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Level 5 Improvement Specialist Apprenticeship

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Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship Standard Overview

A programme designed to build complex-level Problem Solving and Process Improvement capability.

Our Improvement Specialist programme is designed to build complex-level problem solving and process improvement capability using a blend of Lean, Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, project and change management enriched through case studies and practical activities.

Aimed at Senior Managers, Team Leaders, specialists such as Project Controllers, Quality Engineers and Accountants, our Level 5 Improvement Specialist Apprenticeship is suitable for all disciplines in all organisations, including Automotive, Pharmaceutical, Telecommunication, Retail, Finance, Food, Drink, Travel and Leisure. Improvement Specialists’ roles would include Business Improvement Expert, Continuous Improvement Consultant, Process Excellence Manager, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, or Business Improvement Consultant.

Improvement Strategy

Lead the local deployment of Improvement Strategy, supporting delivery of the organisation's goals.

Technical Expertise

Provide technical expertise in structured improvement methods and advanced tools.

Improvement Projects

Lead advanced and/or cross-functional technical Improvement Projects.

Develop Improvement Capability

Co-ordinate Practitioner-level Improvement training, activities, and projects.

Collaborative Working

Coach, mentor and communicate with Improvement Practitioners, business leaders and stakeholders.

Level 5 Improvement Specialist

As part of the Improvement Standards, the Level 5 Improvement Specialist aligns with the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. This means that on successful completion of your apprenticeship, you’ll receive two certificates: an Institute for Apprenticeship Certificate, and a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification.

Learning Delivery:

Capella was involved in developing this Level 5 Improvement Specialist Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan, so we understand it deeply.

We consulted widely to develop our training materials, and they’ve been approved by Toyota, so you can be confident they’re benchmarked against Best in Class. This means we’re able to share best practice and deliver rich learning programmes with our blended approach delivery.

Our blended learning approach to this apprenticeship includes:

  • Tutor-led, bite-sized training sessions
  • Enriched through case studies and practical activities
  • 1:1 and group coaching sessions to support the application of learning in the workplace
  • Access to supporting resources and reference materials


Want to learn how to become an apprentice on our next Level 5 programme? Our dedicated apprenticeship team offers online information sessions twice a week. Reserve your seat in the next session here.


Work based application to help you drive success

Learners deliver a portfolio of evidence alongside the apprenticeship, with guidance and support from the learner’s coach and mentor. During the 14-months training period, learners are required to collate a portfolio of evidence, which includes examples of their behavioural development.

What can Learners expect from the End Point Assessment?

The important thing to remember is that throughout our Level 5 Improvement Specialist Apprenticeship, learners are supported with tutor-led, bite sized training, 1:1 coaching and easy access to supporting resources.

Your End Point Assessment is made up of two parts:

  • Knowledge (50%): learner knowledge is assessed via 8 mini case studies in Minitab which you’ll work through, each with 10 multiple choice questions
  • Professional Discussion (50%): learners have a Professional Discussion which is underpinned by the Portfolio of Evidence
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Overview: Level 5 Improvement Specialist Apprenticeship


Duration: 14 – 18 months

Content: Lean, Six Sigma, Operational Excellence, Project Management, Change Management, Team Working and Team Leadership

Commitment Required:

  • 20 training days
  • 9 coaching days
  • Mid programme review
  • Final review
  • Maths and English (if required) up to 7 additional days

End Point Assessment:

  • Exam
  • Portfolio of evidence
  • Professional discussion

Entry Requirements:

  • Completion of Lean Six Signa Green Belt or Level 4 Improvement Practitioner training is an essential pre-requisite, or similar knowledge and experience.


Reserve a Seat on Our Next Online Information Session
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Hear from Kay Lee, Head of Continual Improvement – Level 5 Improvement Specialist

Here’s what Kay had to say about her experience on a Capella Apprenticeship:

“I’d previously completed my Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, and I wanted to improve my knowledge and skills to a Black Belt level, to support my role as Head of Continual Service Improvement. So, I completed the Level 5 Improvement Specialist apprenticeship, to become a qualified Black Belt, able to guide, coach, and lead others. The Improvement standards support career progression, so after getting promoted, I’ve now progressed onto the Level 6 Improvement Leader to become a Master Black Belt.

Helping NHS Arden & GEM to deliver continued improvements of our operational processes. Through the apprenticeship I’ve developed a continual service improvement strategy and aligned improvement projects, putting in place effective governance and a structured approach to problem solving. We now have a Lean Roadmap in line with strategic objectives and a quality and training capability package.”

Inspired by Kay’s Story?

Our dedicated apprenticeship team deliver online information sessions twice a week where you can find out more about these apprenticeships.

Reserve a Seat on Our Next Online Information Session

Who We Work With

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Designed to provide business improvement training resources to support learners on our apprenticeship programmes – you’ll want to Bookmark our Apprentice Hub.

Useful for Learners and Employers, the Apprentice Hub is an indispensable resource for key programme information, including learner and employer handbooks, guides, procedures, and policies.


  • Webinars, Podcasts, and Videos to support off-the-job learning
  • Apprenticeship-specific KSBs – Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours
  • Support for End-Point Assessment & Grading
  • Smart Assessor
  • Learner Stories and SO MUCH MORE!
Explore Apprentice Hub

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