Why take the auditing option? As you finish your service and consider what to do next, the choices can feel overwhelming. What about auditor training? It could be the perfect option for the next stage in your working life, says Anne Seymour-Durkin, training manager at Exova BM TRADA
Auditing is the on-site verification of an activity, such as the inspection or examination of a process or quality system, to ensure compliance with requirements. An audit can apply to an entire organisation, or it might be specific to a function, process or production step. Auditors are responsible for impartially carrying out the audit, either internally, within an organisation, or on behalf of a third-party certification body.
Service leavers returning to the civilian workforce may find that numerous military occupational specialisations equate to the duties and responsibilities of an auditor. These can typically, but not exclusively, be in the fields of quality, health and safety, environment or data security.
Skill up while serving
There are many qualities that equate to a good auditor, but the key competencies employers are looking for are the ability to be:
- observant, analytical and enquiring by nature
- impartial in decision making
- resilient to external pressures
- diplomatic in resolving conflicting opinions
- a good listener
- able to question information and communicate effectively at all levels of an organisation
- able to accurately translate observations into a report and effectively communicate the audit findings to the auditee organisation
- self-disciplined and well prepared
- punctual and polite.
- Step 1: Decide on whether the employed or self-employed route is best for you, and then approach certification bodies (CBs) accordingly.
- Step 2: Attend a recognised lead auditor course; these usually take five days and will include a written examination. The most common accredited course for potential lead auditors is the CQI/IRCA 9001: 2015 Lead Auditor Course.
Employed auditors will usually have this element funded by the CB, but self-employed auditors will fund the course themselves.
- Step 3: Observe and participate in a minimum of ten days of auditing.
- Step 4: Witness audit; the trainee auditor is ‘witnessed’ by an experienced lead auditor preparing, conducting and reporting the full audit cycle.
A three-day auditor conversion course exists for most ISO schemes. Once a lead auditor course has been attended and passed, trainee auditors can add further ISO schemes to their portfolio by attending auditor conversion courses. Often the training audits and witness audits for these schemes can be combined and your CB would be able to advise further on your own personal route to qualification based on your experience and the schemes you wish to qualify against.
TRANSFER YOUR SKILLS
Many of the core personal skills required to be a good auditor are comparable with those found within a successful military career:
- attention to detail
– combined with excellent communication skills.
Benefits of becoming an auditor
The key benefit of becoming an auditor is that you are transported into a new and interesting career that matches your skill set. More benefits you might like to consider include:
- certification bodies are always looking for good auditors with strong sector experience and backgrounds
- opportunities exist to be either employed or self-employed
- standards are internationally recognised, which means there are auditing opportunities across the global market
- salary and daily rates are competitive and commensurate with an individual’s levels of expertise and specialism
- auditing work can permit you to access employment in many varied organisations, sectors, markets and countries.
… but you must:
- be prepared to travel
- maintain your currency of experience by taking personal responsibility for your CPD.
What does it cost to qualify?
As an employed auditor most, if not all, costs are absorbed by the CB. As a self-employed auditor you would need to fund:
- a five-day lead auditor course – the Exova BM TRADA CQI/IRCA 9001: 2015 lead auditor course fee costs £1,195 + VAT non-residential or £1,695 + VAT residential
- your participation in training/witness audits as you will not be paid for this
- any further schemes added to your portfolio via a three-day auditor conversion – the Exova BM TRADA suite of CQI/IRCA three-day auditor conversions are available at £845 + VAT non-residential or £1,145 + VAT residential per course.
Using your ELC
Under the ELC scheme, a wide range of learning can be taken, provided it is offered by an approved provider listed on the ELCAS website at www.enhancedlearningcredits.com and is at level 3 or above. For full details of how to make the most of your ELC, refer to our in-depth features on pages 10–30.
Find out more
I hope I have successfully explained the key benefits and overall process for becoming an auditor here. If you would like to find out more, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org quoting ‘QUEST18’ to receive 10% off non-residential courses.