ISO 9001 is an internationally recognised standard for creating, implementing, and maintaining a Quality Management System for a company. It is intended to be used by organizations of any size or industry, and it can be used by any company. As an international standard, it is recognized as the basis for any company to create a system to ensure customer satisfaction and improvement and, as such, many corporations require this certification from their suppliers. ISO 9001 certification provides your customers reassurance that you have established a Quality Management System based on the seven quality management principles of ISO 9001. Learn more about about ISO 9001
We spoke to Andy Wilson, Head of Apprenticeship Operations about ISO 9001 accreditation
Having obtained the Matrix standard for our high-quality information, advice and guidance (IAG) to apprentices in 2022, we wanted to continue to enhance our commitment to quality by obtaining ISO 9001 accreditation.
Like most training providers, we have peaks and troughs with our services dependant on what time of year it is, although since the impact of the Corona virus there have been more peaks than troughs and one of the first things that can often be overlooked when the team are at peak workload is our quality management system (QMS). With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that our policies, processes and standardisation practice was continuing to improve and that it was still fit for purpose given all the changes that Covid-19 introduced.
We worked with a quality management expert to review our full range of policies and processes designed to ensure consistent and high quality delivery and took a more detailed view of how we communicate with customers.
After our initial review, the team sat down to look at the objectives of our QMS and the impact it had both our delivery and the way the tutors, assessors and support staff work together to support the employers and apprentices we work with.
Once we’d outlined our objectives, we ensured they were in-line with our company values and vision and that they were achievable. We then carried a gap analysis against the criteria of the ISO 9001 standard and over the course of 3 months, involving staff from across the delivery team, we used standardisation meetings, evaluation & feedback meetings and our quality improvement events to address each improvement area, until we were happy that we’re refined our QMS to the expected standard required by ISO 9001.
We then carried out several internal audits across our delivery service, alongside the external audit that our quality management expert and the external audits we routinely undertake with consultants to scrutinise work and strive for constant improvement in our training delivery.
After the 3 months, we undertook both stages of ISO 9001 within a month of each other and were thrilled to have achieved the standard with no recommendations to improve.
The preparation for achieving the ISO standard resulted in our improvement to several policies and processes, in addition to fine-tuning some of our delivery mechanisms for a more streamlined service to our customers. It also supported our consistency, reminding the team how important our QMS is, especially in high workload periods.
Achieving ISO 9001 accreditation was a significant accomplishment for the apprenticeship delivery team. The process of verifying that we had a comprehensive QMS that was fit for purpose and undergoing a rigorous audit process demonstrated the team’s commitment to quality and continuous improvement. It has also had the benefit of preparing us for further growth and to remain competitive with our delivery model.