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Life of a Trainee Auditor

20 February 2017
Auditor is a title that is sometimes met with a sharp intake of breath and a stereotypical image of a person with a clipboard criticising a company or organization. Our new Assessor Chris Smith talks about this first week at NQA and his experience!
This was certainly my misguided impression of the role. That was however, until I stepped into my new role as a Trainee Regional Assessor with NQA. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

To begin with, I have been supported since accepting my new career choice by the Field and Technical Director Mark Burgess with regular emails and updates and later by my new Line Manager Sam Johnson. Both individuals have assisted greatly with my transition into the company and provided the necessary support and guidance to make this a seamless and pain free process.

I was welcomed in the NQA UK Head Office or Warwick House on day one and very early on I realised what a warm and friendly environment I was entering. Everyone I encountered was either interested in who I was or already knew of my visit. Something which immediately puts you at ease and gives you a feeling of value. Sam had put together an induction plan which included spending some time with each department. This included time with each of the Directors. At no point, was I left in a corner on my own with nothing to do.

As the days went on I was approached by each of the Directors and department Managers, just as stated in my induction plan. Each had a different role to play and this was explained so that I had knowledge of each section of the company and knew exactly who did what. One of the major benefits was that I was able to see first-hand how each of these “cogs” contributed to the overall success of the company and how seamlessly everything came together.

Now, I’ve been approached by company Directors or ‘big bosses’ before and I like many people will admit to being a little nervous. Not here, straight away I was made to feel comfortable and part of the team.

My induction introduced me to the fundamentals of leave planning, personal development and all things HR based, to the ‘nitty-gritty’ aspects of conducting an audit. Obviously all these things presented questions which I was keen to seek answers to, I had no problems approaching the relevant people for answers such was the approachability of every single person. I wasn’t even worried about what was expected of me and I really got a sense that NQA are serious about investing in ME. 

My training will continue the most effective way, by learning in the field. It may seem a daunting process however, since my visit to Warwick House I am under no illusion that I have a huge support base to pull from if needed. My induction has opened my eyes to the world of auditing and shown me that the process is not a criticism as I first believed but a support mechanism for companies and organisations to improve. There’s always room for improvement right?

So my impression of auditors has been well and truly reversed. Obviously I am one! (nearly). No longer do I believe it to be a dread or a misery more a helping hand and supportive partnership.

I would like to thank all those who have supported me and I would like to give a special thanks to Mark Burges and NQA.

Author: Chris Smith, Regional Assessor NQA


I joined the Royal Air Force in 2008 at the age of 27. Previously I had spent 10 years working as a Manager within the retail sector for Morisons Supermarkets and Aldi. This experience would ultimately help me in my RAF career as the skills and experience I had gained proved invaluable.

I initially served on Tactical Communications Wing, RAF Leeming and was lucky enough to gain extensive worldwide travel. Places such as Afghanistan, Italy, the Falklands and the Middle East were soon ticked off. I finished my 9 year career at Joint Service Signals Unit, RAF Digby.

I was an Information Communication Technology Technician or ICT Tech for short. I was promoted quickly to the rank of Corporal and began to manage my own team of airmen. I became heavily involved in satellite communications and deployed networks. My main role was as an Enhanced Local Security Officer and I became responsible for information security. When I was not ensuring the integrity of many of the IT systems across Defence, I was installing and upgrading aspects of the different systems in use. At all times information security was and always shall be a huge priority for Defence.