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ISO 9001 Training: All you need to know
Organisations need to have competent personnel to manage their ISO 9001 or other related management systems. The process of gaining the knowledge required is usually through training from qualified professionals. Which training courses are appropriate for what level of staff, is always a question on the minds of managers. Where can the training be accessed and what are the costs typically involved, or even more fundamental questions such as ‘why do we need ISO 9001 training’ in the first place? This article seeks to answer most of these questions.
What is ISO 9001?
ISO 9001 is an international standard that provides the requirements for the quality management system within organisations. When organisations state that their operations meet the requirements of ISO 9001, they are simply stating that they have arrangements in place for product and service delivery that addresses all the requirements this international standard sets out, therefore other organisations can have confidence in their dealings with them as a supplier or a customer. Most organisations that adopt ISO 9001 are generally B2B (business to business) organisations i.e organisations that sell to other businesses rather than directly to consumers.
The mutual and international recognition of ISO 9001 has helped it to be one of the most recognised symbols of trust in supply chains. i.e. If a motorcycle assembly company is looking to recruit a local seat maker and has the option of choosing from a number of suppliers, should one of the suppliers hold a ISO 9001 certification along with other attributes, the assembly company can be assured that arrangements are in place for meeting product and service quality requirements in a continuous improvement culture. This could and usually goes a long way in giving competitive advantage to a business in its supply chain. ISO 9001 reassures that an organisation can
· Meet your needs and expectations
· Complies with applicable regulations
Why do we need ISO 9001 Training?
Apart from individuals such as quality managers and consultants who make a living by implementing and maintaining quality management systems, why would we need any training in our organisation?
Part of the aims of the ISO 9001 standard is the achievement of a continuous improvement cycle based on PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) in organisations. Its intent is not just about the organisation meeting requirements on the day of their external audit, it is that it has a self-improving culture where quality sits at the centre of its operations. It is that key word ‘culture’ that necessitates the need for training/education and learning. One of the greatest frustrations of the quality department in many organisations is the fact that operational staff, in practice, are sometimes unaware of their quality responsibilities. Sometimes supported by management behaviour they transfer the responsibilities for product and service quality to the quality department.
Such scenarios could cause blocks in the operational environment, where the quality department start to police activities and stop production. Inevitably the stopping or slowing down of production prevents operations from meeting their production goals. Soon you see the development of friction within a team that is expected to facilitate the quality and productivity of the organisation. A significant tool in addressing this kind of cultural clash lies in education and knowledge first of the operations personnel in quality requirements and secondly of the quality department in managing the challenges and requirements of the operational processes. Applied correctly quality and productivity are a singular unit and work hand in hand.
Developing the Quality Culture
People are more likely to adopt a culture of quality if they understand the reasons why it makes a difference and why it requires changes to the way they have previously carried out their tasks.
The failure in the effectiveness of many quality management systems lies within the Faultline of a lack of education. Not understanding the reasons why, the quality department appear to simply constitute themselves as a pain to operations. To address quality culture concerns there are several interventions that could be relevant, learning and communication remains at the centre of such interventions.
In developing a learning framework for an organisation, it is necessary that the right level of learning and communication be applied to the job role and function. The operative does not need to and is not interested in knowing the individual requirements of the ISO 9001 standard; they should know what the standard generally requires of the organisation and be able to link their own department and job function within the framework of what ISO 9001 seeks to achieve. And above all, have their questions answered. Whereas, the operations manager for example should have a more in-depth knowledge of the requirements of ISO 9001, such that planning and arranging for production, is done right the first time. Also, top tier management need to have a knowledge of the general requirements of ISO 9001 and the specific responsibilities it places on them and they need to gain a clear enough understanding to fulfil their role of accountability for the management system.
Which ISO Training is Appropriate for which roles?
To answer this question, we have put a table below. It does not cover all scenarios, but it is generic enough to assist in making a simple judgement. We have put in place a level 1, level 2 and level 3 system to represent how much learning is appropriate, this is a guide and not an exact science.
From the above it is important to see that Level 1 is a foundation that should be met by all personnel and it is always in addition to other training.
Advice on the quality of ISO training
A search in Google for the term ‘ISO training’ will produce over 400 million results. You will probably be doing a more local search than that e.g. ‘ISO training Manchester’ or better yet, you might be asking for some recommendations from your network, which is a very good way to get some quality assured recommendations. ISO consultants are also a very handy way to obtain the training required by your team and sometimes the quality department has enough qualified and knowledgeable resources to deliver in-house training courses to ensure the level of learning and communication detailed above is reached by each department/role.
A good training course will above all things meet the training objectives….as established in the ‘what training is required’ column above.
Whilst the many options for finding the right training course are endless, if we apply the same principle that led your organisation to getting ISO certified in the first place, then you probably want to be looking for an ISO training organisation, whose quality of service delivery and training provision is quality assured and can be relied on to consistently
· Meet your needs and expectation
· Complies with applicable legislation and codes of practice
The codes of practice for the quality profession are largely set in the UK by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). The CQI is the only chartered professional body for the quality profession and here is the key thing, it approves courses for the various levels of delivery for ISO standards. The CQI has a sister organisation called the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA), which provides a framework for ISO auditor qualification. These two bodies jointly recognise approved training organisations to deliver ISO related courses for various knowledge levels including for qualification of internal auditors and lead auditors.
CQI/IRCA Certified ISO training Courses
As at the date of writing this article CQI/IRCA has approved a total of 113 organisations worldwide (follow the link) to deliver courses that it has quality assured, to meet the learning requirements of ISO certified organisations and independent personnel who seek professional development. Selecting anyone from this list is a great way of ensuring that you are obtaining good quality training for your personnel.
Of course, the selection of a provider will be dependent on other factors unique to your organisation such as proximity and costs among others, but this is a good starting point.
The CQI/IRCA brand is recognised worldwide as the primary training/qualification in ISO courses and other quality and allied training. Matching CQI/IRCA Courses with the learning requirement
we established the learning required by various functions within the organisation earlier. The CQI/IRCA courses match very roughly with this layout of levels 1-3 training recommended, in it’s simplest format
It is not a strict rule that your role must that of an Internal Auditor to obtain the level 2 training If an organisation has an alternative organisational structure and would like to achieve this learning outcome, it should be explored, but with the current structure of CQI/IRCA courses for ISO 9001, this is what is available. It is very possible to gain the learning required through this course, whilst focusing on the specifics required for the role competences. i.e. If someone classified within ‘management-all functions’ were to attend an intermediate- internal auditor course, then it will be the duty of such a person to ask questions and make sure that the CQI/IRCA professionally trained tutors bring the learning into their specific context, should the tutor not do that effectively.
An often taken and sometimes better route is having such courses delivered in-house, with specific customisation for the company and the training needs identified. Most CQI/IRCA approved providers can have this flexibility built into their approved training materials.
It is essentially important to note that all levels of training piggy back on the level 1 training, CQI/IRCA recommends the completion of level 1 training before proceeding to other levels as this is the foundation required.
Having the opportunity to practice learning is a key part to embedding knowledge. The courses approved by CQI/IRCA have been duly subject to testing to ensure this requirement is met. They will typically be filled with examples, case studies and exercises that ensure your learning is tangible and practical. It is also important that following on from the course, the management of the quality department should ensure that there is a programme of embedding activities that could include work shadowing, performance reviews, best practice tool box talks etc. The role of supervision in ensuring that people’s questions are answered on a day to day basis cannot be overstated.
How much does ISO training cost?
Firstly, to say that having training carried out on your organisation’s premises is a negotiable cost with any training provider. But below we have provided current costs as at January 2019 for the various categories of course as delivered by some leading CQI/IRCA Approved Training Providers when an individual attend them as public courses
CQI/IRCA Approved Training Providers Public Courses Cost Comparison
It is important to stress that quality/standard of delivery is not dictated by costs as costs can be impacted by a range of factors including organisational overheads. Other factors such as availability of training courses near your location, history and recommendations, including results of previous delegate feedback should be considered in your decision to select a training course provider. One of the more common factors people consider is the publicised pass rate of the organisation, while this can be indicative, 100% pass rate does not mean “100% pass first time” rate as per the way CQI/IRCA measures it, the pass rate includes passes after resits too! So should not be your only decision-making tool.
Do online training options exist?
Yes of course they do! Online training options exist for many courses and a search on google for ‘ISO Training online’ will provide a lot of results. However, a word of caution, it might be alright to take online courses for level 1 training as this is quite focused on knowledge, but Level 2 and level 3 training are skill development training courses. Doing them online, may not effectively fulfil the skill requirements you need to gain. There couldn’t be anything worse than completing a course and not being confident to deal with the real-life requirements that could come out of the learning gained.
Whether you seek ISO 9001 training for your own personal development or the development of the quality culture of your organisation, be sure to:
· identify the needs of the personnel or people groups required.
· Take recommendations and use quality assured training providers.
· Choose courses matched to the training needs you have identified.
· Always ensure that training and post course arrangements allow for real life practice to embed the knowledge gained both during and after the training.
(c) Charis the Training Company 2019