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Certification Hub PersCert TÜV

Personnel certification: accessible now as online certification too

Personnel certifications by TÜV Rheinland are now also accessible as secure online certifications  – 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 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 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 TÜV Rheinland Academy

Virtual Classrooms are the future.

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. Aim is to use the digital technology effectively for the benefit of 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).

Different types of learners require adapted learning strategies

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.

Immediate feedback for trainers and participants

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.

Conclusion: 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 are also able to 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

 

FutureofWork_TÜVRheinlandAcademy

The Future of Work 2030: The Machine Thinks, the Human Steers

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.

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.

Enhanced reality for more productivity in teams

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.

AI deployment will not be successful without human intelligence

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 do this, they need skills that hardly any university teaches today. But without human intelligence, the use of AIs will not be successful. For this reason, companies must first make their employees fit for AI use.

Competence Management TÜV Rheinland Academy

 

GlobalExpertsTÜVRheinland

Specialists – recruited worldwide by TÜV Rheinland

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 competitive advantage
The team is currently working together with the Cologne Chamber of Trade on the recognition of the candidates’ professional qualifications. For each 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 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 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 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 colleagues 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 looking forward to 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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BlendedLearning_TÜVRheinland Academy

Blended Learning: great opportunities for competence development

Blended Learning? Only a few people know what is meant with 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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ABO psychologists AMD TÜV

If the boss is the problem – and how I/O psychologists may help

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. I/O psychologists (Industrial and Organizational Psychology), for example, are 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, I/O psychologists are not clinicians but analyze an organization and its actors at all hierarchical levels from a socio-psychological perspective. They 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? I/O 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 I/O 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 I/O 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 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.

TÜV Rheinland Academy_from professions_competencies

New Work: From profession to competence

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 that 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 is 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.

New Work in the Age of Digitalization

In the developed economies of the West, further development of the professional idea 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 qualification 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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Where do most artificial intelligence professionals work?

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

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Cooperation between Man and Artificial Intelligence

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 grandmasters 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.[1]

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. Competences 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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[1] https://www.handelsblatt.com/meinung/kommentare/kommentar-kuenstliche-intelligenz-ist-gleichzeitig-fluch-und-segen/21006486.html?ticket=ST-372739-bwhjlDya4cJUNj71Btba-ap3

Competence Management in Times of Digital Transformation

Active competence management: door opener for a successful future

Digital transformation places new and different demands on employees more than ever before. How can companies meet this challenge? Effective competence management is an important instrument that many companies still criminally neglect.

Whether it is the first industrial revolution or digital change: well-trained employees and managers have always been indispensable for companies. What has changed with the fourth industrial revolution is the fact that almost every industry is currently experiencing serious upheavals in an unprecedented dynamic. Artificial intelligence and information retrieval systems provide information within seconds, analyze facts and make forecasts faster than any human being can.

The knowledge-based society involves a change of paradigms. Pure technical and methodological knowledge is no longer sufficient to meet the challenges of the future. What is almost more important is what employees do with their skills, how they tackle problems in practice. Especially in complex situations, in which the known rules, old knowledge and skills are no longer sufficient to solve the problem, employees must be able to solve the unknown challenge themselves. And this is exactly what they need, the appropriate competence in several fields of action. This requires new learning spaces and new learning concepts through further training – and the introduction of systematic competence management.

Competencies are not “skills”

But: What exactly is competence management? Active and strategic competence management is an important tool to deploy employees according to their qualifications, to promote their careers and to pursue the competence requirements of the company which are necessary to achieve the goals they have set themselves.

The basis for competence management is a competence model that lists or respectively groups existing and required competences. A competency model consists of a set of key competences selected in accordance with a company’s business objectives. By way of example, these may include:

  • Professional competence: Specific knowledge, skills or abilities required to carry out professional tasks.
  • Methodological competence: the ability to tackle tasks and problems in a structured and effective manner. Learned working methods or solution strategies must be able to be applied and further developed independently.
  • Social competence: This is becoming increasingly important in the distributed world of work and self-organized work and includes all skills that are effective in relationships with other people.
  • Personality competence: This allows a person to act in a self-organized and reflexive manner. This requires the ability to assess oneself, to develop one’s own talents and to develop creatively.
  • Leadership competence: Developing organizational requirements, initiating change, guiding and enabling employees and teams belong in this area. This also includes reviewing performance and providing constructive feedback.

The last example shows that competence clusters cannot be viewed absolutely separately. Because a portion of social competence is necessary for constructive feedback.

Typical challenges, hurdles or errors in the introduction of a competency model are:

  • Identification of too many competences without comparison with the company goals.
  • Lack of or difficult identification of business-critical competences.
  • Confusion of specialist knowledge with competences or a one-dimensional focus on specialist competences.
  • No account is taken of competences that are not currently part of the job description or work organization, but will play an important role in the future.
  • Collecting competences without the participation of employees. They should know through their daily activities what competence they currently need for their tasks or what they are lacking.
  • No involvement of managers in the survey of the required competences.

Effective competence management: success factors

In fact, competence management reflects the corporate strategy. It is therefore essential that the company has a clear plan of what business goals it pursues, how it can achieve these goals and what competences it needs to achieve them.

Therefore, the analysis and definition of areas of competence and the definition of the concrete characteristics for tasks, activities and job profiles derived from them are indispensable. It is also important that the competences of employees are determined independently, comparably and reproducibly. In addition to the development of relevant competence profiles, it is important to install an independent competency assessment and assessment of the employees and to counter the results of the competence gap analysis with the development of programs that are suitable for closing these competence gaps. Those who do not have the necessary know-how in-house are well advised to call in external support.

Advantages of effective competence management

Conclusion: Effective competence management determines the current situation and a forward-looking inventory of the skills of all employees. By defining job roles and their associated competences, executives are able to identify strengths and skill gaps more quickly and thereby actively turn their attention on the employees’ performance drive. To this end, the company is actively counteracting the risk of a reduction in performance and reduced value added.

It makes sense to set up a competence management system as a strategic staff unit within the company. It can provide information on targeted learning opportunities for skills development with the aim of improving individual and organizational performance in order to achieve better business results. Training without added value for the company is a thing of the past, critical skills gaps are identified more quickly and actively closed. And: Experience has shown that effective competence management also increases satisfaction among employees and managers, which benefits the corporate climate, team motivation and thus productivity.