By S. M. Waqas Imam – ISO 9001 is the world’s most widely used standard among both small and big corporations, vendors and industries. It is applicable to every business model, from an ice cream parlor to a giant steel manufacturing firm. It provides the minimum requirements for companies to create and maintain effective quality management systems, and in doing so boost customer satisfaction. In September 2015 ISO 9001 was significantly revised from its 2008 version. It is vital for industrial professionals to learn those changes and the fundamental concepts behind them, so that they can upgrade their systems to the latest version. Since the transition period ends in September 2018, companies and industries have little time to learn these concepts and make this upgrade.

Different training bodies offer expensive training programs for the implementation, auditing, and internal auditing of this new standard. These training bodies include BSI (British Standards Institution), Bureau Veritas, TUV Rheinland, and SGS International. However, these programs are designed for people already at an advanced level, so those lacking basic knowledge will find it difficult to comprehend these training programs. Some of the most well-known training programs for ISO 9001:2015 are listed below:

1. ISO 9001:2015 Fundamental Concepts
2. ISO 9001:2015 – Lead Auditor Transition Training Course
3. ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training Course  
4. ISO 9001:2015 Foundations Course
5. ISO 9001:2015 Awareness and Implementation Training  
6. IRCA Certified ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Training Course

ISO 9001:2015 Fundamental Concepts is an online course offered by Alison, a globally recognized learning platform, and users can study the course any time based on their availability. The course is designed so that people who lack fundamental knowledge about quality management systems can easily grasp their course concepts. There is no time limitation for the course and trainees can attend whenever suits them. The course material consists of three modules and can be completed in four hours.

The course also comes with a free examination assessment which trainees have to score eighty percent in before they can get certified. In case of failures, candidates can retake the exam without any additional fee. The course material is always available for the trainees so that they can refer to it even after completion and certification. Upon completion of this course, professionals can assist in the implementation of the new requirements of the standard, and will be prepared to attend lead auditor and internal auditor courses which are difficult to pass without prior knowledge of the standard.   

ISO 9001:2015 Foundations Course and ISO 9001:2015 Awareness and Implementation Training are basic courses that lay the groundwork for beginners, as well as middle and top managers, who lack awareness of ISO 9001. These courses cover the basics of ISO 9001, and normally take one working day (i.e. 7-8 hours) along with exercises, group activities and discussions. Trainees must make themselves available during the given session. The courses usually do not have any exam or assessment.  

ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training Course is an intermediate level course and focuses on internal auditing of the system. This course prepares professionals for the internal audit process in any organization. Trainees must ensure they attend the course during specific defined hours. Certification of this course shows competence of internal auditing processes within external audits. The course has usually a brief assessment at the end.

ISO 9001:2015 – Lead Auditor Transition Training Course takes 3 workings days, where trained lead auditors on ISO 9001:2008 upgrade their skill set and knowledge base for the current ISO 9001:2015. Trainees must be available during the course delivery days and must complete the course during the fixed sessions. This training provider and course should be certified by the IRCA or any other recognized body. This course has mandatory examination and assessment for certification, and prepares the individuals for internal and external auditing. After doing this course professionals can assist in the implementation of the standard, internally audit organizations, and join third party auditing firms as auditors.

IRCA Certified ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Training Course takes 5 workings days, where professionals receive complete lead auditor training on ISO 9001:2015. Trainees must be available during the course delivery days and must complete the course during the fixed sessions. This course should also be certified by the IRCA or any other recognized body and certifying companies should have received authorization from the body itself. This course has mandatory examination and assessment for certification. After doing this course professionals can assist in the implementation of the standard in any organization, can internally audit organizations, and can join third party auditing firms as lead auditors, provisional auditors, or auditors (based on their experience of auditing and implementation).   

Professionals should choose the right course thoughtfully

As a professional, one should be thoughtful about the selection of courses and training providers. If you already know how a quality management system works and you need to perform as an internal auditor in your company then ISO 9001:2015 Internal Auditor Training Course would be the right choice. If you want to serve as a Third Party External Auditor and you have got the IRCA Certified ISO 9001:2018 Lead Auditor Certification then ISO 9001:2015 – Lead Auditor Transition Training Course is the right choice. If you have been serving as an internal auditor or has taken some awareness course on ISO 9001 and now want to be an expert, then IRCA Certified ISO 9001:2015 Lead Auditor Training Course will add value to your profile.

ISO 9001:2015 Fundamental Concepts will provide you with basic awareness of the standard and can provide you with examination that will gauge your knowledge. After that, you will be ready to learn much more, and to help your company in effective implementation of this global standard.

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