Level 5 – Knowledge, Skills, & Behaviours

All apprentices must take an independent assessment at the end of their training to confirm that they have achieved occupational competence. Rigorous, robust and independent end-point assessment (EPA) is essential to give employers confidence that apprentices completing an apprenticeship standard can actually perform in the occupation they have been trained in and can demonstrate the duties, knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) set out in the occupational standard.

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Level 5 – Knowledge, Skills, & Behaviours- image - 2

What are they?

Improvement Specialists have the Knowledge and understanding of:

  • Leading improvement teams: Personality types, team development stages, motivational techniques, situational leadership, learning styles, mentoring models
  • Project planning: Multi-element business case, financial plan, benefits realisation plan, risk management plan, project plan
  • Project reviews & coaching: Coaching models, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
  • Change planning: Change management methods, impact/readiness, influencing strategies
  • Commercial environment: Business and economic risks including changes in legislation, government regulation or trading condidtions that can impact all aspects of improvement from Project Selection through to selection/implementation of improvements
  • Principles & methods for Improvement: How to apply Improvement Methods (eg. Practical Problem Solving, Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control, 8-Disciplines, Identify-Define-Optimise-Verify) across all functions, policy deployment principles, Lean culture
  • Voice of the customer: Interviewing and focus groups, Quality Function Deployment principles and how to build a House of Quality
  • Process mapping & analysis: Activity network diagrams, design structure matrix, process modelling, key function diagrams and analysis
  • Data acquisition planning: Stratification, rational sub-groups, power and sample size
  • Statistics & measures: Probability distributions and how to test for fit of probability distributions to data. Confidence intervals, central limit theorem. How to test data for stability and normaility and strategies for dealing with non-stable or non-normal data
  • Lean concepts and tools: Principles of Lean Thinking and Lean tools including origins and cultural aspects critical to successful application within an organisation.
  • Measurement system analysis: Repeatability & Reproducibility analysis. Long term measurement error
  • Process capability: Data transformation, life data analysis and prediction
  • Root cause analysis: Matrix plots, multi-vari charts, hypothesis testing principles and methods, correlation and regression principles and methods
  • Experimentation: Principles of full and fractitional designed experiments including replicates, repeats, randomisation, blocking and centre points, resolution and confounding. Planning and analysis using residuals, main effects & interaction plots, hierarchy of terms, Response Surface Method, Split plots, Analysis of variance (ANOVA). Approaches for model optimisation
  • Identification & prioritisation: Creativity tools e.g. theory of inventive problem solving (TRIZ), Pugh matrix
  • Failure mode avoidance: System state flow, boundary diagram, interface analysis tables, fault tree analysis, robustness checklist, tolerance design and analysis. Principles and links between Failure Modes and Effects analysis for concepts, designs, processes.
  • Sustainability & control: Control and reaction plans. Prevention controls


Improvement Specialists have the Skills within the context of their own organisation to:

  • Leading improvement teams: Holding team members/stakeholders to account for delivering agreed actions within an improvement project and building/maintaining appropriate stakeholder relationships inside and outside the organisation to deliver improvement project objectives
  • Strategic Deployment of Continuous Improvement: Contribute to deployment of improvement strategy, participating as an active member of the improvement community
  • Communication: Prepare and present concise proposals and plans. Capture and share progress through effective formats and channels. Use and handle questions effectively. Build rapport with others.
  • Capability Development: Train, facilitate and critique the application of tools used by improvement practitioners including tool-selection, links between tools, how they are used within a structured method, analsysis of results and presentation of recommendations
  • Project planning: Plan and manage finances, multi-stakeholder delivery and benefits realisation
  • Change planning: Design reinforcement, engagement and communication strategies
  • Principles and Methods for Improvement: Guide others on the selection of appropriate methods (eg. Practical Problem Solving, Define-Measure-Analyse-Improve-Control, 8-Disciplines, Identify-Define-Optimise-Verify) to deliver improvements. Conduct gateway assessments to ensure suitability of projects to progress
  • Project selection & scope: Guides others on the selection and scoping of improvement projects and the intial response to product/process performance issues. Identify, scope and prioritise improvement opportunities that map to high-level organisation objectives and key value-streams
  • Process mapping & analysis: Guide others on the selection of appropriate process mapping and analysis tools. Critique improved state
  • Lean tools: Identify and analyse value-streams using appropriate methods and tools to optimise flow to customer. Develop a plan for Lean deployment within the organisation including effective and relevant performance metrics.
  • Measurement: Guide others on the planning, analysis and interpretation of data collection & measurement studies including the design of tests to recreate failures & steps to diagnose/reduce short & long-term measurement variation
  • Statistics & measures: Confirm data and fit for a range distribution models. Establish predictions. Calculate confidence intervals
  • Data analysis-statistical methods: Model random behaviour and make inferences with levels of confidence. Calculate/recommend sample size. Test hypotheses for all data types. Assess input/output correlation. Generate, analyse and interpret simple and multiple predictive relationship models
  • Process capability & performance: Identify data stability/distribution issues and apply appropriate strategies to enable robust Capability Analysis. Analyse life data to establish rates and patterns
  • Root cause analysis: Make appropriate use of data to assess contribution of critical inputs/root cause(s) to product/process performance using appropriate graphical and statistical tools to draw and coomunicate conclusions
  • Experimentation & optimisation: Guide others on the planning, analysis and interpretation of experiments. Plan,conduct, analyse and optimise both full & fractional experiments
  • Data analysis – Statistical Process Control: Monitor and asses ongoing process variation and changes through chart-selection, control-limit setting, sample sizing/frequency and control-rules
  • Benchmarking: Guide others on benchmarking to support all stages of improvement projects including future-state design
  • Failure mode avoidance: Decompose complex systems in order to define main functions. Anaylse system interactions. Cascade knowledge through fault tree analysis. Create and assess design rules, standards & verification methods. Complete robustness studies to select appropriate control strategies and detection methods
  • Sustainability & control: Guide others on control and sustainability planning including methods and tools to maintain benefits, extraction of learning, replication, sharing and consolidation of new knowledge into organisational learning


Improvement Specialists demonstrate the following Behaviours:

  • Drive for results: Co-ordinates and delivers sustained improvement across the business by engaging with, and inspiring stakeholders; adopting a can-do attitude
  • Team-working: Leads cross functional project teams proactively, regularly supports others and replicates learning
  • Professionalism: Exemplifies high standard of professional integrity, ethics and trust within the organisation, whilst maintaining flexibility to the needs of the business
  • Process Thinking: Drives process-thinking and customer-focused, data-driven decision making
  • Continuous development: Identifies & models opportunities for development of self & others
  • Safe working: Adopts a proactive approach to safety, encouraging others and suggesting compliance improvements

Improvement Specialists must also build a Training Video into their evidence portfolio:

  • A continuous video recording of the session must be included in the portfolio of evidence
  • Video must cover a subject selected from the following list: Project Management, Change Management, Process Mapping and Analysis, Lean Principles and Tools, Measurement System Analysis, Data Collection Planning, Graphical Analysis, Process Capability, Root Cause Analysis, Designed Experiments, Statistical Process Control
  • The training materials must be prepared by the apprentice (i.e. they must not deliver published training material prepared by someone else and this requirement will be authenticated by a signed statement provided by the apprentice’s employer)
  • The video must be delivered to a group of Level 4 delegates in their normal working environment and last 35-40 minutes in duration
  • Training materials may include for example PowerPoint presentation, lesson plan, training notes, photographs of white boards, handouts, flipcharts
  • All training materials and records of delegate feedback must be included in the portfolio of evidence


How are they assessed at EPA?

For full, in detail criteria of all parts of the assessment and each KSB (including Fail/Pass/Merit/Distinction criteria), please see: https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/media/1748/st0555-_improvement-specialist_l5_-epa_for_publication_23_april_18.pdf

KSB Criteria Exam Professional Discussion
K1 Leading improvement teams X
K2 Project planning X
K3 Project reviews & coaching X
K4 Change planning X
K5 Commercial environment X
K6 Principles & Methods for Improvement X
K7 Voice of the customer X
K8 Process mapping & analysis X
K9 Data acquisition planning X
K10 Statistics & measures X
K11 Lean concepts and tools X
K12 Measurement System Analysis X
K13 Process capability X
K14 Root cause analysis X
K15 Experimentation X
K16 Identification & prioritisation X
K17 Failure mode avoidance X
K18 Sustainability & control X
S1 Leading improvement teams X
S2 Strategic Deployment of Continuous Improvement X
S3 Communication X
S4 Capability Development X
S5 Project planning X
S6 Change planning X
S7 Principles & Methods for Improvement X
S8 Project Selection & Scope X
S9 Process mapping & analysis X
S10 Lean tools X
S11 Measurement X
S12 Statistics & measures X
S13 Data analysis – Statistical methods X
S14 Process capability & performance X
S15 Root cause analysis X
S16 Experimentation & optimisation X
S17 Data analysis – Statistical Process Control X
S18 Benchmarking X
S19 Failure mode avoidance X
S20 Sustainability & control X
B1 Drive for results X
B2 Team-working X
B3 Professionalism X
B4 Process Thinking X
B5 Continuous development X
B6 Safe working X



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