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SSE Benefits from Internal Auditor Training Course Delivered Virtually

June 22, 2020
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FTSE 50 listed company SSE is a developer, builder, operator and owner of low-carbon energy assets and businesses.

Its operations focus on regulated electricity networks and renewable energy, but it is also involved in broader electricity generation, transmission, distribution and supply as well as gas production, storage, distribution and supply, and the provision of energy-related services. The nature of SSE’s business activities and level of regulation demand a rigorous health and safety culture throughout the organization.

SSE has over 20,000 employees across its wholesale, distribution, retail and enterprise business units.



When Phil Reid, the company’s Group SHE Assurance Manager, arranged an ISO 45001 Internal Auditor training course with SGS Academy, he had no way of anticipating that it would have to be delivered in a very different way from the normal, face-to-face courses, which had been previously delivered in 2019.


The purpose of the two-day, IRCA registered course was to provide delegates with the knowledge and skills required to perform an internal audit of an ISO 45001-based health and safety management system. On completion, delegates are expected to be able to plan, conduct, report and follow up an internal audit, and understand its role in maintaining and improving the management system with reference to the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.  



The 2020 courses were due to be delivered in three locations – Perth, Dublin and Reading – during March and April.


Perth – the first event – was postponed two days before it was due to be held, owing to the onset of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. The Dublin event was due to be held the following week and the Reading event shortly after that.


A combination of quick thinking, flexibility, the expertise of SGS United Kingdom Ltd and close cooperation with the client resulted in agreement that the courses would be delivered online via the Adobe Connect platform.


Closely supported by SGS Academy Manager Kelly Windsor and Sales Specialist Helen Muggeridge, tutor Kristian Hill adapted the course to a virtual format. This was not the first time a course had been delivered online: a previous virtual event had been held for another SGS Academy client owing to geographical challenges.


Phil Reid admits to having initial misgivings, because this would be a relatively new experience for both delegates and the SGS tutor.  



After thorough familiarization with the Adobe platform and a number of practice sessions, supported by SGS global team responsible for the online technology, the three face-to-face courses were successfully delivered as two virtual events.


SGS Academy face-to-face courses are highly interactive in nature to maintain optimum engagement. This feature was amply maintained in the virtual version, making excellent use of Adobe Connect’s breakout rooms and polls facilities. Like the live courses, tutors can concentrate on individuals’ strengths and weaknesses. Delegates can also download course notes from the platform making it, in effect, a self-contained training room.


The team and delegates faced two initial unforeseen challenges. Some of the delegates’ microphones were not working effectively, and some also experienced difficulties logging in owing to access being blocked by the SSE firewall. Both issues were resolved with Phil Reid’s close cooperation, and the challenges noted in preparation for future courses, both for SSE and other SGS Academy clients.  



As well as successful completion of the course, delegates need to demonstrate completion of a number of successful audits in order to become recognized as IRCA internal auditors.


SGS Academy was delighted with the level of positive engagement, and a survey of delegates revealed a high level of satisfaction.


SGS Academy Manager Kelly Windsor commented: “We have concluded that virtual delivery works very well and expect it to become far more commonplace, owing to a number of important benefits.


“Apart from the more obvious aspects of reducing travel time, travel and accommodation costs and a company’s carbon footprint, virtual training courses mean considerably more flexibility. For example, if a delegate cannot attend at short notice, we can simply enrol them on the next course rather than their having to cancel travel, accommodation and other arrangements. It also means that if it turns out that the delegate has enrolled on a course that is unsuitable or not appropriate for them, they can simply log out.”


For further information please contact:


Kelly Windsor

SGS Academy Manager

t: +44 (0)1276 697715


SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company with more than 94,000 employees operating in a network of 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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