Effectiveness of IRCA Registered Training

Colin

Quite Involved in Discussions
#1
Putting the finishing touches to another QMS IA course designed to be registered by IRCA, I was wondering whether getting a training course registered by the 'big' organisations such as IRCA and RABSQA etc is worthwhile.

My experience is limited to getting courses registered by IRCA so I cannot be sure about other bodies, but I suspect there is a familiar theme. At the moment I am of the opinion that IRCA have improved the course content, design and definitely the method of delivery but I am less convinced that the standard of internal audits, for example, has improved as a result.

My experience as an auditor is that the overall standard of internal audits is woeful and during my 30 (ish) years involved in auditing other companies, it has hardly changed.

Yes, I know there are some good systems but for me, they are in the minority and because of the way the standard is written, these weak systems technically satisfy the requirement and therefore we cannot raise NC's to help drive improvement.

Your thoughts?
 
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Marc

Hunkered Down for the Duration
Staff member
Admin
#2
... My experience as an auditor is that the overall standard of internal audits is woeful and during my 30 (ish) years involved in auditing other companies, it has hardly changed. ...
That has been my experience. I did a lot of IA training in the 1990's and some up until about 2004. Follow through was a problem I saw. Personnel could be trained, but a year or so later it was often "...we didn't have time for internal audits...". The old saying "...use it or lose it..." comes to mind.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#3
I recently took the IRCA-accredited training for Lead Auditor ISO 9001:2015 and found it excellent. While making my own training materials, which will not likely be accredited by IRCA or Exemplar, I try to include some of the methods, as they were much better than the "informational sessions" I delivered for my own CB 16 months ago, using a .ppt set developed by the program manager (shudder). I was pleased to see their matrix method for audit planning closely matched the tool I have attached in the Cove.

As always, deployment is the key and even the best training may not help with long term program management. That is why my own training will also include areas the accredited training stopped short in: reporting results, maintaining and following up on nonconformities, trending and analyzing the data. Management support is not part of the training, but identifying useful process metrics will be part of my training; not having time for internal audits tends to speak to management support and we have more clear clauses for that now.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
If IRCA still has a requirement that instructors/tutors be fully gualified and experienced themselves in the subject matter (example a tutor for a Lead course is certified as a Lead) then yes, because the tutor could draw on experience as well as read slides. Exemplar (RABQSA) dropped that requirement years ago and the quality of instructors/tutors went down to where you have people that might be teaching that aren't qualified to actually do the work (like Lead audits)

My:2cents:
 
#5
If IRCA still has a requirement that instructors/tutors be fully qualified and experienced themselves in the subject matter (example a tutor for a Lead course is certified as a Lead) then yes, because the tutor could draw on experience as well as read slides. Exemplar (RABQSA) dropped that requirement years ago and the quality of instructors/tutors went down to where you have people that might be teaching that aren't qualified to actually do the work (like Lead audits)
Recently completed a Lead Auditor course for ISO/IATF after 7 years in Quality, about half of that time in medical devices and the most recent in automotive. I think Randy hit the nail on the head. Our trainer was very experienced with plenty of "war stories", and also was sure to provide her feedback, even on portions of the course material itself which she felt were vague and had been making recommendations for revision to Exemplar.

She represented the requirements to present the course as being high, and if they are working inexperienced trainers, I'm glad we didn't get one. All in all, the best part of the course was the clear roadmap from preparation/ planning, through audit conduct and process approach, report writing and followup. Examples from the trainer's own experience were also quite helpful. Beyond that, much of the content was confirmation of what I've learned inferentially through experience & exposure as a QE, in lieu of formal training.

Truly, I think the prior experience of the students is also key to what one takes away and ultimate effectiveness. Many good folks with lots of experience in Quality struggled because their experience wasn't at the level of heavy exposure to 2nd & 3rd party QMS audits. If any portion of the course was a bit troubling, it was the level to which many had to re-take portions of the exams. I could see that the effectivness of the training could quickly be diluted if these folks aren't given timely and adequate opportunity to put the training into practice.
 
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