Improvement Leader Apprenticeship – Reference Number: ST0556

Who is it for?

Improvement Leaders 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, who deploy the strategy, and lead improvement projects.  They work closely with all functions of the business to support the setting and achievement of business goals, often accountable for Improvement activities within the largest-scale and highest priority programmes of work. For example, they may develop top-level Value Stream Maps to identify improvement opportunities that are then scoped into projects to be delivered by Improvement Specialists or they may design new products/processes/services. The role is typically office-based but involves working wherever their improvement activities are focussed for example they could be working on the shop floor or at customer/supplier premises.

What will be covered?

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, an Improvement Leader will have knowledge and an understanding of:

Strategy Development

  • Policy deployment principles and Hoshin Kanri Porter’s 5 forces, Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats (SWOT)/Political Economic Social Technological Legal Economic (PESTLE), Ansoff’s growth matrix, Boston Consulting Group growth share matrix, GE-McKinsey matrix.

Business Benefits: Experimentation and Optimisation

  • Net present value, activity based costing.

  • Monte Carlo and Discrete Event simulation. Balanced and unbalanced designs, General Linear Model.

Team Formation and Leadership

  • Team types and constraints, dysfunctional teams, emotional intelligence, Neuro-linguistic programming techniques, reinforcement strategies.

Self-Development, Presentation and Report

  • Latest thinking in Continuous Improvement and Operational Excellence.

  • Single page reporting – A3 thinking.

Project Selection and Scoping – Measurement Systems

  • Business performance metrics.

  • Audit Measurement System.

Data analysis – statistical methods

  • Regression (multiple & binary logistic), forecasting and queuing theory.

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, an Improvement Leader will have and be able to exhibit skills in the following areas:

Strategic Deployment of Continuous Improvement

  • Contribute to the business planning cycle and lead the development of improvement strategy. Analyse current state and identify opportunities. Develop deployment plans considering key enablers. Contribute to the development of an improvement culture. Maintain engagement through effective communication.

Capability Development

  • Design, source and evaluate learning interventions. Facilitate multi-functional workshops. Advise on selection of individuals for different levels of training.

Project and Change Management

  • Plan and manage an improvement programme with appropriate levels of governance. Apply processes for managing a portfolio of improvement projects including reporting, escalation, audit and risk management/mitigation.

  • Assess the effectiveness of change and identify opportunities to improve outcomes, guiding and supporting others to deliver results.

Project Selection, Scoping and Problem Definition

  • Establish guidelines for project identification and prioritisation. Assess effectiveness of identification and prioritisation processes and implement counter-measures to enhance outcomes. Engage leadership team to identify improvement opportunities.

  • Promote importance of evidence-driven problem definition in everyday work.

Upon completion of the apprenticeship, an Improvement Leader will exhibit the following behaviours:

Drive for Results

  • Be a primary advocate for Improvement and Operational Excellence acting as a role model for others, focused on improving customer experience and delivering benefits.

Team Working

  • Actively seeks opportunities for improving team performance and coaches others to resolve under-performance issues.


  • Demonstrates personal resilience. Challenge, influence & engage seniors.

Strategic Thinking

  • Drives future thinking for themselves and others. Actively seeks out new ideas, opportunities methods and tools. Build a knowledge and best practice sharing network.

Safe Working

  • Recognises opportunities to improve safe working practices.

For more information on this apprenticeship, or any of the apprenticeships we have on offer please do contact us on 01865 515 255 and a member of the team would be delighted to chat this through with you. Alternatively, please do get in touch via email at, or by filling in a contact form.

Funding Band



The duration of this apprenticeship is typically 18-24 months.

Entry Requirements

Entry requirements will be determined by individual employers. Those who are unsure should contact the team directly on 01865 515 255, or via email at Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the end-point assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement the apprenticeships English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3 and British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language.


This apprenticeship standard is at Level 6, similar to an Honours degree.

Review Date


Improvement Leader Apprenticeship PDF

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