Which professional qualification is required now

Further training on the job : "A professional qualification is no longer enough"

Mr. Giese, a lot of people are currently on short-time work. Why does hardly anyone use this time to further their education?
Many companies believe that they cannot continue their education during Corona - because of the risk of infection or requirements to protect against the virus. Most of the courses in our company took place digitally before the pandemic. In addition, there is the uncertainty of how long the short-time work will last. Companies first apply for short-time work and then see how long they actually use the money. If the hotel fills up again, the employees should stand by and not sit in further training courses.

In retrospect, the time would have been there for some industries.
We are now almost six months behind us and in retrospect a lot of qualifications would have been possible. Time was wasted in this regard. But what was done, for example: People from the event industry have completed partial qualifications for work in the warehouse.

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It is also true that not only is there little further training now, but also before Corona.
We have hired several salespeople to inform companies about the Qualification Opportunities Act, and they are not exactly running open doors. I am always amazed at how difficult it is. If so, then personnel developers take care of the further development of executives or those who have to master the company's core competencies - such as currently electrical engineers at car companies. I also often hear that there is not enough time for further training. I know a saying: I don't have time to mend the fence because I have to catch chickens.

You asked a thousand employees about further training during Corona. What surprised you the most?
I was pleased that more than a third had thought more intensively about the subject in the past few months. On the other hand, only seven percent actually made use of the possibility of subsidized further training through their employer or the public sector during their short-time work.

The costs are partially or even fully covered by the state. Do the companies not know that?
Large companies have a whole department that deals with laws and subsidies. But not small companies and they also shy away from the bureaucratic effort.

Are politicians doing enough to bring the issue out into the open?
There are many offers, but you can always do more. Of course, I have the dream of a major advertising campaign for further training, to make it clear that one professional qualification after school is no longer enough for life.

What content is currently particularly in demand?
That varies from region to region. At a Berlin location, training on guard and security services is in great demand. Popular topics are also work 4.0., Change management, robotics. We founded the WBS Coding School, where we train programmers in a boot camp - ten weeks virtually, three weeks in a hotel in Berlin, where they learn to program with commitment. The demand for IT staff will increase even more. During the pandemic, companies suddenly digitize what needs to be digitized.

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How did you reorganize yourself as an educational institution during Corona?
For us, the change wasn't huge because we were so digital before that. 1500 participants had already taken part in further training from home, 6500 on computers on site. We gave them a computer or remote access to a computer on site. We had a very stressful week, and then it was back to normal. What was amazing was that we had to provide 400 participants with Internet that they did not have at home. This is another reason why digital learning still fails. We have organized LTE hotspots for them so that they can log into the virtual learning world.

What is a virtual learning world?
When it comes to continuing education, categories 0 and 1 are often thought of - either attending a classroom course or watching a video at home. With us it is like this: the participants download our client and then, like in a video game, they run as avatars through a virtual, three-dimensional training building, sit down in the classroom or their office. When she or the trainer talk, the avatar's mouth moves; if you want to say something, raise your arm.

Did you feel the pandemic financially?
We hardly had any losses in sales. In between we had a little fewer participants because the employment agencies were very busy with other topics such as short-time work. But now we have as many participants as last year.

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The labor market is changing radically, primarily because of digitization. Quite a few jobs should be dropped and changed. Completely new ones will emerge. How urgent is it that companies finally prepare their employees for this?
Studies say that 30 to 50 percent of all jobs will change. Therefore qualification is extremely necessary. Above all, semi-skilled and unskilled workers need opportunities because their jobs are the first to be automated. We have been talking about lifelong learning for years. But we are still very far from the fact that it is normal to continue training for a few months instead of in bits and pieces with one-day seminars and podcasts.

How do you know what skills will be needed in the future?
A 20-person product management team looks at the issues of the future and analyzes labor market statistics. IT will become more and more important and everything to do with an agile organization of the company.

The Federal Employment Agency works with many agencies. With you too. How does the procedure work to be listed there?
Every educational institution can be entered free of charge in the Kursnet database. The prerequisite is to be certified. All companies need this in order to be able to bill with education vouchers.

There is always criticism of further training: bad lecturers, unsuitable courses, few quality controls. Can you acquit yourself of this?
With so many courses and participants, it sometimes happens that someone is dissatisfied. However, we are committed to quality towards the employment agency. A certification company puts us through its paces every year and the participants rate the courses. However, I think it is important to find out about further training beforehand. Sometimes disappointment also comes from false expectations.

So there are no dubious providers in this billion dollar market?
I don't know any dubious providers, but there are also different segments. In ours, the one with education vouchers, people are very committed to continuing education, are highly motivated and therefore more satisfied. Then there are also measures in which participation is recommended by the mediator. Here the satisfaction may be lower than with the measures that you have chosen yourself.

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