Competency and Training to ISO Standards

Holding the helm of a ship on course is a mighty task, even more so when a massive storm is tossing the bow and stern. A company is just like a ship that goes through its ups and downs but during those times there is a crew to follow the lead of the captain. A captain must know how to navigate not just how to man the ship.

Resource management or human resources specifically are a vital part of any business, but not having enough training for a given tasks or not having an understanding on how an individual can affect the quality that a company is producing can play a vital role in setting up standards, competency and training for employees.

As simple as documents that are reviewed on each employee with their education, experience, competency, past training or future training to change competency is part of the ISO standard. A captain of a ship that has no knowledge of navigation could put the ship on the rocks or even lead to the mutiny of the crew. A company most the time is not as drastic as a ship, but if the people that are manufacturing most of the products are making a myriad of mistakes because they do not have proper focus on quality or training this can lead to some negative ends.
Most of the time it is not so black and white, a myriad of mistakes are not made, just a few, but the ISO standard hopes to change some of those small mistakes by training.

The standard has many different ways that a company can go about competence, training, evaluation of these steps, importance of task, and records of these steps.

First it must be established what the competency standard for specific jobs and tasks. A calibration worker looks at the standard and changes the machine to be in the standard. (specific standard for calibration: iso17025) The calibration worker must have knowledge of what the standard is, how to change the machine, and what the machine does.

Specific training is the requirement for meeting a competency standard, or the steps the company is taking to make sure an employee knows what to do to make sure the product specifics are correct.

Effectiveness of Actions
The training of an employee can be looked at and evaluated to see if they are meeting the competency standard and product quality (what the customer is looking for). If an employee falls outside of this realization then the training that was given for competence must be brought into question and a corrective action must be taken. Also, a preventative action of changing the training requirements to make sure the corrective action does not recur.

Importance of Tasks
Each employee must be aware of the importance of what they are doing. If a sail on a ship is not lifted or dropped at the right time and in the right way it changes how the ship is moving, possibly producing a poor end result. Each employee must know this and be diligent in their tasks and responsibilities.

A record of what training the employee has been through, when and what they are not competent in, is important for a quality management system’s documents. One single employee cannot slip through without training in the areas of knowledge.

As Plato said “if he (the captain) is to be truly fit to take command of a ship a real ship’s captain must of necessity be thoroughly familiar with the seasons of the year, the stars in the sky, the winds, and everything to do with his art” (The Republic, Book VI, 488d)

We at K & S Quality Associates can help with both ISO 17025 calibration standards and putting the right documents in place for training and competency if you are interested please email

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