- What made you go into training?
My career started with an old-fashioned 4-year engineering apprenticeship where colleagues effectively provide on the job training. In-keeping with this ethos I took up the mantle when I was asked to act as a mentor for a new apprentice so sharing knowledge and skills became part of my early working life. Later, I became an examiner and trainer for one of the 13 modules for the Diploma in Trading Standards. This experience was recognised when I joined UKAS in 2000 and I was invited to assist with training. The first course I was involved with was for ISO/IEC 17020 ‘awareness’, for which I remain a trainer, together with the ISO/IEC 17024 and ISO/IEC 17065 ‘awareness’ courses.
- What do you most enjoy about being a Trainer?
Being a trainer enables me to share my knowledge and understanding of the different conformity assessment standards which has been built up during my time with UKAS. I train both internal and external delegates which is a positive experience. However, every training course delivery provides an opportunity to learn of a different (sometimes novel) approach to complying with the standards. This can present an interesting challenge to think through to help understand whether the alternative approach may or may not be acceptable and determine whether there are any related implications.
- Guide us through a typical training day?
Preparation for a typical training day starts beforehand, I work with the co-trainer to identify and understand a little about the organisations the delegates represent (e.g. Are they accredited? What is the scope of the accredited activities?). This helps to determine the delegate mix for the break-out groups for the training exercises used during the course.
The training day usually commences with an early set-up of the training room and testing of the audio-visual aides to ensure all is working as anticipated, experience suggests it is good practice to expect the unexpected! Tension builds as the start time approaches but once started, the delivery is almost automatic though of course, with delegates from widely differing backgrounds, the questions asked/scenarios discussed can and do vary considerably which requires much ‘thinking on your feet’. This interaction with delegates is what I enjoy the most and despite my many years in accreditation, there is usually something that I can take away from the course that adds to my knowledge regarding the application of the conformity assessment standard concerned.
- What is a ‘normal’ day like for you?
Unlike my operational colleagues at UKAS, I do not spend much of my time ‘on the road’. As well as my training role, I am part of the ‘Development’ team. This involves me exploring opportunities for developing/extending accreditation activity into new areas which can be, and often is, very challenging. This includes much engagement with UKAS stakeholders who have an interest in providing additional assurance to their respective ‘markets’. Mixed with this is supporting colleagues regarding questions about the conformity assessment standards, also my ‘international’ duties representing UKAS in the European and International accreditation fora and the planning/delivery of training courses. Consequently, there is much variety in my ‘normal’ day (if there is such a thing)!
- What do you enjoy about working for UKAS?
The variety and challenges posed in my role as a Development Manager and Trainer keeps me busy! I enjoy working with colleagues having a vested interest in supporting the UK conformity assessment industry and the benefits that this brings to the UK economy.
- What piece of advice would you give to somebody wanting to work at UKAS?
If I was to give one piece of advice to someone wanting to work for UKAS it would be to weigh-up very carefully the challenges posed in whatever your role might be (they can be significant) with the rewards and recognition of working with what I believe to be one of the best accreditation bodies in the world.
- Finally, tell us about some of your interests and/or hobbies
Outside of UKAS I try to keep fit by walking, running (well, more ‘jogging’ these days) and cycling and take an interest in many sports including football, cricket and ice hockey.
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