needs of older people is of paramount importance, where the basis is the knowledge and understanding of those under care.

E-learning Module “Dementia diseases”

Initially, the training for the customized project for employment agencies was based on the German “Nursing Assistant” (Pflegehelfer) program with the exam and the final personnel certification. After three years of experience with this target group, TÜV Rheinland Poland gained the know-how to develop other trainings specified for the local market needs. One of the developed training contains a three day short workshop plus an e-learning module about the topic “Dementia diseases”, to fulfill the training content. This training was developed under an EU project dedicated mostly for the employees who already work with seniors in daily houses or nursing homes.

TÜV Rheinland Academy Poland pays particular attention to the quality of the training programs. An essential factor during the workshops is the ability of the students to use rehabilitation beds, wheelchairs, blood pressure monitors and small care devices properly. However, the ability to communicate with seniors and activate them again and again as well as the soft skills of the accompanying staff also play a major role. To date, our colleagues in Poland have trained more than 200 participants in various courses.  Although there is a great need for training in the elderly care sector, the main focus of investment has long been on infrastructure or equipment. Fortunately, it is becoming apparent that awareness of the qualification needs of the personnel is also slowly increasing in nursing care for the elderly. TÜV Rheinland Academy Poland is prepared to make its contribution to ensuring that the level of competence within the sector rises as quickly as possible in favour of the elderly.

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Why personnel certifications are more important than ever today

A highly engineered and networked society requires the actors to continuously acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills. Fewer and fewer people today are still in a position to survey the current key competencies within an industry, let alone across industries. This is a situation that everyone knows who decides to buy a car or a more complex electrical appliance. More and more consumers are turning to the test reports of TÜV or test portals before buying in order to orient themselves and evaluate the differences between manufacturers. In the field of professional training, the certification of individuals plays a similar role. What it can do and what to look out for when selecting providers.

The professional training market is characterized by a hardly manageable diversity of more or less well-known or unknown training providers and certifiers. They all issue certificates about the success of their participants in their advanced training courses, which are called certificates, diploma, attendance certificates, etc.. Independent personnel certification bodies such as PersCert TÜV use standardized and transparent test procedures based on internationally stringent standards to determine whether people possess specific knowledge and skills. If these can be objectively established, the personnel certification body shall issue a final certificate. These final certificates do not have unlimited validity, but are renewed after a recertification procedure. The prerequisite for recertification is that the certified person keeps his or her knowledge up to date.

Why personnel certification is worthwhile for both employees and companies

Various occupational groups can be tested and certified. TÜV Rheinland, for example, offers certified qualifications in the areas of production and technology, quality, sustainability, occupational safety and environmental protection, energy, IT and data protection, health services, security, services and sales. With success: Every year, around 30,000 people make use of the more than 750 certification programs of the independent and accredited certification body PersCert TÜV. For a good reason. Employees benefit in many ways:

  • Opportunities for specialization: Personnel certificates make it possible to specialize in a targeted manner, to design one’s own career path to fit precisely and to get step by step closer to one’s dream job.
  • Door opener for attractive jobs: Personnel certificates are a seal of quality.
  • Improved career prospects: Personnel certificates not only illustrate the skills and competencies that a person possesses, they also demonstrate commitment and thus provide important arguments for the next step on the career ladder.

But it is also worthwhile for companies to invest in the personnel certification of their own employees. For the following reasons, among others:

  • Uniform service and production standards
    Personnel certifications help to establish uniform standards throughout the company. In production as well as in quality management.
  • Improved competitive opportunities
    Personnel certifications contribute to improved competitiveness. Customers and partners know that they can rely on the expertise of the employees.
  • International Recognition
    Personnel certification procedures based on DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 are recognized worldwide. This makes certificates globally comprehensible and comparable. You can make it clear to business partners and customers that your employees are well trained in terms of their competencies. Because personnel certifications by PersCert TÜV are subject to the quality standards “Made in Germany”.
  • Targeted personnel development
    Personnel certifications are a first-class tool in the fight against the increasing shortage of skilled workers.
  • Motivated employees
    With personnel certificates you enable your employees to sharpen their own professional profile in a targeted manner. This contributes to their motivation and increases employee loyalty.

What should be considered when selecting a personnel certification body?

(1) The status of a participant’s certification should be publicly documented and should be available to interested parties for consultation at any time. In this way, doubts about the authenticity of a certificate or its content can be dispelled at any time. At PersCert TÜV, for example, the personnel certificates are documented and available for inspection at www.certipedia.com.

(2) The personnel certification should be carried out according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024, as is the case with PersCert TÜV. The DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 standard specifies internationally recognized requirements for a certification body. It is thus the basis for the high recognition of the certificates in business and administration.

Conclusion: In order to master the rapid progress in an ever more complex world, professional competencies are required. It is essential to know what knowledge and skills these qualifications actually comprise. Ultimately, this scope is decisive for the quality of results of services or products that customers of companies and organizations expect from individuals. Personnel certification makes the scope and timeliness of knowledge measurable. Learn more.

Efficient Driving: Fight against the Heavy Foot

In Chile, the transport and traffic sector is one of the country’s largest energy consumers with 33 percent. Transports in the mining and industrial sectors alone account for 82 percent. Energy consumption is mainly based on fossil fuels, with all the associated economic and environmental impacts. Against this background, TÜV Rheinland Academy Chile has developed a driving training course for “Efficient Driving” for the public sector. To date, more than 1,000 drivers from the Chilean government have undergone these training.

Through public elicitation in 2015, TÜV Rheinland Academy Chile was awarded the contract to give theoretical and practical driving courses for government staff in the whole country. Because of the team work and good results, it was such a success that, to date, more than 1,000 drivers, all belonging to the government staff, have been trained at a national level. “Efficient driving” in Chile can be considered as an unknown or unfamiliar concept; however, in simple words it means performing with a type of driving and attitude while in front of the steering wheel that allows one to obtain a higher performance and to prolong the life of the vehicle. The benefits associated with this practice are

  • energy benefits: lower fuel consumption
  • environmental benefits: reducing the gases of the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere
  • economic benefits: less maintenance and operation costs
  • social benefits: performing safe driving on all roads.

With the clear objective of making government`s resources more efficient, the Ministry of Energy entrusted TÜV Rheinland Academy to train public transport drivers. During the 3 years of the program, more than 1000 drivers were trained. A key factor for the success in this activity is the working team, the experience, the professionalism, and the management of the participants by the tutors. The trainers have more than ten years of experience in professional and non-professional drivers’ education, others are graduates in pedagogy with experience in drivers’ schools and transport companies. According to one of the participants, Marcelo Ramìrez, Regional Manager of the Professional Energy Efficiency Program, Energy Efficiency Division of the Atacama Region, this project had a good reception during its initial putting into action, stating that “the course was a complete success in view of its contents, the competence of the trainers and the work methodology”.
The team in Chile felt very proud to fulfill the main objective of the project: the significant reduction of fuel consumption, reductions that are easily quantifiable, tangible and valued. The average annual consumption is about 2 million liters of fuel. Applying efficient driving techniques, the projected savings would be nearly 142,000 liters per year; money savings would be around 139,000 Euro. For TÜV Rheinland Academy Chile, the training program has been a great challenge, because it places the company as the responsible entity for providing new competence and tools to the members of the different areas of the Chilean government. This makes TÜV Rheinland Academy Chile a facilitator of the government’s plan for the reduction of energy consumption which seeks to educate and generate awareness through good practices, where the government must always be an example to follow.

More about TÜV Rheinland Academy Chile.

Tips for efficient driving in moving pictures.

Looking outside the box: How do other countries or companies handle the topic?

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How XR boosts technical competence

So-called XR technologies are enjoying great popularity in education. After all, Extended Reality (XR) can be used to convey a wide variety of learning content in an extremely practice-oriented way. But how does this actually work? An overview.

Try it. It’s about studying: That’s why flight simulators have been around for almost as long as the aircraft itself. The first were built more than a hundred years ago and consisted of mobile platforms that could be used to simulate the most important flight movements. A seat, a joystick, a few ball joints: these were the beginnings of pilot training.

Immerse yourself in virtual learning worlds
Today, on the other hand, the first dry runs for young pilots feel much more realistic – not least because airlines are increasingly relying on so-called XR technologies for pilot training. XR stands for Extended Reality and combines different virtual technologies under one roof. In modern flight simulators, for example, virtual reality tools play a major role. This allows challenging situations such as storms or engine failures to be simulated realistically. The advantage: Those who have already familiarized themselves with the imponderables of airspace in a flight simulator will be much more familiar with the first real cross-country flights. To make such realistic experiences possible on the ground, you only need two things: VR glasses and a computer program that generates the desired environment. When the user puts on the VR glasses, he can immerse himself in this artificially generated environment and move freely in it virtually. In contrast to a film or video game, it is no longer an observer, but part of the scenery.

Augmented Reality (AR): adding information to the real world
While VR technologies enable immersion in virtual worlds, augmented reality (AR) enriches reality with artificial elements. In concrete terms, this means that users remain in the real world, where they can perceive not only real information, but also computer-generated information or content. In other words: VR technologies put the user in a virtual environment. AR, on the other hand, brings virtual objects into the real world.

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AR technologies are also used for training purposes. For example, trainees with special glasses can safely work on virtual welding objects, as it is already the case with the training at TÜV Rheinland Academy. With the help of TÜV Rheinland, RWE Power has also simplified training for maintenance work on bucket wheel excavators and other heavy equipment using XR technologies – and can thus relieve operators of large equipment. To this end, maintenance personnel are trained via data goggles so that they can perform their tasks safely for people and the environment and effectively – even if their last assignment was a few months ago. Different levers and switches are visualized through the glasses in the form of holograms, functions of the switching elements in the driver’s cab are explained in detail, work processes are explained step by step. The application is not faded in statically in the image field, but blends seamlessly into the real environment. In the case of RWE, this means that the training of maintenance personnel not only takes place in the “classroom”, but also on the heavy equipment itself. The application, developed by TÜV Rheinland’s Digital Learning team, detects the shovel excavator’s driver’s cab and positions the hologram of each control element exactly where it should be. This enables maintenance personnel to find all the necessary levers and switches in no time at all and to apply the practical knowledge acquired by AR in practice without any problems.

XR – an important trend in the teaching of technical skills
It is not for nothing that XR technologies are regarded as an important future trend in the education sector. They pave the way for location-independent and thus cost-effective training courses, are much more fun than conventional training courses and – most importantly – ensure that the practical transfer of theoretical learning content is successful. Accordingly, TÜV Rheinland Academy is currently consistently expanding its range of XR training solutions, for example in the area of forklift driving licenses or in the area of mobility and engineering. As the Chinese philosopher Confucius says: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand

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MDR Transition Period – All Clear at Half Time?

Slowly but surely, the end of the transition period for the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR) of 25 May 2020 is approaching. In the meantime, half of the three-year transition period has elapsed and it is foreseeable that implementation of the MDR in companies in the medical device industry will only progress slowly and that pressure will increase.

This is underlined by the results of a recent survey conducted by RAPS and KPMG. Many of the medical device manufacturers surveyed lack long-term planning to meet the requirements of the new MDR. Only 22% of the respondents confirm a comprehensive understanding and strategy for the MDR impact; 41% have little to no knowledge of the regulations. It is very critical that almost 80% of the respondents currently lack the necessary knowledge and understanding of MDR. Nevertheless, technical experts and the industry associations recommend continuing to work at full speed on the rapid implementation of the MDR requirements. All stakeholders are waiting for detailed information that will make the implementation of the MDR livable. In the meantime, the European Commission has issued a step-by-step guide and a fact sheet for the implementation of the Medical Devices Ordinance. In 2018, the MDCG (Medical Device Coordination Group) also published the first MDR guidelines. But there are still too many ambiguities, such as the term “sufficient clinical data”.

The 4th Spring update Medical Device Conference of TÜV Rheinland Akademie addresses questions and problems in the interpretation and implementation of Medical Device Regulation. The conference also provides a platform for information and exchange on current focal topics for medical device manufacturers. The conference program and registration information can be found at:

https://akademie.tuv.com/shop/product/4-spring-update-medizinproduktekonferenz-2019-5865

Classroom training – still far from out of fashion

As part of the digital transformation and dynamic advances in technology, companies and institutions must reckon much more seriously than before with the question: Are our teams still up-to-date? Do they have the skills required for handling the coming challenges? Do we have all the skills internally that we need to achieve our goals? Technical topics and related applications, services and devices are evolving rapidly during this time, so companies should start competence building with dynamic sources such as seminars, training and courses and with instructors who follow this dynamic development also in the real world. The learner should always be in focus, so as a company it makes sense to deal with different learning formats. According to the scientist Hermann Ebbinghaus, the retention and recall by skilled workers depends on the type of material to be learned. Classic face-to-face seminars play an important role in the range of analog and digital learning formats. The advantages: immediate communication, promotion of personal learning and practice in a quiet, safe place where the learner can concentrate fully on the learning process and content. Learning is intensified through group interaction, where participants learn from each other and from the trainer.

Do you want to learn more about learning strategies and formats? Detailed information about classic and innovative learning concepts for increasing your operational excellence can be found here:

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Don’t stop dreaming! 

Astronaut, professional soccer player, princess: Do you still remember what you once wanted to become? Not all childhood dreams come true. But sometimes the dream job is still only a stone’s throw away. Let yourself be inspired – by success stories around the globe.

Times are changing. Career desires hardly do: For decades, little boys have dreamed of becoming police officers or pilots, girls usually want a professional career as (veterinary) doctors or teachers. However, Sophia was different: She liked to tinker with technology, even at an early age. Pin toys, Lego robots, computers – she wasn’t satisfied until she knew exactly how something worked. Later, she dreamed of running her own IT company. A dream she realized: Together with two friends, Sophia founded her own Start Up. ” To keep my business growing, I have to keep up with the latest technology,” she says. The instructors at TÜV Rheinland Academy are there to help her. They themselves have practical experience and are dedicated to you with innovations and digitization.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Sophia.

Happiness makes you productive

TÜV Rheinland Academy is specialized in training and further education in technical professions and offers companies, graduates and professionals a wide range of opportunities to develop their personal potential. Mohammed from India has also benefited from it. Initially, he wanted to be a racing driver. Today, he works as a mechatronics engineer for an international automotive group. Not least because with the Vocational Training of TÜV Rheinland Academy he experienced exactly the dual vocational training based on the German model, which is the basis for getting an opportunity for a job interview with global players. He made it, although he came from a modest background and lacked the money for education. “The education was financially supported and was outstanding. That’s why I can live my dream today,” he says. Good for his employer! After all, studies show that happy employees are about 20 percent more productive than their dissatisfied colleagues.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Mohammed.

There could be more people like Sophia or Mohammed worldwide. According to the Gallup Engagement Index in the USA, just one in three employees (33 percent) still feels emotionally committed to his job. And that is already the world’s top value. In the European Union, only one in ten employees (11 percent) is happy with his or her job, while one in four (25 percent) has already mentally resigned.

Why is that? On the one hand, many companies concentrate exclusively on their day-to-day business and thereby lose sight of employee development. On the other hand, even employees do not pursue their career goals consistently enough. John’s example shows that things can be different: Already as a child, he was very ambitious. Today, he works in his dream job and moves heavy construction frames as a crane operator. It wasn’t always easy to get there. “I started at the bottom, but I always kept an eye on my goal,” John remembers. Then his employer financed his training as a crane operator, and he passed the examination at PersCert TÜV. For him, personnel certification is not just a degree, but a kickoff for a successful international career that offers him many opportunities.

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of John.

Tailor-made e-learning offers for individual careers

So it’s not always the direct route that leads to the dream job, but that’s exactly what you should expect and inform yourself accordingly. Especially the increasing digitalization and automation offers exciting, sometimes undreamed of development possibilities. Today, for example, it is no longer necessary to study computer science to protect companies from hackers, viruses and other threats. Jane can prove this: she decided not to study and instead took tailor-made e-learning courses at TÜV Rheinland Academy. Today, she works as an IT expert and continues to focus on digital training. “Together with TÜV Rheinland Academy, for example, we have developed a customized course on cybersecurity for our company,” she says. “It is working out really well!”

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Jane.

Paul also opted for a training course at TÜV Rheinland Academy as part of his continuing education program and was very enthusiastic about the practice-oriented courses. Without hesitation, he applied to be a trainer. With success. Today, he shares his expertise with young professionals and executives around the world. “I used to be a great electrical engineer at home. Today, I’m creating new ideas worldwide,” he proudly states. “It’s nice that I can share my dream with so many people and pass on my knowledge myself – so that others may also realize their dream.”

> In this video you can get to know the whole story of Paul.

We hope you haven’t given up dreaming either! Find out more about how the services offered by TÜV Rheinland Academy have supported Sophia, Mohammed, John, Jane and Paul on their career paths, or find out for yourself what opportunities are available to you worldwide through training and further education at TÜV Rheinland Academy. Find out more on www.tuv.com/academy.