Friday, May 11, 2012

Less Theory, More Practice: The Benefits of Apprenticeship Programs

The main difference between an apprenticeship and a traditional degree program is the theory-practice ratio implemented in each. Typically, degree programs are extremely theory-heavy, and aim to introduce students to centuries' worth of ideas and schools of thought pertaining to a respective area of study. For example, an English Literature major will spend a good portion of their academic career reading and discussing the works of countless authors, from Homer's The Iliad (1194-1184 BC) to more obscure, lesser known works by modern authors like Michael Turner and Charles de Lint.
An apprentice, on the other hand, will find that their time in school will be dedicated more to practicing their skill set. That is not to say that apprenticeship programs do not focus on theory. Of course they do! However, before apprentices can even think of approaching a mechanism, they must first understand the concepts around it. In fact, theory is typically taught throughout the entire apprenticeship program, giving students the opportunity to learn new principles as their skills mature.
A focus on practice means that students will be able to get hands-on experience while they are earning their certification. Unlike degree graduates, who more often than not graduate with little to no experience in their field, apprentices leave school having already clocked in a significant number of hours working. What this means is that apprentices overcome their novice stage while they are still in school, giving them a one-up in their respective industry.
An additional benefit to apprenticeship programs is the level of industry exposure students get. While apprentices are put alongside master tradespeople to learn and perfect the required expertise, they are also forming relationships with industry leaders. For example, let us say a student pursuing an automotive apprenticeship is placed at a local garage in order to complete the work experience necessary to gain his certification. The student will invariably develop relationships with colleagues, ones that will likely last years, and which will expose him to other sectors and people of the industry. In short, the nature of apprenticeships place students in an environment that gives them the opportunity to develop bonds with people, to discover different aspects of the industry, and, ultimately, be completely in the know of all things field-related.
Students who aspire to enter a skilled trade profession, such as mechanics, welding, and plumbing, may prefer to opt for an apprenticeship. There are no hard facts to sustain the belief that degree programs are better than apprenticeship programs, or vice versa. The advantages of one over the other completely depend on your own goals, and what you hope to get out of your time as a student.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

5 Different Types of Electrician Careers

Deciding that you want to become an electrician is only part of narrowing down your career options. There are several different specializations within the electrician industry, so it is important that you explore these specializations before enrolling into a program and earning your certification. Here is a quick look at some of the different types of electricians out there.
Domestic electricians are likely the type of electrician who we are all most familiar with. Ultimately, domestic electricians are responsible for installing and repairing any and all electrical wiring in a residential setting. From the breaker unit to the wire running across the walls in the attic, domestic electricians are the go-to pros for any house-hold electrical work.
Commercial electricians extend their skills to trade settings, such as stores, shopping malls, schools and hospitals, restaurants and office buildings. This line of electric work involves installing, testing and repairing lighting and air conditioning systems. Also, many commercial facilities will need to be equipped with security systems. Most importantly, commercial settings are often obliged to adhere to health and safety standards, which electricians are responsible to know and implement.
Construction electricians are trained to install and design the electrical structure of a new building, be it residential, commercial, or industrial. That said, construction electricians typically work closely with engineers, architects, and carpenters during each step of the construction process.
Industrial electricians are responsible for installing, repairing, maintaining, and testing electrical equipment in factories, workshops, or any other industrial setting. Typically, most industrial electrician apprenticeships will train students to become specialists in instrumentation control systems, electronics and robotics, and blueprint interpretation.
Linemen (also referred to as Journeymen or outdoor electrician) specialize in building electrical power systems. From the construction of support tower to the installation of overhead power lines and underground cables, the work of linemen allows everyone to go about their day with modern conveniences, including street and traffic lights.
Regardless of which area you decide to specialize in, most electrician apprenticeships will teach the Canadian Electrical Code, meaning you will need to learn and know the code thoroughly. The code itself contains information on requirements and provisions pertaining to all electrician work, as well as details on alternative materials and resources that electricians can use instead of their traditional counterparts.
Depending on the situation, industrial electricians may prefer to work as independent contractors rather than permanent technicians for corporations. There is no good or bad choice. It all depends on your preferred career setting.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Moveable Grind: Careers That Revolve Around Metal Work

Welders are trained experts who merge pieces of metal or thermoplastic together for building, construction, and sculpting purposes. The process of merging materials together can be done in several different ways, but will invariably involve the application of heat. The sources of heat that can be used depend on the welder, the project at hand, and the materials that are being coalesced. Typically, however, heat is applied through an open gas flame, arc discharge, electromagnetic radiation, and friction, just to name a few.
If we stop to think about the various constructions that require welding, it quickly becomes clear how many different working environments welders can choose from. From ground-level environments, such as factories, construction sites, aviation or automobile manufacturers and repair shops, to underwater tasks, such as repairing or building ships and pipelines. There are many different work environments that welders can choose from.
Steamfitters hone a completely different craft than welders, however, welding is still a huge part of their skill set. The focus of a steamfitter's work is on pipes (explaining why steamfitters are also referred to as pipefitters). Working with piping systems requires a great level of specialized expertise. In order to properly execute the task at hand, steamfitters will need to consult a variety of blueprints, layout plans, and technical provisions before launching the project. From there, the steamfitter will decide which tools and materials are best suited for the pipe assembly or repair, and will then begin to map out the estimated progress of the project.
A steamfitter's job is very technical, and requires a variety of different skills, including but not limited to, precise measuring, welding, soldering, cementing, and being able to handle a wide range of power tools and machinery. Most employers will require applicants to have completed a steamfitter apprenticeship or certification program before being hired.
Sheet metal
Sheet metal is made from various types of metal, including steel, aluminum, silver, copper and gold. Although not immediately obvious, sheet metal is widely used, and can be seen in everything from art pieces to roof tops. Much like steamfitters, sheet metal workers also need to be able to read and interpret intricate blueprints and design plans in order to successfully carry any given project. incorporate welding into their trade.
A sheet metal worker apprenticeship program will most likely introduce students to the various ways sheet metal workers handle the material, both of terms of the ways metal is formed (i.e. bending, rolling, ironing) and the energy source used to form it (i.e. laser cutting, drilling, shearing).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How To Get Into MIT

MIT admission requirements are very different from that of other educational bodies. When applying to get into Harvard or other rivals, students are asked to fill out the Common Application, MIT has its very own procedure. Whilst other bodies will ask applicants to write an essay, MIT will ask you to write a number of essays. The interview at other institutes has no bearing on your acceptance, at MIT it could be essential. Let's discover this in a bit more detail.
The Common Application is appropriately titled. For it is the common set of student forms used by more than 4 hundred education bodies around the US. At MIT though, you will be asked to go through a unique process and create an MIT account.
Maybe you adore writing. Perhaps you do not. Maybe you have read the classics and may recite Dickens. Equally you may barely able to barely recite the headlines of yesterdays tabloids. In any case, you'll need to understand just what MIT expects from you. MIT has its own unique process for assessing students. Right here you'll be provided a series of 'essay prompts' or questions, and you'll be asked for your interpretation.
Whilst students dread the admissions interview, it is usually not justified. At Harvard, for example, the procedure is a mere formality. Not at MIT. MIT has Educational Counselors around the globe. These are volunteers and alumni who'll meet you at your nearby library or while having a cup of coffee to discuss your application. If there's no one inside your locality a Skype call will be enough.
MIT stats reveal just 1.4% of those that pass-up the interview are offered acceptance. Do the essentials, take the right steps to make sure your voice is heard.
Entering MIT isn't like warming-up for American Idol. There are no scowling ego's sat behind a desk sneering at a missed note. They're former students who'd like to witness a shining application. They want outstanding students who they will be proud of approve. MIT has an extraordinary history. Ask yourself, are you really capable of succeeding America's elite? If not, it's time to change your approach.
Getting Into MIT will alter the course and direction of your life. It will impact your career and you'll make lasting friendships. How much is the that worth to you?
Ensure you prepare. Do yourself justice. Be that 1 in ten.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Make That Dorm Bed More Comfortable

When it comes to buying bedding for a dorm there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Dorm bedding is usually best bought all together in a set. When packing away for college it is best to keep everything compact and tucked away because there is a lot of stuff to take along. Buying bedding separately can make it harder to know where everything is and to keep it contained. Instead of buying pillow cases, sheets, and comforters separately it is easier to buy it all together in what is known as a "bed in a bag."
Bed in a bag sets provide sheets, pillow cases, and a comforter all packed together in a clear bag so it is convenient to see the contents of what is inside. The college student and parent can be sure that all of the bedding has been packed because it was bought that way. The Bed in a Bag is also convenient because everything is made to match in a set so it will look coordinated and one can be sure that everything will be the same measurement.
Another aspect to think about in order to choose the best dorm bedding is the size of the dorm bed. Many dorm beds are very small ranging from about a twin size to a full size. It is important to know what size the bed is before purchasing the bedding to make sure it will fit nicely on the bed. Be sure to call the dorm and find out what size the bed is before purchasing the wrong size bedding.
Another great idea for dorm bedding is to buy a mattress topper with extra down or a memory foam mattress topper. Dorm mattresses can be extremely thin and the beds themselves are not at the height of comfort. It is easy to add an extra layer of comfort to the thin dorm mattress with a cushioned mattress topper. Mattress toppers are very easy to put over the bed as they lay flat on top of the mattress and some of them attach securely over the mattress like a fitted sheet.
This same comfort of adding comfort to the dorm bed applies to pillows as well. Be sure to bring along some extra down or memory foam pillows so the head will have a nice comfortable cushion to sink into. A comfortable pillow can make a huge difference in getting a comfortable night's sleep.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How to Keep Social at College While on a Student Budget

In general, being a starving student and having a social life doesn't seem to go hand in hand. This does not have to be the case! You can have tons of fun when not cramming for exams, researching for papers or studying. All it takes is a little creativity and opening up your mind to exciting opportunities for adventure and relaxation. We've got some great tips up our sleeves to stir some ideas and give you the opportunity to have some real fun without having to worry about breaking the bank.
Tip #1 Enjoy the Outdoors
Do not underestimate your surroundings! Even if you are not the outdoorsy type, if you are gifted with nature's playground surrounding you, give it a go and explore some of the many trails in your area. If hiking isn't your thing, try setting up a camping trip with your friends. Splitting the costs of the camp site rental for the weekend along with splitting the costs of supplies can be a great getaway from stress and gives you the opportunity to enjoy nature and your friends without the interference of the internet, smart phones etc. In this day in age it is important to "unplug" once in a while to rejuvenate.
Tip# 2 Dinner & A Movie: Budget Friendly Style
Heading out to a movie and dinner these days can be quite pricey especially if you throw popcorn and snacks into the equation. You can have just as much fun or even more fun by holding your own "movie night" at your own place. Rent a movie you think your friends will enjoy and have everyone bring their own snack for everyone to share. You can even set a theme night by tying in the food with the type of movie.
Tip #3 Head to the Museum
If you have a keen interest in art and history, check out your local museum! Not only will educate yourself, but exploring new and old works of art can be interesting and exciting. Many museums offer a discounted admission during the week.
Tip #4 Hold a Spa Party
As much as you would love to sign up for a pampering spa, it can be relaxing but super expensive - why not throw your own spa party? Have all of your girlfriends bring spa tools such as nail files, massage oils, towels and nail polish and practice your techniques on each other. Why not throw in snacks and a chick flick to go along with it? This option can be much more entertaining!
Tip #5 Check out Free Events
Check your local listings for upcoming events in your town or city. Depending on the population of your town, the amount of events being held may vary. However if you check your community newspaper and city websites through social media, surely there are many free events happening in the summer whether they be cultural events, free concerts, outdoor movies etc.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Homeless To Harvard

Harvard has been the backdrop and subplot to many great movies. From Good Will Hunting to the ridiculous Stealing Harvard, Harvard is the setting where dreams are made and broken.Yet the story of Dawn Loggins eclipses any Hollywood plot.
18 year old Loggins, from North Carolina, has made international news. Loggins grew up in an environment beset by school bullying and parents in the grip of drug-abuse. Fellow students taunted the teenager, who often turned up at school looking bedraggled. Despite this hardship, and a series of school transfers, Loggins somehow managed to hold course and become a Straight A student.
The story has echoes of Liz Murray who's auto-biography, 'Breaking Night, My Journey From Homeless To Harvard'. Her story became a bestseller and was later dramatized for an Emmy winning drama.
Murray too had a dysfunctional family background and found herself on the streets at the age of 16. She finally won a New York Times scholarship for needy students. Harvard is viewed by the media, with some justification, as the passport to a life of prosperity.
Murray has since become an author and international public speaker. She has shared the stage with world figures including Tony Blair, the Dalai Lama and Mikhail Gorbachev. She is also the founder and director of Manifest Living, spreading a message of empowerment to teenagers around the world.
At Harvard Loggins plans to work on her degree in biology, so that she can realize next the chapter of her remarkable life and study animal habitats. Like a Charles Dickens novel, this rags to riches tale has the power to move and inspire. In the tradition of any great cliche, dreams come true for those who hold the course.
Harvard is often viewed as the passport to a life of prosperity. Which is why student applications are soaring from around the world. This year Harvard accepted just 5.9% of applicants. Which makes Dawn's achievements all the more impressive.
A word on Harvard's financial aid policy. Harvard has the highest financial aid budget of any US university at $172,000,000 for needy students. Financial Aid is reserved for students whose family finances are under $60,000. Infact Harvard's financial aid is so generous that fees best or equal 90% of other higher education institutes.
Students qualify for aid regardless of race, nationality or background. Their only requirement? Students in possession of an outstanding resume.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking Into Account Some Age Care Courses

Young individuals seeking to be gainfully employed to a career which exists to serve society at large while not failing to adhere to their ideals at the same time might be glad to know that caring for the elderly positively conforms to both of these concerns in a satisfactory manner. People who are interested in experiencing firsthand this endeavor won't find any lack regarding the educational courses as well as practical training programs that caters this type of career involving the care for the elderly. Moreover, what makes this kind of career challenging and all the more fulfilling is the responsibility which necessitates that its adherents have to accomplish tasks which in effect not only benefit their elderly wards, but likewise deem to be satisfactory conditions for the elderly patient's loved ones. On the other hand, the current shortage of professional elderly nursing professionals and staff, which is currently a global issue, will guarantee that taking age care courses will enable you to be certifiably qualified and be hired by clients no matter where you are.
After you've dealt with all the necessary measures to ensure that you've got practical as well as insightful training regarding how to care for senior citizens.You'll spend the initial periods following the completion of age care courses looking for an entrepreneurial network or collective who organises disparate caregiver professionals to be hired to different homes or facilities individually or as part of a staff made up of members from the community itself or from separate professionals with the same expertise or perhaps you can go it alone and opt to offer your services as a freelancer. Whichever of the two options you choose, sooner or later you'll find a senior citizen, perhaps a couple or even a group, in the case of homes for the elderly, which you'll be taking care of depending on their present and upcoming needs. This brings us to another important aspect of elderly custodianship, mainly the issue as to whether it's better to lead the senior citizens to home for the aged or prefer to assume guardianship to them day-to-day in the comfort of their homes. This inquiry can be resolved by directly asking for the senior's opinion, although you can alternately deal with the matter, with the patient's loved ones' approval of course, yourself if the senior is stricken by debilitating physical or mental illnesses.
Any of the two decisions the senior will choose can be explained by the ensuing explanations, which you'll no doubt be tackling in due time when you attend courses in aged care. Socially active patients prefer the transition toward facilities of the elderly, since they have a chance to participate in regular activities alongside fellow seniorities. Independent patients are more likely to seek caregiving help from the comfort of their own homes, mostly due to the fact that this allows them to assume dignity and the option to admit or ward off visitors at any given time. The capability to likewise cooperate with the caregiver in terms of taking care of the home itself as well as chores and outdoor activities is also a plus.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The History Of Harvard And Stanford

Harvard was initially established in 1636 due to the benefactors of Boston, MA's State Legislature. Harvard is actually the oldest advanced schooling institution in the United States Of America. Amid their founders was a man known as John Harvard. Not long after Harvard's death the institute honored his name and named the area after his own educational institute after the well-known British School, Cambridge.
Stanford's founding meanwhile, was born of a father's love. Leland Stanford founded the school in remembrance of his son, Leland Stanford Jr. who passed away due to typhoid as a teenager. Stanford, a railroad tycoon, invested $40,000,000 to the institute. As if a indication of circumstances to occur, Stanford's first pupil had been Herbert Hoover. Hoover, who slept alone on campus that first night, would ultimately go on to become leader of the United States.
Over the course of the 20th century Harvard's international reputation developed. This was due to the growth of the student population, financial endowment and prominent lecturers. Radcliffe College, established in 1879, would become the sister school of Harvard and the most prestigious school for women in the US.
Interestingly, Stanford began as 'co-ed'. However, soon reviewed the decision after an overwhelming number of female applicants. Jane Stanford limited the number of female enrollments to just 500 before the number was revised to 3:1 until the 1960's. Today, no gender discrimination is in place.
The esteem and respect for these bodies is in no small part due to the galaxy of famous alumni who've shaped the planet.
Harvard, for example, has managed to graduate 8 United states Presidents, such as Obama and Bush, Seventy five Nobel Laureates as well as Sixty four active billionaires including the earths most youngest, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg is actually a member of Silicon Valley, alongside Stanford university in Palo Alto.
Among Mark's neighbors are past Stanford learners, Dave & John, also referred to as Hewlett Packard and, after that ofcourse, there's Google. Stanford students, both past and present, make up the center of these technological and commercial titans.
As a sidenote, the following stars of Hollywood have passed through Stanford and Harvard respectively. They include Reese Witherspoon, Ted Danson and Sigourney Weaver for Stanford. While Elizabeth Shue, Tommy Lee Jones, Natalie Portman and, of course, Good Will Hunting's Matt Damon attended Harvard.
So what are your prospects of becoming a member of these educational icons then? This season only 6% of 36,36 Thousand applicants were approved to Harvard, while 7% were given the distinction of signing up for Stanford's elected few.
Interestingly, both Harvard and Stanford admit a significant number of foreign students, with Harvard's as high as 1 in 10. Of these pupils all our eligible for educational funding. Harvard bests counterpart Stanford right here, by using a school funding account of over $172 million for its learners.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Digital Media Courses Bring a Fresh Approach to Film Schools

Film school is a place to explore the medium of film, discover new ways of looking at the world, and develop the movie-making skills required to create your own masterpiece. But hand-in-hand with the development of your creative vision comes the need to master the tools of film production. Digital media courses provide those necessary skills.
Digital media skills are becoming increasingly in demand by film and television production companies. While the ability to create visual pieces through traditional film making methods is still highly valued, these production companies now require film makers who can utilise more modern tools of the trade.
Tools such as computer multimedia, digital editing and design suites, internet and web based video channels, even smart phone applications, are commonly used by today's film production units. Without a thorough understanding of these new media tools, film school graduates will struggle to find work. Many audio-visual careers now involve working with internet-based platforms, such as creating online videos for websites and smart phones. Even in traditionally analogue industries like film and television, most production studios now use modern digital equipment and expect their production team to be able to utilise these tools efficiently.
A good film production school will offer digital media courses that enable students to become proficient in these new media production tools.
What can students expect from digital media courses?
Considering the highly competitive and ever-changing nature of the film production industry, students of digital media courses should have a good grounding in the following areas of study:
  • Digital photography composition and production
  • Digital audio mixer controls and lighting rig systems
  • Using high-definition digital cameras for filming
  • Adding backdrops to scenes using digital green screen techniques
  • Editing film on digital editing software
  • Stylising and colour grading images using graphics applications
What can students expect from their film school experience?
In addition to becoming experts in the technical aspects of their work, a good film school should provide students with the opportunity to learn about the more timeless aspects of their craft.
Developing a love of film and appreciating the different genres, styles and methods of great film making is just as important as understanding the tools and techniques of film production.
A good film school should teach students about theories of film and help them to develop an understanding of industry practices. Other aspects of study should include:
  • Media industry awareness
  • Ethical and legal media issues
  • Health and safety on production sites
  • Script writing for film and TV
  • Researching, recording and presenting information
Upon completion of study, a digital media courses graduate should have a film reel which demonstrates their mastery of digital media production tools as well as their professional filmmaker's eye for style and design.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bachelor of Arts Degree or a Bachelor of Science Degree?

Ask a number of students and the two top decisions when choosing to study a degree will be which university they will go to and the subject they will study. Little or no student pay particular attention to whether they will be studying a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.
What's The Difference?
The difference between the two types of degree is actually relatively small and in most cases is down to the specific university.
Some experts suggest that a Bachelor of Arts degree focuses more on a liberal arts education that may be more use if you are uncertain as to whether you will want to continue in to the related industry. Some Arts degrees also stipulate in their criteria that students are required to complete a number of credits in a foreign language. They tend to be of wider scope and place emphasis on humanities and wide-ranging understanding in a recognized discipline.
Bachelor of Science degrees tend to include more mathematical and scientific courses. Indeed, students may have to include more statistical or research elements in to their degrees and the subject matter may be more focused on application of the methods learned in the degree. As above, students may wish to include a foreign language in their courses but, unlike the Arts degree, it is not mandatory. Students will be expected to take a more focused approach to their studies which will include a mix of liberal arts, technical knowledge, mathematics, research as well as practical skills that may be required whilst working in the field.
Essentially, the type of degree is traditional to the university. It is based on how many credits within the degree are focused on liberal arts courses. An Arts degree must include 75% of the program in the liberal arts; Science degrees must have at least 50%.
Which Degree Is Better?
Whilst one degree is not necessarily better than another, a number of education experts suggest that students who complete a Bachelor of Science degree may have more flexibility and enjoy more career opportunities. The caveat is that in most cases it is preferable for the student to choose the degree that fits best with their interests, skills and career goals.
As students are now taking on more debt than ever to fund their degree, it is essential that students have a clear idea of what they want to do after completing their studies and that their qualification is tailored towards that goal. There is evidence that employers prefer graduates with a Science degree rather than an Arts degree, indeed, students who complete the former often are seen to command a higher salary.
Bachelor of Arts degrees are good options for students who have a strong interest in a particular field but may want to include other disciplines. Plus, a Bachelor of Arts degree may be more useful if the graduate subsequently chooses to change career and enter a different industry.
Bachelor of Science degrees are good for individuals who are certain of their career goals and desire to gain in-depth knowledge of an industry prior to working in the field. It is often for this reason that graduates with a Science degree are seen by employers to be the preferred candidate as they will appear to be more motivated within their chosen field.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Significant Events in the History of Pharmaceutical Testing

In the 10th century, the great Persian medical thinker Ibn Sina proposed what might be called, in today's parlance, pharmaceutical quality assurance guidelines: medicines must be tested on animals before on humans, medicines used in experimental trials must be unadulterated and pure, etc. But the field of pharmaceutical testing didn't really take off until the 20th century, when the industrialized countries saw the need to regulate food and drug quality assurance and quality control.
1906 - The United States Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act. This law established labeling requirements for drugs. One small step for man, one giant leap for pharmaceutical quality assurance! But there was still a long way to go.
1908 - Canadian Parliament passed the Proprietary and Patent Medicine Act, which prohibited the use of cocaine in medicines and required drug companies to indicate on the label if heroin, morphine or opium was an ingredient. A small but significant nod to quality assurance and quality control
1937 - The U.S. Congress passes the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requiring drugs to submit to pre-market pharmaceutical testing. This milestone in quality assurance and quality control came about as the result of a tragedy known as the Elixir Sulfanilamide Incident, where a new formulation of a drug used to treat strep infections was prescribed to patients without being tested, resulting in the deaths of more than 105 people in fifteen states. For the first time, The Food and Drug Administration concerned itself with quality assurance and quality control for new drugs.
1948 - The Nuremberg Code laid the groundwork for ethical pharmaceutical testing on human participants. The Code specified that human volunteers must be informed and protected from harm - a clear indictment of the practice of conducting experiments on prisoners of war.
1950s and '60s - Various countries, including the United States, Germany and Britain, reacted to the thalidomide baby tragedy by enacting new rules governing the reporting of adverse drug effects and clinical trials. In Canada, the tragedy led to a long overdue requirement for drug manufacturers to prove efficacy before proceeding to market.
'80s - The United States government developed an incentive program for pharmaceutical companies to pursue pharmaceutical testing and development in areas with fewer patients, i.e., to cater to less lucrative but needy markets.
In the same decade, perhaps in response to the HIV crisis, the pharmaceutical quality assurance process was fast tracked for certain drugs intended to treat conditions for which no other drug alternative existed.
1996 - New international standards for drug quality assurance and quality control were spelled out at an International Conference on Harmonization held in Brussels.
As for the future of pharmaceutical quality assurance, no one can say with any certainty what it holds.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Quality Assurance and Quality Control Milestones Since 1950-2000

Try to imagine a world without strict quality assurance and quality control guidelines - where packaged foods fail to list all ingredients, where medications contain substances that are harmful to human health. It may conjure up images of peddlers of yore, hawking their tinctures and miracle powders to an unsuspecting public, an image that ceased to be a reality in the 20th century, as such fields as food and pharmaceutical testing took great leaps forward, thanks, in part, to the emergence of three game-changing concepts: Cost of Quality, Zero Defects and Total Quality Management (TQM).
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Concept #1, Cost of Quality, 1950s
This quality assurance and quality control concept goes by several names, including "the price of nonconformance" and "the cost of poor quality." At the time of its emergence, it had one main advocate, Joseph Juran, a Romanian-born American who used statistics to study the human reasons behind organizational errors. Although he worked for a communications company, his theories and methods had far reaching effects, and continue to impact pharmaceutical testing and food quality training today.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Concept #2, Zero Defects, 1960s
This concept emerged in the aerospace industry in the '60s, but has left an enduring mark on the quality assurance and quality control industry. Its influence can still be felt in pharmaceutical testing and food quality training programs around the world.
Championed by Philip Crosby, a quality control manager for an American missile program, Zero Defects is an approach to quality assurance and quality control that views defects as quite simply unacceptable. According to this principle, there is no excuse for mistakes of any kind. Critics have argued that a certain level of error is unavoidable in any endeavour, to which a proponent of Zero Defects might respond that it would be unacceptable for even one in a million bottles of over-the-counter painkillers to contain a harmful substance. To anticipate error is to set one's sights too low, according to the proponents of Zero Defects.
The intolerance for error makes this concept of particular interest to the pharmaceutical testing and food quality training world.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Concept #3, Total Quality Management, 1980-
Total Quality Management takes an integrative approach to quality assurance and quality control whereby every person, at every level of an organization, who is involved in any way with bringing a product to market is ultimately responsible for the quality of that product.
This concept, which impacts pharmaceutical testing and food quality training today, is attributed to the combined work of multiple quality assurance and quality control leaders, including the aforementioned Joseph Juran.
How has the field evolved since the turn of the millennium? Some say that there has been a transition away from a focus on manufacturing towards a focus on service - a shift that perhaps reflects some larger changes in North America, where the manufacturing sector has famously fallen on hard times.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Heroes in the History of Quality Assurance and Quality Control

When you go to the drugstore to buy allergy medication, you are benefitting from more than a century's worth of development in an unsung field: quality assurance and quality control. When you go to the grocery store to buy a cantaloupe, you are relying on graduates of food quality training to make sure that it was grown and packed with respect for food safety rules. But who are the pioneers behind today's food and pharmaceutical testing?
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Pioneer #1: Frederick Winslow Taylor, the father of science-based management (1856-1915)
Frederick Winslow Taylor was a leader of the Efficiency Movement, an early 20th-century movement that aimed to reduce waste in industry and society. He was so influential within this movement - the echoes of which are still felt in pharmaceutical testing and food quality training today - that it is sometimes known as Taylorism.
Taylor was born to a Quaker family in Pennsylvania. He started his working life as a machinist. In his time on the shop floor, he realized that his fellow workers were not working to their fullest capacity. This sparked his interest in the concept of productivity. He went on to promote the application of scientific principles to industrial management, a legacy that endures today in practices that guide food and pharmaceutical testing.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Pioneer #2: Walter Shewhart, the father of statistical quality control (1891-1967)
This Illinois-born physicist worked in the Inspection Engineering Department of the Western Electric Company. When he joined, quality assurance and control was focused exclusively on inspecting the end product. He introduced a new goal - trying to minimize defects during the manufacturing process - which is still a tenet of pharmaceutical testing and food quality training today.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Pioneer #3: William Edwards Deming, the father of the quality evolution (1900-1993)
World War II was integral to the industry movement, and Iowa-born statistician W. Edwards Deming was a leading figure of the time. A meeting with Walter Shewhart inspired him to consider the application of statistics. The resulting theories are said to have transformed how industry operates. He is still recognized as a hero in Japan for his post-war work there improving quality in the manufacturing industry.
Quality Assurance and Quality Control Pioneer #4: Joseph Duran, evangelist for quality (1904-2008)
In 1925, Romanian-born, American-raised Juran received training in statistical sampling from the Bell laboratory where he was employed. He would go on to develop a theory that a resistance to new ideas was often a cause of quality assurance and quality control problems.
The next time you are in the drugstore or grocery store, take a moment to reflect on the pioneers behind food and pharmaceutical testing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crusading Chemist Harvey Wiley Paved Way for Pharmaceutical Testing

Before America had its Food and Drug Administration, there was the United States Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Chemistry, which is still famous today for Dr. Wiley's Poison Squad, a dedicated group of staff members who, at the turn of the last century, bravely volunteered to ingest potentially toxic preservatives to firmly establish the risk they posed to public health, drawing international attention to the need for better food and pharmaceutical testing.
The concern these brave pioneers of food and pharmaceutical testing showed their fellow citizens was rewarded with a song, the lyrics of which survive today:
"O we're the merries heard of hulks
that ever the world has seen;
We don't shy off from your rough
on rats or even from Paris green:
We're on the hund for a toxic dope
That's certain to kill, sans fail."
Although his experimental approach to food and pharmaceutical quality assurance control may seem unorthodox by today's standard, Dr. Wiley's legacy is undeniable. How did the Indiana-born son of a farmer come to play such a revolutionary role in the history of pharmaceutical testing?
Pharmaceutical testing pioneer Dr. Wiley's early years
Dr. Wiley was born Harvey Washington Wiley in October 1844. He fought for the Union Army in the American Civil War. After the war, this Renaissance man took degrees in the humanities, medicine and science (at Harvard, no less). How did this lead him to a career as a trailblazer in pharmaceutical quality assurance control?
His interest in what would now be termed quality assurance and quality control may have begun when Indiana asked him to return home to analyze syrups and other sugars for signs of tampering or misrepresentation. There were many food scandals in the end of the 19th century. It was reportedly quite common for a bottle labeled as pure maple syrup to actually contain a substance more akin to corn syrup, for example.
It wasn't very long before the federal government lured him to Washington with a position as Chief Chemist in the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Chemistry, where he would fully embrace his role as a crusader for food and pharmaceutical testing, forming the so-called "poison squad": willing human guinea pigs who tested the effects of certain preservatives on humans. The goal? To establish "whether preservatives should ever be used or not, and if so, what preservatives and in what quantities."
His tests on the preservatives in foods are credited with leading to the drafting of one of the first pieces of food and pharmaceutical quality assurance legislation, the Pure Food and Drug Act, which was enacted in 1906. The field hasn't stopped evolving since!
Today's food and pharmaceutical testing practices owe an enormous debt to Dr. Wiley and his Poison Squad. The doctor and his volunteers drew America's attention to the need for quality assurance and quality control for ingestible substances.