Improvement Specialist Level 5

Apprenticeship - Lean Six Sigma Black Belt


Apprenticeships are designed to develop knowledge, improve skills and instil the right behaviours for anyone, at any level, in any business or industry looking to boost development and progression opportunities.

Introduction to Improvement Standards

Improvement Apprenticeship Standards have been built by industry for industry, using Lean and Six Sigma methodologies as a powerful combination to combat process waste and increase efficiency, with customer value at the forefront as organisations strive for Operational Excellence.

CQM deliver levels 2 to level 6 to a extremely high standard, so learners can look forward to a very interactive and engaging programme. On successful completion of the programme not only will learners achieve their Apprenticeship qualification but will also have the option of globally recognised Lean Six Sigma certification for the relevant belt through Instructus Skills.

Improvement Specialist Level 5 Summary

The Improvement Specialist Level 5 Apprenticeship programme is ideal for those leading the local deployment of improvement strategy, in supporting the delivery of business goals. Suitable candidates would be employees who provide technical expertise in structured improvement methods and advanced tools, or are responsible for leading advanced cross-functional improvement projects. Improvement Specialists would be seen as those responsible for co-ordinating Practitioner / Green Belt level training, projects, and activities.

The Improvement Specialist Level 5 (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt) Apprenticeship will cover a broad range of topics and models across the entire DMAIC process – Define, Measure, Analyse, Implement and Control. Our expert development coaches will provide you with the key knowledge, skills and behaviours to effectively implement various Lean Six Sigma principles with some of the key modules of the programme covering;


  • Multi-element Business Case and Planning
  • Team Formation & Leadership
  • Change Management


  • Project Selection & Scope
  • Project Planning & Management
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Commercial Environment


  • Process Mapping & Metrics
  • Data Acquisition Planning
  • Improvement Metrics
  • Measurements Systems Analysis
  • Statistics & Measures
  • Process Capability & Performance


  • Root Cause Tools and Advanced Hypothesis Testing
  • Correlation & Regression
  • Data Transformation
  • Apply Data Analysis and Statistical Measures


  • Key Principles and Leading Deployment
  • Idea Selection, Identification and Prioritisation
  • Failure Mode Avoidance
  • Design of Experiments


  • Statistical Process Control
  • Sustainability & Control
  • Benchmarking

Other Content

  • Templates, tools and other pro-formas to use and keep
  • You will need to have or attain a Minitab license or equivalent for statistical analysis. CQM can support you with this here.

Value Added Delivery

Certification: CQM T&C can underpin the delivery of the Improvement Standard Apprenticeship programmes with a relevant Lean Six Sigma accredited certificate via Instructus Skills.

Measurable Impact: Each project will be defined, qualified and approved within a Profit Improvement Plan (PIP), agreed with you in advance. The PIP is a great management tool and clearly demonstrates the progress of each project using DMAIC and a RAG rating.

Mentors: We can help identify, and advise on a suitable Mentor within your organisation. We are able to provide coaching to the nominated Mentor so that they fully understand their role and what will be required of them, but also understand the guidelines within which they operate and to whom they report.

Guaranteed Return on Investment: With a focus on sustainability and measured improvement, our development programmes always guarantee a significant Return on Investment, seen not only through financial gain, but importantly through positive behavioural change.

Other support: We will help the learner and organisation identify a mentor and supply training if needed. The learner and mentor will be invited to engagement session prior to any start dates, to get a flavour for the course and to set expectations. We will hold regular governance meetings with the organisation to keep everything on track and, as part of the programme, support with key functional skills in English and Maths, for which the learner will attain level 2 qualification.

    We have been delivering world class, business focussed solutions for approaching 30 years.

    With our award-winning, high quality training, development, and Apprenticeship programmes, we challenge the ambitions of our clients and learners to develop themselves beyond all expectations.

    Our core expertise is in Continuous Improvement, Lean Six Sigma, and Management Development, supporting businesses across all sectors in their journey towards Operational Excellence.

    Our development coaches are not just highly qualified to teach and coach. They will use their vast industry experience of delivering on what they say and real life examples to explain in simple terms the various elements of the programme.

    Each learner will have a mentor within their organisation to support them with their programme. The organisation will be kept up to date in regular governance meetings to ensure everything is on track. Our robust onboarding process makes enrolment to our programmes seamless. The quality of our delivery speaks for itself, with real projects creating real measurable improvements. This is all reflected in our latest Ofsted rating of “Good”.

    We provide two types of training delivery methods; a Open Cohort approach & Tailored Apprenticeship approach.

    Open Cohort

    Our Open Cohort approach has been developed as an ideal solution for companies looking to release small numbers of employees (up to 4 per company) for Apprenticeships which includes workshops, coaching and off the job training.

    Open Cohorts encourage idea sharing, peer learning and networking across organisations and are predominantly delivered virtually in 3 day blocks, supported by vital face to face contact from our development coaches as and when required by the learner.

    All workshop and coaching dates are provided well in advance, prior to the start of the programme, allowing plenty of time to plan ahead.

    Tailored Apprenticeship

    Our Tailored Apprenticeship approach is perfect for organisations with larger number of employees being released at once for a particular Apprenticeship standard, and as such we offer bespoke on-site and/or virtual delivery.

    Tailored Apprenticeships allow for organisations to tailor the programme, to increase relevance, incorporate their values and ensure it is in line with organisational goals and learner requirements.

    All workshop and coaching dates are agreed well in advance, to ensure smooth delivery that fits around organisation’s busy periods. This allows plenty of time to plan ahead and, anticipating the unexpected, is truly flexible to accommodate changes during the Apprenticeship programme.

    Click on your delivery preference

    Our upcoming 2022 intake dates for Improvement Specialist Level 5 Apprenticeship (Lean Six Sigma Black Belt), delivered via Open Cohort, are as follows;

    Tuesday 1st Feb Started
    Tuesday 29th March Started
    Tuesday 11th Oct Apply Now
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    I think participating in the L5 Improvement Specialist apprenticeship with CQM has benefited me in a number of ways.

    It has given me the opportunity to broaden my network of contacts and industry knowledge beyond the boundaries of Travis Perkins.

    It has forced me to move outside of my comfort zone e.g. being a coach to other trainees when I don’t necessarily feel like an expert myself….yet!

    I think the programme has brought structure to my ways of working, given me tools to use in my daily working life and has reinforced the importance of data and facts.

    The application of these tools will enable the resolution of a problem that has been unsuccessfully attempted in the past, driving real business value.

    Suzanne Addison - Accounting Workstream Lead on Finance Modernisation

    Travis Perkins

    Need Guidance

    Improvement Practitioner Level 4 (Green Belt)

    This Apprenticeship programme is ideal for those responsible for the delivery and coaching of improvement activity within their area of authority. Improvement Practitioners use a blend of Lean and Six Sigma, project and change management principles and tools to identify and lead the delivery of change across organisational functions and processes.

    Need Advice

    Improvement Leader Level 6 (Master Black Belt)

    This Apprenticeship programme is ideal for those who are responsible for developing improvement strategy, providing leadership in improvement for the business and for coaching and supporting Improvement Specialists in advanced analysis. The Improvement Leader typically reports to Board members or Heads of Department and manages (directly and/or matrix) a team of Improvement Specialists (Black Belts).

    Need to Improve

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