Improvement Specialist
(Black Belt) Apprenticeship

Leading improvement strategies

Level 5 Improvement Specialist (Black Belt)

Improvement Specialists are responsible for leading the deployment of improvement strategy, for training others and for providing deep technical expertise in advanced Lean and Six Sigma, Project and Change Management principles and tools.

Improvement Specialists typically report to Improvement Leaders who develop the improvement strategy and governance and provide technical guidance on advanced analysis. Improvement Specialists manage Improvement Practitioners who lead smaller improvement projects. They work closely with other Improvement Specialists to support the delivery of improvement strategy, working on multiple simultaneous projects linked to key business objectives.

“The leading foundation qualification for Lean Six Sigma in any industrial sector today

Improvement Practitioner: Knowledge and Skills Overview

Who is the Qualification for?

Roles are commonly found in all industry sectors and functions including Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Telecommunication, Retail, Finance, Food, Drink, Travel and Leisure.

Job titles associated with the Specialist occupation include: Business Improvement Expert, Continuous Improvement Consultant, Process Excellence Manager, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Business Improvement Consultant, Business Transformation Consultant.

What Skills and Knowledge will be acheived?

Leading Improvement teams:

Personality types, team development stages, motivational techniques, situational leadership, learning styles, mentoring models.

Project planning, review & coaching:

Multi-element business case, financial plan, benefits realisation plan, risk management plan, project plan. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Principles & methods for Improvement:

How to apply Improvement Methods across all functions, policy deployment principles, Lean culture.

Statistics & measures:

Probability distributions & how to test for fit of probability distributions to data. Confidence intervals, central limit theorem. Testing data for stability & normality & strategies for dealing with non-stable or non-normal data.


Principles of full and fractional designed experiments including replicates, repeats, randomisation, blocking & centre points, resolution and confounding.

Failure mode avoidance:

System state flow, boundary diagram, interface analysis tables, fault tree analysis, robustness checklist, tolerance design and analysis. Principles & links between Failure Modes and Effects analysis for concepts, designs, processes.

Sustainability & control:

Control & reaction plans. Prevention controls.

Typically, this apprenticeship will take 14-18 months.

More information about the Core Knowledge, Skills and behaviours, and the entry requirements can be found here.

We also offer the Level 5  Improvement Specialist (Black Belt) as part of our regularly run Open Programmes, which do not require a minimum cohort. Contact us for more information.