What does the future hold for automation and employability? One thing is certain: We will have to learn new skills. Skills to deal with change, and for jobs, we don’t even have an idea of today. The world’s largest staffing company, the Manpower Group, surveyed 18,000 employers in 43 countries from 6 industry sectors to find out what these skills might be, what jobs we will have to do with them, and what the world of work might look like in the near future.

According to the survey, current technology can automate up to 45 percent of the tasks people are paid to do every day. At the same time, we have long adapted to this evolution of the labor market – chatbots, automated customer service on the phone, word processors to personal assistants are nothing new. The difference now is that the lifecycle of skills is shorter than ever before, and change is occurring at an unprecedented rate. The impact may be hyperinflated today, but as the cost and complexity of implementing technology decreases, the pace will continue to accelerate.

And yet, new technologies can be expensive and require people with expertise. Employers are therefore reluctant to say “hello automation, goodbye workers” with full vigor. Most employers expect a net gain from automation and adapting to digitalization for employees. Eighty-three percent intend to maintain or increase their workforce and train their employees over the next two years. Only 12 percent of employers plan to reduce headcount due to automation. What does this look like at your company? Are you relying more on new technologies or on loyal employees who are willing to get Professional Training?

Automation and employability = willingness to learn new things

We can assume that the value we place on different skills will soon change. Digitization and growth of skilled work hold opportunities as long as organizations and individuals are ready for this change in values. New technologies will replace both cognitive and manual routine tasks, allowing people to take on more fulfilling roles and leave routine tasks to an algorithm. Creativity, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility are skills that will tap human potential and allow people to complement robots rather than be replaced by them. Increasingly, humans will find they need to move up and diversify into new areas. Competency proximity, agility, and the ability to learn will be critical.

This means that for people, employability – the ability to get and keep the job they want – no longer depends on what they can already do, but on their willingness to learn new things they don’t yet know anything about. The companies that can combine the right combination of people, skills, and technology are the ones that will win. Take a look at your company structure: who can do what and how far have you implemented new technical solutions? Is there possibly room for improvement in one place or another?

Know-how transfer from individual to individual

The future of work and employability requires different skills, and employers need to focus more than ever on retraining and upskilling to address the current talent shortage and anticipate tomorrow’s needs. Nearly three-quarters are investing in internal training to keep skills up to date. 44 percent are hiring additional skills rather than replacing them, and more than a third are getting third parties or contractors to transfer expertise to their employees. We should not underestimate the value of human connection. Transforming work in the age of machines doesn’t have to be a battle between humans and robots.

Which talents do you promote in your company?

Manpower Group has declared the “Skills Revolution.” It requires a new mindset, both for employers trying to develop a workforce with the right skills and for individuals looking to advance their careers. Education initiatives to strengthen the talent pipeline are important, but not the only answer and may take many years to bear fruit. Businesses have a role to play in improving people’s lives and must be a powerful part of the solution for employability. Now is the time for leaders and individuals to realize their responsibility and be responsive. Find out about the opportunities to nurture talent and develop new “skills” in your company. The TÜV Rheinland Academy, for example, can help you with this. We support you with proven solutions for people in the workplace and in your professional environment. Contact us, and we will discuss together which forms and methods can best be implemented in your company.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Akademie

 

A highly technical and networked society demands that players continuously acquire up-to-date knowledge and skills. Fewer and fewer people today can keep track of the current critical competencies within an industry, let alone across industries. This is a situation familiar to anyone who decides to purchase a car or a more complex electrical appliance. More and more consumers are turning to test reports from Stiftung Warentest, TÜV, or test portals before purchasing to get their bearings and evaluate the differences between manufacturers. In the area of professional training, personnel certifications play a comparable role. What they can achieve and what to look out for when selecting providers.

The professional training market is characterized by a hardly manageable variety of more or less known or unknown training providers and certifiers. They all issue certificates about the success of their participants in their training events, which are called certificates, certificates of attendance, etc.. Without extensive research, it is impossible to assess the meaningfulness of these documents.

Through standardized and transparent testing procedures based on internationally valid standards, independent personnel certification bodies such as PersCert TÜV determine whether people possess specific knowledge and skills. If these can be determined objectively, the personnel certification body issues a final certificate. These final certificates are not valid indefinitely but are renewed after a recertification procedure. The prerequisite for recertification is that the certified person keeps his knowledge up to date.

Why personnel certification is worthwhile for employees and companies alike

A wide range of 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, healthcare, security, and services and sales. With success: every year, around 30,000 people make use of the more than 750 certification programs offered by the independent and accredited certification body PersCert TÜV. For good reason. Employees benefit in many ways:

  • Opportunities for specialization: personnel certifications make it possible to specialize in a targeted way, to shape one’s own career path to fit exactly and to get closer to one’s dream job step by step.
  • Door opener for attractive jobs: Personnel certifications are seals of quality. Especially when it comes to filling attractive positions or management positions, they are increasingly tipping the proverbial scales.
  • Improved chances of promotion: Personnel certifications not only illustrate the competencies of a person, they also prove 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 certification helps to establish uniform standards of employee competence throughout the company.
  • Improved competitive opportunities
  • Tailored personnel certification programs keep companies one step ahead of the competition.
  • International recognition
  • Personnel certification procedures based on DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 are recognized worldwide.  This makes certifications globally traceable and comparable. This makes it clear to business partners and customers that the company’s own employees have received the best possible training in terms of competencies. In the case of personnel certification by PersCert TÜV, the quality standards “Made in Germany” apply.
  • Targeted personnel development
  • Personnel certifications are a first-class tool in the fight against the increasing shortage of skilled workers. You build up required competencies from your own ranks.
  • Motivated employees
  • Personnel certificates enable your employees to sharpen their own professional profile in a targeted manner. This contributes to their motivation and increases employee loyalty.

What should you look for when choosing a personnel certification body?

The status of a participant’s certification should be publicly documented, and interested parties should be able to ask about it 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 certifications are documented and can be viewed at www.certipedia.de.
Personnel certification should be in accordance with DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024, as is the case with PersCert TÜV. The DIN EN ISO/IEC 17024 standard defines internationally recognized requirements for a certification body. It is thus the basis for the high recognition of certificates in business and administration.

Conclusion: To master the rapid progress in an increasingly complex world, professional competencies are in demand. It is essential to know what knowledge and skills these qualifications actually comprise. After all, this scope is ultimately decisive for the quality of results of services or products that customers expect from companies and organizations expect from individuals. Personnel certification makes the scope and currency of knowledge measurable.

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Industry 4.0 or “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT) is revolutionizing the producing middle class and corporations. It strengthens competitiveness, accelerates product development, and enables individual products. IIoT, also known as Industry 4.0, is more than just the technical digitalization of industry. The planning of new digital processes and their introduction are unthinkable without skilled employees. Qualification and competence management of all players, as well as personnel certification and an external view, are important success factors for the development of the smart factory of the future.

Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a collective term for digitization in industrial production. It involves the networking of machines, tools, and people in seamless digital end-to-end process chains. From the customer to production and suppliers, a completely digital performance chain is realized, through which all data is available for all process steps.

Manufacturing companies, in particular, are looking for a way to realize competitive advantages with technologies based on Big Data, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and Industry 4.0. The factory of the future is intelligent, flexible, automated, efficient, and sustainable. Large volumes of data should not only be manageable but also converted into Smart Data and used by Smart Data Services – from the store floor to after-sales service at the management level.

Currently, 17.7 billion IIoT connections are said to exist worldwide, Juniper Research reported in early November 2020. The British market researchers forecast an increase to 36.8 billion networked industrial things by 2025, which means they expect growth of over 100 percent in just five years. In their study “Industrial IoT: Future Market Outlook, Technology Analysis and Key Player 2020-2025“, the analysts identify smart manufacturing as the most important growth driver. In particular, the widespread introduction of 5G wireless technology, narrowband IoT and low-power wide area networks (LPWA) are playing a key role for new service offerings in the manufacturing industry. In the smart factory of the future, real-time data will enable the autonomous production of individual parts at the cost of mass production. For this to succeed, companies need qualified employees. The bottleneck for the introduction of Industry 4.0 lies less in technology. Rather, it is the people with the right skills to ensure that intelligent value creation is actually introduced successfully.

What’s the added value?

For a smart factory to be successful, it is not enough to simply connect machines, production planning, or Manufacturing Execution Systems (PPS / MES) with an IIoT solution. The work starts much earlier when a company also wants to create real added value with its Industry 4.0 project. The starting point should always be an assessment of how ready a company is for Industry 4.0. Just because a company already uses tablets does not mean that its IIoT maturity level is already particularly high. Very often media breaks, data silos, and data streams that end up in one system, again and again, prevent the creation of value from data and the use of all data where it is urgently needed.

While many companies initially focus only on their production, production planners often forget the external interfaces to suppliers and customers as well as the internal networking with ERP, merchandise management, purchasing, accounting, product development, after-sales, and quality assurance.

At the beginning of an Industry 4.0 project, a systemic view is therefore required to analyze the processes. Building on this, the processes must be adapted based on an IIoT strategy, which includes a detailed description of objectives and functions. The aim is to integrate the entire company, its suppliers, and customers into a fully digitalized end-to-end process.

The goal of this planning phase must be to network all systems and all stakeholders, all data silos, all potential data sources, right through to quality assurance and after-sales processes in a seamless digital Industry 4.0 process chain in the future. In doing so, companies often underestimate the challenges of their many incompatible interfaces. It is true that data is created everywhere. But it must also be understood by all networked systems. After all, data only unfolds its added value if it can also be utilized as needed. This means that every digital device, right down to a torque wrench, must be integrated in a way that it feeds its actual data into the system and can be controlled by it. Only through this consistent end-to-end process chain can production steps be consistently and continuously optimized and transparently monitored even years later in case of a complaint or maintenance. With these complex requirements for a new Industry 4.0 infrastructure, individual disciplines such as the IT department and production planning are often overtaxed by themselves. In each case, there is a lack of know-how and an overview of the whole as well as the company’s boundaries.

An external view is advisable for the Industry 4.0 realization for two other reasons: before hardware and software are purchased, the requirements must be precisely defined and it must also be verified that the planned adaptations to the company’s own processes in IIoT standard solutions such as MindSphere are possible at all and will bring the expected improvements. In addition, employees must also go through learning curves parallel to the process changeover.

Developing Industry 4.0 competencies of employees

After all, for Industry 4.0 innovations to be implemented successfully, employees must be able to keep up with the pace. The basis for this is a management system and an organization in which the dynamism and speed of a holistic and flexible end-to-end process responsibility are lived out. In contrast to industrial mass production, where the same operations, i.e. constant repetition, were always necessary for the manufacture of large numbers of identical products, the employees in an Industry 4.0 production facility need a different attitude and different skills. Agility, interdisciplinarity, and creativity cannot be arranged. Rather, it is a change process that affects the entire company and in which everyone must be empowered to play an active role in shaping it. In an Industry 4.0 production environment, machines, devices, tools, sensors, and people work together and must communicate with each other. Employees must operate the hardware and software, evaluate, interpret, and document data and interact agilely with the IIoT infrastructure. And they have to learn to do this. Parallel to the introduction of Industry 4.0, a qualification initiative must therefore be launched to build up the role-specific skills of employees.

Ideally, the change process of introducing Industry 4.0 should be accompanied by a dedicated training system that prepares all employees for the new world in a timely manner using virtual classrooms and hybrid forms of learning. In security-relevant areas, in addition to training and further education, personnel certifications are also required to be able to provide proof of the employees’ qualifications. The goal must be that with the start of IIoT live operations, all employees have an understanding of the processes and the supporting hardware and software that is adapted to their roles and tasks. Only when these conditions have been met can a company exploit the full potential of its new Industry 4.0 production facility through the interaction of people, technology, and processes.

TÜV Rheinland is one of the few players in the world that can offer integrated Industry 4.0 consulting from a single source. Experts for smart factory work closely with the specialists for competence development and competence measurement in IIoT. TÜV Rheinland is currently offering live online training courses on what digitization and Industry 4.0 mean for their own company and how their own business model can be made even more successful through digital manufacturing services. Experts present use cases to explain selected KPIs and show best practice examples from various industries. More information about an integrated Industry 4.0 strategy can be found here and also in German and Chinese.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

Personnel certifications by TÜV Rheinland are now also accessible as secure online certification  – via online proctoring worldwide. This is TÜV Rheinland Academy and PersCert TÜV’s response to how the Corona-related lockdown has changed the way of life of students and those who pursue adult education and certification in almost all countries.

Learning and preparing for exams is an arduous task for anyone, but if the exam is then delayed, this can be an extremely frustrating experience. So PersCert TÜV was faced with the seemingly insurmountable challenge as a result of the Corona pandemic of certifying thousands of students and adult learners each month in a way that was secure and remote so that participants working from home could take their exams from home as well. PersCert TÜV implemented the Certification Hub in a matter of weeks to be able to provide online certification exams since mid-April.

750 different online certification in 38 languages remotely possible

Certification is an essential instrument for companies and authorities wanting to understand better the competence and knowledge of their staff for the tasks at hand. Whether working in health care, food safety, industrial plants, or management systems, these individuals need to prove that they have kept their knowledge and skills up to date. PersCert TÜV has been developing and conducting internationally recognized and comparable assessments for the determination of competence for many years, and PersCert TÜV certifies thousands of individuals around the world in around 750 ISO 17024 compliant certification programs. Now on completing their training in a variety of virtual classroom formats provided by TÜV Rheinland Academy and training partners, they can certify in a secure and safe environment and be able to validate their competence rapidly.

24/7 availability of Online Proctoring Service

The online certification with the Certification Hub allows two variations, both of which are fully GDPR compliant. Either the participant can use the online proctoring 24/7 service (which is currently English-speaking only). The educational institution registers and authorizes the candidate for the online examination, validating that he or she fulfills the admission requirements. The candidate receives a link to the Certification Hub and can then schedule an online proctored exam appointment via their PC or laptop in the comfort of their own home. The test candidate then downloads a secure browser and logs in with his or her access data fifteen minutes before the start time. The secure browser ensures that the candidate can take the exam on their device but cannot access other applications, the Internet, a printer, etc. during the course of the exam. The candidate must activate his web camera and is welcomed by an online exam supervisor who observes the candidate during the exam. The proctor starts by authenticating the photo ID of the candidate and checking that the candidate is alone in the room. Once the proctor is satisfied that secure exam conditions are met, the exam can then be started.

After passing the exam, the candidates immediately receive their online certification results in the case of automatically scored multiple-choice exams. If there are open questions in the exam, e.g., create an audit report, the responses of the candidate are separately scored remotely by assessors with a scoring tool inside the Certification Hub. In the future, candidates will also be able to download a digital certificate from the Certification Hub.

The second variation, which has been developed to accommodate candidates who would rather interact with an online proctor in their local language, follows a similar process, but the candidate is assigned an exam appointment in an exam session event by PersCert TÜV.

Further developments of the Certification Hub

The Certification Hub is currently configured to deliver written multiple-choice and open question (manually scored) examinations. However in later phases this year the usage of the online Certification Hub will be extended to enable practical assessments via Tablet.

You can find further information about PersCert TÜV at www.tuv.com/academy-perscert

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Virtual classrooms have been around for a long time, but since Corona, they have become even more popular. Providers of further education like TÜV Rheinland Academy digitalized their regular seminar offer within a short time and modified the training methods and didactics. The aim is to use digital technology effectively for all learning types with Virtual Classrooms (VC).

Training in seminar rooms is only possible with a hygiene concept until a vaccine is discovered. The “physical distancing” is valid indefinitely. However, further occupational training must not be allowed to fall by the wayside. For companies and their employees, there are excellent opportunities, especially now. As long as many companies are still in short-time work, the time can be used to extend the Corona-related learning curves. In times of low workload, investments in the qualification of employees are worthwhile.

Because by building up competence, employers and employees strengthen their competitiveness for the future of work. Furthermore, anyone taking part in further training in a Virtual Classroom from their home office or via mobile device today enjoys a lively learning world with interaction and fun, including simultaneous monitoring of learning success.

From e-Learning to Virtual Classrooms

Concepts and technical solutions for lively, interactive formats of corporate knowledge transfer have been around since the 90s. Synchronous learning media have been part of professional training from the very beginning. Those who spoke of e-learning usually had web-based training in mind. Limiting factors were often the technical infrastructure or the lack of bandwidth. Interaction between participants and trainers took place via chats or telephone conferences.

To support the participants even better in designing their learning environment and learning progress, educational institutions and universities developed Virtual Classrooms, which take place synchronously and live in class. All trainers, moderators, and participants are connected live via webcam and headsets. This opens up educational and methodological possibilities that are almost equal to those of real seminars.

In addition to the traditional whiteboard lecture by a trainer, participants can exchange views in open discussions followed by an online participant survey. This happens in a video conference, which also gets a new liveliness through chats.

Participants can also make their contributions, give speeches, and record presentations or videos from their computers. In addition to this, working groups can be formed; asynchronous newsgroups complement the exchange within the framework of digital learning, which has the great advantage of being able to combine an entire toolset for synchronous and asynchronous learning processes (Blended Learning).

Virtual Classrooms: Immediate feedback for trainers and participants

Because people’s learning behavior is different, some have a short attention span and are easily distracted, which was a particular challenge in the home office during the Corona pandemic and still is in some instances. Some need fixed structures; others prefer to divide up the learning material themselves. In all situations, some form of social interaction is desirable to revive the joy of learning and learning progress. The recurring challenge for education providers and competence partners is to meet all these needs within the framework of digital learning – especially in times of Corona.

Good trainers use the knowledge of the learning types in their courses to adapt their educational modules to these optimally. Impulse presentations of thirty or more minutes, which were common in the past, are divided up into several smaller ones. These can be varied with videos, group work, and flash surveys to involve the participants in the further course of the seminar unit. All in all, the lessons are more interactive, multimedia-based, and sometimes also with playful elements.
Trainers use short one-on-one conversations to check individual learning statuses. In this way, they receive immediate feedback, for example, to close gaps in knowledge early on by repeating the lessons. And even performance assessments can now be carried out in a legally compliant manner using appropriate tools with clear identification.

Digital and conventional training will complement each other even more closely in the future

Even if the practical skills still have to be trained in the future, as in the case of welder training, the necessary theoretical knowledge can certainly be taught in a Virtual Classroom  – possibly supplemented by innovative digital approaches, such as a virtual reality scenario. This allows smaller groups to use available practical training places alternately. In any case, the trainers from TÜV Rheinland Academy have shown during the Corona shutdown that they can also convey previously conventional offerings successfully from their seminar portfolio in Virtual Classrooms.

Above all, feedback from participants also shows that they experienced a lively learning world with interaction and fun. One participant put it in a nutshell: “For two days, I took part in an online seminar at TÜV Rheinland. The tutor was professional, serious, and responsible. Instead of seemingly boring terms and lessons, I experienced enthusiastic explanations that stay in my mind. To every question, the trainer responded in time and with a smile and gave professional answers. And she also asked questions so that we could interact well. The three-day Virtual Classroom has awakened my enthusiasm to continue learning online. ”

Here you can find the current online offer of TÜV Rheinland Academy from Virtual Classrooms to e-learnings by simply choosing your country.

 

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

 

When it comes to the future of work, the Institute for the Future (IFTF) in Palo Alto, California is convinced: “There will be a new partnership between people and machines that increases productivity. Human intelligence cannot be replaced. On the contrary, the work of the future will require new skills from employees.

The potential for future collaboration between humans and artificial intelligence (AI), robots, mobile end devices for augmented reality, and blockchain can already be seen in the existing basic technologies. For the IFTF, this collaboration at the workplace already begins with recruiting. They predict that the partnership of personnel with AI will allow more equitable selection processes to select candidates according to their skills and not according to gender, age or other biographical characteristics. The algorithms would also replace all too human prejudices in the composition of teams with a clear analysis of the machine, which puts together optimal teams from a variety of skills and personal characteristics. This leads to an increase in work productivity, a better working environment, and more intensive employee retention. As many as 67 percent of the managers surveyed by the IFTF can imagine using AI in the future to achieve more equal opportunities.

Future of Work: Enhanced skills through machines

If AI prevents hidden discrimination in personnel work, it will expand and supplement human skills in other contexts of work. For example, 70 percent of IFTF executives would like their employees to work with machines and robots to overcome their human limitations. At BMW’s mini-production facility in Oxford, for example, collaborative robots are already working together with people. Such CoBots are equipped with sensors so as not to injure their flesh and blood colleagues. However, colleague AI could also replace employees if they are not enabled to collaborate with AI. Especially for the use of AI for the analysis of large amounts of data, the employees also need the corresponding skills. In a 2019 study, Price Waterhouse Coopers asked 500 decision-makers which employee skills were relevant for AI use and to what extent. 81 percent felt that employees needed to understand the potential and limitations of AI. 80 percent each mentioned knowledge about secure and transparent AI as well as understanding and knowledge about data-driven business models. Few companies, however, have the correspondingly trained employees. For this reason, the introduction and successful use of AI will only succeed if companies simultaneously qualify their employees for the application. For the AI to be useful as a colleague in a team, it must be programmed with algorithms to suit the task and be equipped with the correctly formulated task to extract useful information from large amounts of data. This also makes it clear that human intelligence has to control what the AI then has to process.

AI deployment will not be successful without human intelligence

This need for training will also be triggered by a third technology that has already made its breakthrough in the gaming sector. Augmented and mixed reality with data glasses or mobile devices will also become established at work in the future, for example in design and planning. 3D visualization in an augmented reality allows building plans to be displayed in a room in which entire teams are simultaneously working on a complex problem. According to experts, the technology has great potential to increase team productivity in development tasks. In the IFTF study, 86 percent of executives said that they were planning to use new technologies to improve employee productivity.

Artificial intelligence will be irreplaceable in many “human” activities in the future: disease diagnosis, language translation, customer service, data analysis, production, design, and maintenance. But the algorithms will be written by humans, who in turn will have to monitor the AI. To achieve this, they need skills that hardly any university teaches today. But without human intelligence, the use of AIs will not be successful. For this, companies must first make their employees fit for AI use.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

 

The international recruitment of specialists developed by TÜV Rheinland Academy at the end of 2019, is flourishing magnificently. Alongside Hyundai, Viasona, a 100 percent Mercedes subsidiary, has now joined the project. The first automotive mechatronics technicians were placed at Mercedes. Talks are underway with the first BMW pilot dealers about strategic cooperation in Germany and Great Britain to provide skilled workers. Currently, some 220 Indian automotive mechatronics engineers and 55 mechatronics technicians are studying at TÜV Rheinland Academy NIFE India to complete their B1 level language training in a few months. Some of them are still receiving post-qualification in areas of work that differ from the content taught in Germany. With the support of TÜV Rheinland Global Experts, they are preparing to start working in the workshops of Hyundai, Mercedes and some multi-brand dealerships from April. Before they can enter Germany, however, there are still many bureaucratic hurdles to be overcome. The effort with the local and the candidates’ local authorities is enormous, but TÜV Rheinland Academy has found a good solution to speed up the processes.

New processes for professional recognition create a competitive advantage
The team is currently working together with the Cologne Chamber of Trade on the recognition of the candidates’ professional qualifications. For specialists like a mechatronic engineer, up to 30 documents have to be translated and certified. TÜV Rheinland Academy hired state-approved and sworn translators for this purpose. In addition, the curricula of the individual courses of study have to be translated, and it has to be determined whether they correspond to the study achievements of comparable German degrees. Because this proof and the documentation of comparability with German reference professions in the BQ-Portal is the only way to create the conditions for recognition of the specialists by a chamber of trade or chamber of commerce. The BQ-Portal is a German information portal for foreign professional qualifications. The portal helps employers to classify the qualifications of their applicants from abroad. Overall, this process can take between two and three months for each individual candidate. TÜV Rheinland Academy is currently in the process of reducing this recognition process to one month.

Immigration of skilled workers will speed up Visa procedures
The recognition then forms the basis for the visa issued by the German Embassy in India, which in turn can take up to three months. However, this could also accelerate in the future. On the one hand, the German Skilled Immigration Act, which has been in force since March 2020, will bring some relief. On the other hand, during her visit to India, Chancellor Angela Merkel held out the prospect that in the future the Chamber of Foreign Trade, with which the Global Experts Team is in close contact, will provide even more intensive support to German employers in recruiting specialists and skilled workers.

At Hyundai, the first five mechatronics technicians will start in April 2020 in dealer workshops. And together with the head office, they will be scaling up to the Hyundai dealer network from the beginning of 2020. The Mercedes dealer chain Schloz Wöllenstein GmbH & Co. KG in Chemnitz will also start in spring with four skilled workers, and  Mercedes-Benz in Bremen with three skilled workers. At Viasona, a subsidiary of Schloz Wöllenstein, which provides personnel services for the automotive trade, 200 to 250 automotive mechatronics technicians will be placed with Mercedes each year. In the meantime, four to five BMW dealers who are interested in Indian mechatronics engineers contact TÜV Rheinland Academy every month. The TÜV Rheinland Academy Training Center in Chemnitz is responsible for language training in India. The Chemnitz colleagues are also preparing the integration of the candidates; a model project that will be expanded nationwide.

The employers are also already making a great deal of effort to give the new Indian specialists a warm welcome. For example, a workshop team from Schloz Wöllenstein had T-shirts with the Mercedes logo and the names of their four new colleagues printed and sent to India. The Chemnitz and Indian colleagues already got to know each other in a virtual conference. And as a thank you for the warm welcome from Chemnitz, the mechatronics engineers shot a video in India to show how they signed their employment contracts in a ceremony in the presence of their families. This, in turn, inspired the Schloz Wöllensteiner to shoot a video with a tour of the workshop for the Indians so that they can get used to their new workplaces. Both sides are longingly expecting each other. This shows once again that cordiality, common values, and goals, overcome boundaries in every way.

Contact: Thomas.Bastian@de.tuv.com 

competence management tüv rheinland academy

If you’re going to remain competitive in the labor market, you have to develop your competencies. If you want to monetize your workforce, you have to be flexible and willing to learn. Hardly anyone works his whole life in the same profession. This applies to both companies and employees. In the USA, sometimes competencies are already more important than the vocational qualification once acquired. Is the idea of competence development the future?

The ever shorter half-life of once obtained knowledge has been further shortened with the advent of the computer, rationalization, and automation. Since the 1980s,  it has become increasingly clear that lifelong learning and competence development are essential in many occupations. The professional idea, which is based on having undergone a clearly defined education and which has since developed further through real on-the-job training, is becoming more and more defensive. Today, the profession is at best an entrance ticket to the foyer of professional life, which after a few years is hardly suitable as a ticket for the next levels of the career ladder.

Competence Development in the Age of Digitalization

In the developed economies of the West, further development of the professional idea – today competence development – can already be observed in the nineties. In the USA, labor market researchers and labor ministers such as Robert Reich already recognized in the first Clinton Administration since 1993 that the dependent middle class needed access to the labor market even without a university degree. Inspired by the theses of “New Work”, which the Austrian-American social philosopher Frithjof Bergman founded in the 1980s, employment and education programs were developed that no longer addressed the deficits of the rural unemployed, but rather the existing competence that needed to be developed. Starting from the thesis, which has been refuted today, that the job system is at its end, the freedom of action and independence of people beyond gainful employment must be promoted. After the New Work was discussed a dozen times up and down, the term is now experiencing a renaissance with digitalization, but with different signs. Again, the motive is to open access to the labor market to a detached “working class”. Unlike Bergman, however, it is not a question of the emancipation of the former industrial workers in the “Rust Belt”, as the Democrats call them “White Trash”. Rather, it is digitization and the shortage of skilled workers and the associated lack of digital skills in companies that have led to the emergence of new competence development programs in the USA.

TechHire relies on competencies beyond formal qualification

If you can do the job, you should get the job: Since 2015, the social enterprise TechHire has been expanding in the USA, operating over 200 training facilities in 72 municipalities in social partnership with 1,300 employers. The model is similar to a dual training program according to the German model. The experts use online entrance tests to identify competencies and interests. Discussions with potential employers follow this. After a few months of all-day training, the participants complete an internship in a company. A wide variety of local TechHire companies specialize in qualifications in technology industries. Specifically, they have improved matching between job seekers, employers, teachers, policy-makers and local training groups: the online tool “training finder“, developed by LinkedIn’s business network, links relevant information on competence profiles and income opportunities, skills required, training programs and vacancies for different job advertisements.

Thus even applicants who do not formally have any qualifications, but who have acquired competencies even in self-study, have a chance to specifically promote them in order to get them into jobs. Autodidacts, for example, who work on computers in their spare time also have a chance to get a job as a software tester with 40,000 dollars after a qualification. TechHire’s competence-oriented approach has already enabled companies to fill 4,000 vacancies that would otherwise remain vacant today.

Conclusion: Competence development creates a vocation

TechHire and its partners have thus managed in an unbureaucratic and, above all, intelligent way to make a contribution to reducing the shortage of skilled workers in companies and to imparting new individual perspectives to people by promoting competencies. A mission to which TÜV Rheinland Academy has committed itself, particularly in the field of technical professions. Digitalization is constantly creating new requirement profiles for which it is necessary to establish appropriate competence models that enable people and organizations to remain capable of action and to actively shape both the present and the future. Artificial intelligence, digitization and automation will create many new jobs that will have to be taken over by today’s “skilled workers”. The way there is competence development on the job, actively supported by companies that have recognized the value of lifelong learning. It is also important to lay the right foundations in the field of initial vocational training for young people and to start thinking about tomorrow’s requirements today. Application cases of TÜV Rheinland Academy, which as a partner supports governments in various countries worldwide in establishing competence development via the dual training system according to the German model, close the technical education gap between state schools and degrees and the requirements of the industry. In this way, people and companies are actively enabled to master the challenges of digital transformation. In individual cases, personnel certifications ensure that competencies are always up to date and ensure a uniform quality level of the employees in the company.

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TÜV Rheinland has set up appropriate Anti-Corrosion Training courses in response to the market requirements for corrosion protection in Poland. We encounter steel constructions everywhere. Steel is one of the most versatile building materials and enables wide-stretched, slender and transparent creations in an almost unlimited variety of shapes. Also the size of the object is practically endless. However, steel must be cared with diligence and regularly maintained to ensure its longevity. Anna Konewecka, Local Stream Manager at TÜV Rheinland Poland, gives an insight in the Anti-Corrosion Protection Training.

Building constructions such as houses, towers, bridges, and cars are made of steel, on which in turn a lot of welding work is carried out. Also, steel structures are painted. But what many don’t know: Painting is used not only for aesthetic reasons but also to protect the steel from corrosion. Anti-corrosion coatings are a necessity, not only because of normative or customer requirements but also because they ensure the quality and safety of the use of constructions and building objects.

Insufficient quality of buildings and steel structures is almost synonymous with inadequate safety. The quality and safety of buildings, objects, and structures depend not only on their performance but also on the correct design and material solutions and proper use. Quality also depends on the awareness and qualifications of the personnel. Given growing demands for standards in the construction industry and an increasing need for employee skills, particularly around anti-corrosion protection, TÜV Rheinland Poland took advantage of this opportunity and began expanding its anti-corrosion protection training as early as 2012.

Lack of knowledge in steel factories

“We had recognized that workers in steel factories had previously lacked expertise in the field of anti-corrosion protection. Whether painters, quality controllers or corrosion protection inspectors: the requirements placed on those involved vary depending on the activity. Customers need someone who knows what kind of paint to use for a particular steel structure, who knows how to use it and who can also test the paint finish,” explains Anna Konewecka, Local Stream Manager at TÜV Rheinland Poland. “Unfortunately, there was no qualification for quality control in the field of anti-corrosion protection on the market. We have noticed that the Polish market is very interested in corrosion protection and the market needs are constant. So we’ve developed a training program that meets the needs of the market.”

The target group for the training includes all manufacturing companies active in industry and dealing with steel, including the automotive industry. The division trains around 100 quality controller of paint protective coatings every year since 2013. Corrosion protection training is one of the most sought-after courses offered by TÜV Rheinland Poland. “Our unique selling point is that we combine the training program with the accredited program for personnel certification according to ISO 17024, the standardized standard for personnel certification,” explains Anna Konewecka. This means that all corrosion protection controllers and inspectors qualified by TÜV Rheinland Academy are recognized throughout Europe – which is additional benefit to the participants. “Our qualification for Inspector of paint protective coatings, for example, is relevant for the worldwide known qualification “FROSIO Inspector”. We are the second accredited personnel certification body in Europe to offer this qualification level.”

Anti-corrosion cooperation with companies and universities

The anti-corrosion training for quality controllers includes 30 hours, for inspectors, it’s 72 hours and one-day exam after each training. The examination is divided into a theoretical and a practical part. In the practical test, for example, the participants receive a sample of a paint finish and have to check the parameters and technical features, among other things.

TÜV Rheinland Poland does not only cooperate with the commercial market. “We also see an opportunity in cooperation with universities. One of our partners is the Silesian Technical University in Gliwice. We have been working together in various areas for 19 years,” says the Local Stream Manager. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the Silesian Technical University has decided to introduce a specialization for corrosion protection qualification. TÜV Rheinland promoted this specialization and was actively involved in the program design. The first four students have already been successfully certified in the accredited TÜV Rheinland procedure.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

How can people and artificial intelligence work together in the future?

Artificial intelligence and digitalization produce new headlines every day. The tenor of the report fluctuates between admiration and admonition. How can people and machines work together in the future? Or won’t they work together because machines do the work?

For large parts of the population, the image of artificial intelligence is dominated by boulevard publications and the film industry. If machines learn to defeat the human grand masters in chess or Go, media satisfaction spreads. Artificial intelligence represents the pinnacle of human inventiveness. In the films The Matrix and Terminator, on the other hand, machines have long since taken control of enslaved humanity. The mood oscillates between fear and admiration. The Handelsblatt, for example, chose the lowest common denominator in a commentary in which AI was described as a curse and a blessing.

AI has come to stay

Highly specialized systems based on machine learning, pattern recognition, or robotics are conquering ever-larger fields of application. AI systems are used in the insurance industry to uncover cases of fraud or to process claims, they optimize routes and merchandise planning in retail and personalize the way consumers are approached in marketing or create individual dynamic prices. Even in highly specialized areas, AI systems are set to take over people’s tasks. Self-learning systems prepare forecasts and evaluate key figures in controlling.

And the experiences of the first companies to rely on AI are impressively positive. Last year, insurer Zurich caused a sensation when the company reported that it had processed claims in the claims handling area using AI within seconds, for which a person needed more than 50 minutes. There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will shape the world of work shortly.

AI creates more sales and new jobs

That sounds like a job-killing technology that brings the destruction of livelihoods. The study “Reworking the Revolution” by Accenture comes to a different conclusion. There is no doubt that AI systems will take over people’s tasks. For example, chatbots will communicate with customers directly over the phone without people noticing that they are talking to a computer. But at the end of the day, the authors of the study assume that companies that rely on AI could increase their sales by up to 38 percent by 2022 and even create more net jobs.

But the tasks of the employees will change. Surprised, Accenture found that few companies have recognized that changing the world of work requires different skills from their employees.

The new world of work requires new skills and competencies

AI systems are IT systems. Competencies with complex technical systems and the computer will undoubtedly retain their already great importance. But IT knowledge alone will not be enough in the working world of the future to keep employees firmly in the saddle. The assumption of more complex tasks by the machines enables new forms of cooperation. In industry, employees will probably no longer be responsible for a particular machine or manufacturing step. If machines transfer workpieces to each other and the production of another piece can be started with just a few mouse clicks, the employees have a new role to play. You need to keep an eye on processes, perhaps even communicate directly with suppliers or customers. But they must also be equipped with the necessary skills to do so.

Digitization and the introduction of AI in companies can only succeed if employees are involved from the outset and do not become affected. However, inclusion makes it necessary for employees to recognize the benefits of the technologies. It is not possible without knowledge about one’s own company, current developments in the industry as a whole, and an understanding of what the actual business model of the employer is.

Create an atmosphere that encourages learning and the fun of training

While in the past one or the other employers may have only considered the demand for “lifelong learning” as just a phrase and invested accordingly cautiously in further training, demand is becoming more urgent than ever. Because AI systems change at a rapid pace. This is why companies need to create an atmosphere that encourages learning and the fun of training.

As far as can already be seen today, AI systems promote interdisciplinary work and corresponding forms of organization. The employee of the future must, therefore, be able to adapt to changing situations and other people. Such social competencies will be just as necessary as incentives for more creativity. In many cases, AI systems will aggregate data, but the necessary conclusions and the verification of valid hypotheses will continue to be the responsibility of human intelligence.

This is why companies will benefit most from AI, which best combines the benefits of electronic systems with the capabilities of people. And this can only be achieved with solid further training and active management of competencies in a company.

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