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Establishing/Revamping Training system



I am looking for input or for someone to point out some good reference material in establishing & operating a training system (to satisify ISO 9002 - Element 4.18).

We currently have a "system" set up but it functions poorly if it functions at all. We were registered to 9002 last fall. The registration went smoothly till the auditor hit the training element and then "the tap-dancing started."

Any recommendations or guidance would be DEEPLY appreciated.

Al Dyer

I would suggest starting a continuous improvement project to determine how to improve the system. I've "tap-danced" in the past and it isn't fun.

Maybe you could post some examples of any specific areas that need improved.

If you realize you were tap dancing, I'm sure the auditor will be looking for improvements on a surveillance audit.




Captain Nice
Staff member
You have to identify and segregate your training.


You have a certain amount of training that HR (typically) does when a body is 'brought onboard'.

Each department probably has department specific training.

Many times there is equipment specific training.

This said, there are typically a number of training responsibilities. My take when I first hear someone say this is there is a low level of importance attached to business needs. Some questions: Is upper management supporting training needs? Are training issues being brought before management review and other meetings? Do most management people in your company see the training requirements as bunk?

Often training is one of those necessary evils which people place a low priority on. And to me its sad, because training is so important.

It may be that your registrar will force upon your company some discipline and organization with respect to training. This may be the project Al suggests.

I haven't had any clients with training issues in a few years, luckily. But I have, in the past, seen training as an albatross that the client really struggled with. Most often it's management who wants to shove someone at a machine or whatever and 'get on with it'.

If you want to give us some details, maybe we can target a bit better.


A "brief" overview of the current system.

One aspect of the training is that all employees are responsible for reading the 2nd level procedures applicable to their work. This hasn't worked out too bad except the HR person who is supposed to track what everyone has read and when new revisions are issued hasn't been keeping up (but that's another story). I would like to add keeping track of training for 3rd level procedures (those procedures for specific job-related tasks).

The other aspect of the current training program is that "managers" keep track of their employee's qualifications (these are to be listed on a form).

Job titles were established to define responsibilities by them. Each person holds at least one title and some employees have up to seven titles.

Here's the problem. We are a small company, around 28 people. Employees perform multiple tasks outside the normal scope of their jobs. Such that a lady that does soldering and wiring might also be qualified to do q.c. inspection. So who holds the form? The manager who directs her in soldering/wiring or the quality manager? The quality manger is unaware of what she is working on since she is directed by the soldering/wiring manger. Expand this across the whole company and you can only imagine the confusion. After a while is seems like everybody is the manager of everybody else.

I can see how this all started. My company attend an ISO co-op which was lead by an ISO consultant. The system would work great if you have one person having only one manager or supervisor. In a small company - No do work. I know the obvious answer is tailor the system to fit the company. That's why I'm looking for input.


Captain Nice
Staff member
> So who holds the form? The manager who directs her in soldering/wiring or the
> quality manager?

It depends upon the level of discipline and control you have and want. If you want to make sure you have strict control I'd use the Quality Manager as a central focus.

Typically, however, I recommend managers be responsible. When someone works under multiple managers, each manager would have the record for training applicable to processes under that managers control. Any given empoyee may be listed on several managers training sheets.

This is to say manager A is responsible for process a, b and c. Manager B is responsible for processes d, e and f. Each manager is responsible for documentation relevant to their processes. Where you have documents in common - make a matrix and do that training upon hire. For example, everyone has to understand their role in the nonconformance system. So - train new hires on it. Document control is another procedure to train as they come in the door.

You could give new hires an uncontrolled copy of you QA manual and level 2 procedures and tell them to 'know' them.

> The quality manger is unaware of what she is working on since she is directed
> by the soldering/wiring manger.

I'm not sure what you mean by this.

To be honest, it sounds like you're over complicating this and/or folks are shirking some of their responsibilities. Training and associated records in a 28 employee facility shouldn't be much of an issue.


No matter where they work or for who, procedures must be read and understood. My proposed method is to utilize a document acknowledgement form. This form will be kept for all levels of documentation. During a customer audit, the auditor asked "How do you know that the employee read and understood the document?" My supervisor produced the form used and all the objective evidence, signed and dated. Was it effective?
The auditor thought so.

"I acknowledge receipt of all the procedures/documents as shown above. Furthermore, I am aware of the procedures/documents pertinent to this position of this department should be used as a reference on a regular basis."

When a change to the procedures is issued, the following clause is added "Replace affected pages as shown above and return the obsolete pages to the Quality Assurance Dept. for review and disposal, per QP-205-03 Revision Control of Quality Documents para. 5.4.3.


Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Try not to make the training requirement and documentation harder than it has to be.

1. You have your "job descriptions". Sit down with appropriate managers and list the basic requirements and skills. Decide which are a pre-requisite for getting the job and which can be trained for.

2. Use this as a checklist for training documentation along with your list of items trained for during orientation.

3. Those skills that the employee has when they come to you can be so noted by the manager that made the decision to hire him/her.

3. As each job or skill is mastered, the employee and the qualified trainer initial or sign off and date that item.

4. Keep a list of employees "in training" and review where they are in their training at some specified interval. This should be done by managers the employee reports to along with whomever is in charge of your training program.

5. Make sure that you have your procedure documented (but not overdocumented).

This works well and is very easy to live with. If your documentation is recorded in a computer program, you should be able to generate your check-off sheets easily. If your training documentation is done only on paper, all you need to do is copy you "job description" and use it as the check-off. Each manager is responsible for assessing only those jobs under his authority, yet the employee's training file will contain documentation of all the jobs or functions s/he is qualified to perform.

Believe me, the corporation I work for understands multi-tasking and cross training! I have done everything from loading trucks, maintenance work, computer and network installation and administration, production, and QC/QA testing and inspection, auditor, training coordinator, safety program administrator and janitor, all while being the quality system manager.

In over ten years of audits including ISO and QS we never had a nonconformance directly against training. We did, internally identify some training issues as root cause of other nonconformances, but hey, that's why you audit - continuous improvement.
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