Capella Associates Winning with Quality


Capella Associates are Winning with Quality with their latest award from the Chartered Quality Institute and a feature in Quality World.

Over the past four years, the Chartered Quality Institute’s (CQI) International Quality Awards (IQA) have brought quality professionals and auditors together from around the world to celebrate and highlight the achievements of those who are making significant contributions to the profession.


The CQI’s International Quality Awards shines the spotlight on businesses and individuals who are going above and beyond the call of duty. So, we’re extremely proud to tell you that Capella Associates were one of those businesses recognised by the CQI for their achievements. As a result, the business was awarded the CQI’s 2020 International Quality Award for Quality Organisation of the Year.


Capella’s Managing Director Kate Smith was recently featured in an article in the Spring 2021 Edition of the Quality World magazine, about her award journey and ambitions for the future.


Here’s what Kate had to say:

Quality World: How did you react when Capella Associates was announced as the winner?

Kate Smith: We were absolutely delighted. Capella Associates became finalists in 2019 and considered whether we should apply in 2020, but we knew we had really good evidence and outcomes that we could share with the judges and wider quality profession.


QW: What teamwork and projects were undertaken to secure this accolade?

KS: Our award submission was based on our response to Covid-19. There were many strands to this, but the main one involved converting all our training programmes to remote delivery within a couple of weeks, while meeting ongoing and new requirements of multiple interested parties, including the Skills Funding Agency, Ofsted and the Information Commissioner’s Office.


QW: How will this award help to expand the organisation’s service offerings?

KS: Capella Associates specialises in quality, continuous improvement training and consultancy. We believe passionately in what we do and there’s no better way of demonstrating this than applying the principles, methods and tools ourselves, and having an award that shows how well we do it. Third-party recognition also shows that we’re willing to open ourselves up for scrutiny and learn from others.


QW: Why should other SMEs put themselves forward for the IQA?

KS: The awards process provides a great opportunity to reflect on what’s been achieved in your business, and engages it in a structured, teamworking activity focused on benchmarking, learning and excellence. The feedback from the judges helps both individuals and organisations to understand their strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. Being involved in the awards event itself is inspirational and whether you become a finalist or winner, you’ll receive great recognition.


QW: How has Capella Associates continued to tackle the challenges posed by Brexit and Covid-19?

KS: The short-term impact of Brexit is expected to be minimal. However, as a service provider, we’re directly affected by the state of our customers’ businesses. We have switched our training, coaching and consultancy work to remote delivery. For additional support, Capella Associates has introduced a new learning management system, updated information security policy/practices and improved safeguarding policy, resources and practices. The team has worked both hard and fast, using the rigour of Design for Six Sigma and the speed of rapid plan, do, check, act (PDCA) cycles. We also have a documented quality management system based on ISO 9001:2015, which sets out everything we do to meet the standard.

Our audit schedule includes two end-to-end programme audits per annum to ensure we’re doing everything that’s included in our QMS and we’ve carefully selected the first programme audit for 2021 to be one that includes all the new practices. One of those new practices includes scheduling one-to-one calls for a specialist in our team to work directly with learners who need additional support, so that they’re able to stay on track and perform at their best during and after the pandemic. It’s critical that we identify and standardise the best practices we’ve developed, so that everyone is applying them and that we have a stable base to improve further.

Article from Quality World magazine (Spring 2021), republished with permission from the CQI (


Why not find out for yourself how Capella can make a difference to your business? You can contact us at or call us on 01386 793981 for further details. Or just have a browse on our website.




  • Capella have provided a superbly structured programme, and have proven to be entirely supportive of delegates in completing their apprenticeship with confidence. Key to this has been the instructor’s knowledge of the subject matter, allowing him to apply the theory to a variety of scenarios in the delegates’ work. We have appreciated the instructor being approachable, flexible and understanding of the challenges of extra-curricula activity for people with busy jobs. All staff that we’ve engaged with at Capella have been professional, welcoming and clear in their communication.

    Mark Robbins, Retail and Pension Operations Training and Communications, Fidelity International

  • Capella’s focus on developing long-term relationships and their continual search for innovative approaches to upskilling has enabled Toyota and many other employers to learn and apply best practice Problem Solving tools which deliver great outcomes for all. In our experience, no other training provider has taken such a lead role in the development of sector wide initiatives such as the Automotive Industrial Partnership and development of the ‘improvement suite’ of Apprenticeship standards. Capella constantly seeks innovative opportunities to deliver an excellent service to the learner and to the business.

    Paul Fitzpatrick | Senior Manager | Toyota UK

  • We have found Capella really professional and flexible and their passion for delivering high quality training is a culture we have in common between us and has made working with them highly beneficial. Their knowledge of the automotive sector in particular has also been very useful and has simplified working together to create a really excellent training programme. In addition, they have managed to modify their usual commercial programmes in line with government approved apprenticeship standards, which has enabled us to utilise our Apprenticeship Levy to fund the training.

    Chris Bauman | Group Managing Director

  • Capella are delivering the Business Improvement L4 programme to a cohort of 12 staff at our Barnard Castle site. We chose Capella after a series of meeting with Kate and her team and from day 1 we have been impressed with the professionalism, enthusiasm and knowledge of the team. The staff have really thrived on the learning schedule and through working with the programme tutors and we have had nothing but positive feedback. Internal changes on site have impacted on the programme delivery, which Capella took this in their stride, adapting delivery timelines, providing support and working with those facing change has added another dimension to the relationship that has been developed between the site and Capella. While still in delivery mode GSK already believes that the programme has been a success for all involved and we look forward to its completion and sharing that success within the organisation.

    Tim Buchanan | Apprenticeship Vendor Manager | Talent, Leadership and Organisation Development- Centre of Excellence

  • Capella worked closely with Wilko to deeply understand our needs at a strategic and operational level, helping us to jointly explore a range of options to meet these needs. Capella have an experienced team of Lean Six Sigma experts. Their programme design, management expertise and resources are second to none. Wilko have been allocated a dedicated Account Manager which helps us ensure the learner is always front of mind. Capella’s programmes have developed the knowledge, skills and drive of our Wilko delegates to seek and implement improvements in every process, constantly reducing costs, waste and inefficiencies. Capella also enabled Wilko’s leadership of continuous improvement to be showcased through the publication of an extensive article for the Chartered Quality Institute's Quality World magazine.

    Teresa Ward, Wilko Talent Programme Manager, Wilko

  • I would sincerely like to thank you again and the fabulous team at Capella for the dedication shown in achieving the Black Belt qualification. It is such a pleasure to work so closely with passionate professional people and I hope our partnership continues to grow especially with the role out of the new standards.

    Richard Bates, Managing Director, Qualitrain

  • "Capella are a company that keep to their word, they have supported me fully during and even after my projects have been completed. The coaching team are always on hand to help with any issues and often put themselves out to ensure support is available. Highly recommend anyone looking to progress their career to take a look at Capella."

    Chris Woodcock, Jaguar Land Rover