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.

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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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How can a game be used to increase the environmental awareness of employees in everyday life and reduce their individual CO2 footprint? BMW China asked itself this question and therefore brought the experts for Digital Learning from TÜV Rheinland Academy China on board. They developed the “Choose the future road” campaign for BMW. Among other things, it includes an interactive game on Virtual Reality (VR). The exhibition for greater environmental awareness among the car manufacturer’s workforce was initially shown at three locations in China and has the potential to be used at other BMW locations worldwide.

The campaign addressed the issue of environmental protection on three levels: “1: Climate change and its consequences”, “2: Efforts in our daily work via the BMW value chain,” and “3: How can we reduce our daily CO2 footprint?”. For the first section, TÜV Rheinland Academy China developed and produced an interactive VR game and an accompanying e-poster. VR is one of the key elements of BMW’s 2019 Environmental Campaign. The goal is to increase employees’ global environmental awareness, which is one of the fundamental pillars of the global sustainability strategy. All should be encouraged to reduce their CO2 footprint, both at home and at work. In the VR game, the employee watches a short video about the harsh realities that the global environment is exposed to and how they cause climate change, and where each of us can take personal responsibility for not further worsening the situation. The user of the VR game has the task of finding the sources of CO2 emissions. The game simulates an average day in working life when the player is on his way to work. The player has only 100 to 120 seconds to find all sources of carbon emissions. The more they discover, the more they are aware of the environmental hazards that surround them. These activities should help raise awareness of the CO2 emission sources surrounding them and encourage them to make ecological decisions about the use of CO2 producers such as computers, printers or coffee machines, etc.

The advantages of Digital Learning

VR games are part of the range of different learning methods with which the experts at TÜV Rheinland Academy convey content quickly, easily, and sustainably via digital channels. After all, knowledge bases and work processes are becoming increasingly dynamic. Only a future-oriented learning concept that incorporates all the possibilities and formats of digital technologies can meet the increasing demand for further training in a time-efficient and scalable manner. And: only 10 percent of what people read is what they remember. By contrast, we understand 90 percent of what we actively use or help to shape ourselves sustainably. Digital Learning demonstrably strengthens the effectiveness of learning through a high degree of self-activity. Digital solutions enable users to deal with new topics and encourage them to live out their curiosity in a protected user space. Simultaneously, they receive immediate feedback on their actions, which leads to self-made success. In addition to games on VR, the learning formats of TÜV Rheinland Academy include video-based training, web-based training, mobile learning, microlearning, blended learning, serious games, and learning worlds or live online training.

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The shortage of skilled workers has by no means been solved by the Corona crisis. Mass layoffs, economic warnings, short-time work: Corona is bringing the labor market to its knees, with no end to the pandemic in sight. However, anyone who thinks they can sit back and relax in the fight for the best talent and best skills is mistaken.

Covid-19 infection rates are rising worldwide, and only a few countries appear to have the new coronavirus under control. This is bad news for the vast majority of companies: The event industry is completely down, tourism and hospitality are once again struggling with border closures and accommodation bans, and industry and trade continue to suffer from massive export slumps. The shortage of skilled workers, which was omnipresent just a few months ago, no longer seems to be an issue in many places. Of course: When it is no longer a question of growth but of pure survival, the recruitment of new talent with specialist skills is naturally at the bottom of the priority list.

Specialist shortage will keep employers busy

However, in the medium term, the shortage of skilled workers will remain a challenge, at least for the digital economy, healthcare, and STEM professions (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). It will reignite the battle for the best talent. These are the findings of a recent survey by international employer branding consultancy Universum. According to the study, 86 percent of global companies firmly believe that new employees’ needs will remain at a high level in the coming year or even increase.

More than every second (56 percent) of the most attractive employers assume that the battle for the best talents and the shortage of skilled labor will intensify in the coming months. For them, recruitment freezes or passive recruiting are therefore out of the question.

They know: Those who stay on the ball now will gain critical competitive advantages in the fight for the best talents and against the shortage of skilled workers after the corona pandemic. To avoid being completely disadvantaged by top employers in the future, companies should not put their recruiting activities on ice completely but rather get themselves in a strong starting position at a good time. Pay particular attention to the following aspects:

Step 1 against skills shortage: Strengthen your public image

Adidas, Google, Bayer, or Bosch – not every company has such a high level of awareness. It will be critical for small and medium-sized companies, in particular, to strengthen their employer brand in a targeted manner. This will not only help in contracting potential candidates but also strengthens employee loyalty and thus counteracts the shortage of skilled workers. A crucial aspect of nipping any likely attempts at poaching from outside in the bud, so that skilled labor does not leave the company in the first place.

Step 2 against skills shortage: Offering prospects

Against the background of scarce resources and limited recruiting budgets, post-corona recruiting should first be focused on strategically important positions and skills. After all, experience shows that these are incredibly difficult to fill. This skill shortage will not change in the future. It makes it all the more essential to convince suitable skilled candidates. Important arguments in this regard: versatile development opportunities and attractive working conditions. This, by the way, is also an excellent way to score points with young skilled workers with high potentials. Because while in the past they were reluctant to commit themselves to a company, this trend seems to be coming to an end: According to a study, one in three Generation Z job entrants wants to stay at their first job for more than four years, while only 6 percent still see their luck in the “Gig Economy”.

Step 3 against skills shortage: Staying in touch

Those who keep their eyes open now, address suitable applicants in a targeted manner, conduct exploratory talks and actively keep interesting skilled candidates on the pole will be ahead in the fight for the best talents after the pandemic. After all, experience shows that it often takes weeks or months to find the potential skilled specialist for an open position. To establish contact with the right skilled employees now is more important for companies than ever. Young employees, in particular, appreciate this: 81 percent of job starters think it is important to stay in contact with employers – even if they currently have no open positions to offer. Thinking ahead is, therefore, the motto.

 

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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

 

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 

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Blended Learning? Only a few people know what is meant by this term. Yet, the hybrid learning concept has long been the order of the day in many places: the hybrid learning concept combines online and face-to-face educational offerings. Experience has shown that this makes it easier to build up operational competence, especially in technical areas. What you should consider when developing your own strategy.

Universities are increasingly supplementing classroom courses with web-based training, companies are using digital solutions to make it easier for new employees to get started or are using e-learning platforms to develop their own staff in a targeted manner. This enables employees to decide for themselves when and where they want to learn – whether at home or on the road. But hybrid learning offers do not only increase the flexibility of knowledge transfer. They also pave the way for lower costs within the company and greater learning success for employees. This is the result of a ten-year meta-analysis conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. No wonder that blended learning is also enjoying growing popularity in the corporate environment: in the USA alone, the proportion of company training hours within the framework of integrated learning concepts almost doubled from 35 percent to 69 percent in 2018. This is not least due to the ongoing digitalization: In the past, blended learning programs were primarily about combining presence and online offerings. Today, however, they also offer companies a wide range of interactive learning tools – and thus completely new learning worlds.

You should consider the following when developing your own blended learning concepts:

  • Get feedback: 360-degree feedback is the be-all and end-all of successful personnel development. Online tools set the right course for this. They enable employees and managers to assess each other at the click of a mouse. On this basis, blended learning offerings can then be developed to fit.
  • Interlocking hybrid learning offers: Integrated learning concepts convey knowledge through a logical combination of different forms of learning. For this to succeed, playful simulations, virtual excursions, and social cooperation must interlock seamlessly. In other words, blended learning is a process. It is not enough to make the offers available. They must also be continuously supervised and further developed.
  • Staying in touch: Interactive learning offers require a lot of self-discipline and personal responsibility on the part of the participants. This makes it all the more important for learners to have a contact person when they have questions. According to studies, interactive discussion opportunities and timely feedback are an important success factor for hybrid continuing education programs.
  • Personalize knowledge transfer: A major advantage of blended learning is that training courses can be tailored to the individual needs of each employee. Instead of consuming superfluous information using the watering can principle, everyone learns only what they really need for their job.
  • Using external content: Internal company learning content should be enriched with external online content. In this way, synergy effects can be exploited and modern learning experiences made possible. With the help of digital tools, suitable content can be identified in the twinkling of an eye.
  • Tread new paths: Frontal knowledge transfer is out. Face-to-face events are ideal for deepening knowledge acquired online through role-plays or discussions. Innovative technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality also enable “learning by doing” in risk-free environments.
  • Eliminate barriers to entry: 75 percent of the skills employees need for their job are acquired in their daily work. Social media tools, chatbots and online discussion forums make knowledge available in the company at the click of a mouse.
  • Check learning success: After continuing education is before continuing education: Blended learning is a continuous process. Accordingly, it is important to check the learning success of employees after completion of appropriate programs – preferably again in the form of an independent competence measurement. This allows potential shortcomings in the interactive learning offering to be identified and closed.

Those who do not have the necessary know-how in-house should rely on external know-how when developing and implementing hybrid learning concepts. Globally active competence developers have experience in the creation of tailor-made learning architectures, which contribute precisely to the goals of the company.

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Poor management, a lack of conflict, error, and criticism culture can cost a company dearly. Due to the shortage of skilled workers, demographic developments and digitalization, the demand for services related to mental health at the workplace are increasing more and more. ABO psychologists (Industrial and Organizational Psychology), for example, are a valuable support for organizations. But exactly this is their job and what are their strengths?

For a long time, the mental health of employees has received little attention. With the increasing density of work, ever higher demands and increasing burdens due to digital availability, mental health has also been the focus of attention for a few years now. By 2018, German health insurers had reported an ever-increasing number of cases of mental illness. They are now the most common cause of early retirement and occupational disability in Germany and, with 15.2 percent, are still the third most common cause of absenteeism. Poor leadership, a lack of conflict, error and criticism culture are sooner or later a business-critical issue that can endanger the continued existence of the organization. Above all, people can be overloaded to the point of burnout if they are only supposed to function on the factual level during change processes and are not heard. Fears, emotions and internal and external conflicts are still far too rarely discussed.

Looking behind the façade and promoting healthy cooperation

Unlike psychotherapists, ABO psychologists are not clinicians but analyze an organization and its actors at all hierarchical levels from a socio-psychological perspective. The job of an ABO psychologist is to look behind the façade of a company and analyze social relationships and interactions. How do individual people feel when, for example, they constantly experience themselves in change situations as a result of digitalization? To what extent do the demands and reality of a company’s social dealings soften and how does this affect the perception and behavior of employees? How does a manager lead and communicate? Are emotional needs addressed in communication in addition to factual issues, especially in change situations? And how does a company deal with conflicts, mistakes, and fears? Does a manager then also address the relationship levels between conflict parties and works up disturbed relationships in such a way that it can then continue on a healthy working level? ABO psychologists need a pronounced communicative and social competence. They must ask the right questions and above all be able to listen. They must moderate conversations and be emphatic and sympathetic to people of all hierarchies. Above all, they must impart knowledge and methods on how healthy cooperation in companies, departments or teams should and can be successful.

High qualification requirements for ABO psychologists

Ambitious providers recruit only graduates of a diploma or master’s degree course in psychology. In Germany, the subject has a numerus clause of 1.0. Other courses of study in psychology often do not fulfill the specialist and methodological knowledge that is ideally available. One recognizes quality providers by the fact that they submit enterprises no run-of-the-mill-offers, instead these can clarify beforehand, where the pain points are, what the enterprise needs and expects as purposeful solutions. Even though there are only a few legal requirements for ABO psychologists, large providers also attach great importance to the qualification of their colleagues along with the methodological and technical developments in corporate psychology research and practice.

Interdisciplinary cooperation

In 2013, the German legislator also recognized that mental health is a high value in a modern, synchronized and digitalized working world with increasingly older employees. It, therefore, included a guideline in the Occupational Health and Safety Act that all employers, regardless of the size of their company, must regularly carry out a risk analysis of psychological stress at the workplace. However, the guidelines for the implementation of the “Joint German Occupational Safety and Health Strategy” do not stipulate that such risk analysis must be prepared by psychologists. For example, at AMD TÜV it has been agreed that the ABO psychologists will be in charge of the process, will advise on the methodology and will play a key role in supporting communication. Occupational physicians and safety specialists must also be involved. The cooperation in prevention teams with occupational medicine, occupational health and safety, occupational health promotion and occupational integration management is necessary in order to deal with the complex issues relating to occupational health and safety in companies.

operational health management amd tüv

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.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy