Coronavirus lockdowns have been harsh for so many industries, and the training industry in Scotland is one of those which has really felt the bite. However, with Nicola Sturgeon's announcement on Tuesday (11/05/21) that most of Scotland will, at long last, downgrade to 'tier two', businesses and non-profit organisations in-and-around Aberdeen are making up for lost time, nominating staff for key positions and the accompanying training courses they'll require.
There are arguably none more crucial than the positions of Internal Auditor and Supplier / Lead Auditor, since successful maintenance of a company's ISO certification status is largely dependent on its internal auditing activities, and surveillance of its suppliers' compliance with the requirements of the particular ISO Standard (especially ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and ISO 45001).
As Scotland's oldest institution providing ISO 9001 Lead Auditor courses, with globally-recognised qualifications accredited by the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) and the International Register of Certificated Auditors (IRCA), the Scottish Quality Management Centre (SQMC) have had to rely on their innovative ethos more in the past year than ever before -- investing heavily in the realm of online, virtual training solutions.
Director of Operations, Kenny Hannah, explains: "We've watched on with heavy hearts as colleagues at other training institutions failed to adapt and sooner or later, they've all succumbed to the brutal effect of bans on face-to-face training courses and travel. Last March, when we watched this storm approaching the UK, [SQMC training designer] Karen MacKenzie and I made a decision to develop a special version of SQMC's highly popular ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course, which would simulate the physical classroom experience as best as possible, considering our participants would attend from home, via Zoom. We incorporated breakout rooms for teamwork, to emulate the wonderful camaraderie we see as strangers bond during our traditional classroom trainings. Some of the banter and wisecracks back and forth has been sidesplitting! And of course, we've taken care to include extra offline breaks, plus we post out excellent, hard copy training packs, to limit screen time and meet various health and safety recommendations.
"We've been very encouraged at how well these virtual courses have been received, with 97% of participants feeding back that they'd recommend SQMC virtual training to anyone else seeking an Internal Auditor course. Pandemic-aside, these virtual classroom courses are a very handy string to our bow, allowing us to increase our market share into new territories across the planet. They're equally as beneficial to our Scottish and UK-based students, especially those on the islands, or working off-shore. It allows people to get their Internal Quality Auditor ticket on their CV, regardless of what else is going on in the world. They can keep moving in their career progression.
"That said, we're absolutely delighted to be back working from our training headquarters, and running in-person auditor courses again! Our tutors and behind-the-scenes staff are so passionate about what we do, and get tremendous enjoyment from watching those 'penny drop' moments as students begin to see Quality Management Systems, ISO clauses, and auditing best practice suddenly make perfect sense!"
SQMC have recently announced a full schedule of open-to-public ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness, ISO 9001 Internal Auditor and CQI / IRCA Certified ISO 9001 Lead Auditor training courses in Aberdeen, beginning in July. (See below for a full list of these.)
Aberdeen University graduate, Karen MacKenzie, is glad to be back in the Granite City: "Although I'm a Highlander from Dingwall, I spent four wonderful years living in Aberdeen, so I'm really looking forward to seeing this city come back to life.
"I was delighted to hear that new oilfield developments -- which will help the existing, vital infrastructure survive -- have been given the go-ahead. But even moreso, to balance this, it's great to note that the expertise and experience offered by oil and gas firms means that the industry can play a key role in the transition to a lower-carbon energy system. From SQMC's point of view, it's extremely encouraging to observe that vast numbers of these firms have remained fully committed to their ISO 9001-based Quality Management Systems, to see them through the pandemic."
Forthcoming CQI / IRCA certified courses in North East Scotland:
ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course from 12th - 16th July, 2021 (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course from 16th - 20th August, 2021 (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course from 20th - 24th September, 2021 (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course from 25th - 29th October, 2021 (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Lead Auditor course from 29th Nov - 3rd Dec, 2021 (Aberdeen)
Other Scottish Quality Management Centre certified training courses in North East Scotland:
ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness course on 6th July (virtual/online course)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 7th & 8th July (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness course on 10th August (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 11th & 12th August (virtual/online course)
ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness course on 13th September (virtual/online course)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 15th & 16th September (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness course on 5th October (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 6th & 7th October (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Foundation / Awareness course on 9th November (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 17th & 18th November (Aberdeen)
ISO 9001 Internal Auditor course on 6th & 7th December (Aberdeen)
Photography credit: Julie Adams