Improvement Technician Apprenticeship

An Improvement Technician is responsible for delivery and coaching of improvement activity within an area of responsibility, often associated with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies. They can be found across all industry sectors and functions including automotive, banking, engineering, food products, IT, property, retail, telecoms etc.

Joint applications for apprenticeships and full-time courses starting in September 2022 are open.

If you are aged between 15 and 18 and interested in an Apprenticeship but do not yet have a contract of employment from an employer, we strongly advise you to apply for a full-time programme as well so you have a back-up.

We process both your full-time application and apprenticeship application until you inform us that you have secured an employer and have an Apprenticeship contract in place, at which point your apprenticeship application will take priority.

Occupational Profile

Typically, Technicians work as a member of an operational team to resolve problems – preventing re-occurrence, engaging others in issues affecting them and to support the improvement of performance. Typical activities include:

  • Engaging team members in the identification of improvement opportunities and relevant countermeasures and controls
  • Initiating and facilitating improvement activities through to confirmed resolution
  • Providing local expertise in business improvement methods and basic tools to team

There are a variety of job titles associated with the occupation, these include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Co-ordinator, Continuous Improvement Executive, Process Technician, Operational Excellence/Lean Engineer, Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt and Quality Control Analyst.


Improvement Technicians have the Knowledge of:

  • Compliance: Legislative and customer compliance requirements including health and safety
  • Team formation & leadership: Improvement team roles and responsibilities in a change environment
  • Self-development: Different sources for knowledge development
  • Project management: Project charter, Gantt chart, reporting documentation, Red Amber Green (RAG) status, communication (verbal and non-verbal channels) and implementation plans
  • Change management: Roles of the manager and leader within change. Influencing, reinforcement and coaching principles
  • Principles & methods: Six Sigma principles per ISO13053 (International Organisation for Standardisation), interim containment actions, Lean principles
  • Project selection & scope: Selection matrix, scoping tree
  • Problem definition: Exploratory data analysis, data collection planning, problem and goal statements
  • Process mapping & analysis: Supplier Input Process Output Customer (SIPOC), process mapping, value and waste analysis, performance metrics – discrete data
  • Data acquisition for analysis: Data stratification, sampling theory, data types, variation types and sources, data collection tools, operational definition and principles of measurement error
  • Basic statistics & measures: Control charts – discrete data
  • Process capability & performance: Capability analysis – continuous data
  • Root cause analysis: Histograms
  • Experimentation: Active analysis versus one factor at a time, Plan Do Check Act
  • Identification & prioritisation: Brainstorming, selection criteria
  • Sustainability & control: Process

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

  • Compliance: Work in accordance with organisational controls and statutory regulations
  • Communication: Share improvement progress through appropriate reporting
  • Project management: Plan, manage and implement improvement activities. Identify and support management of risks. Develop the business case for improvement activity and implementation
  • Change management: Engage through communications. Reinforce – positively and negatively. Effectively coach peers
  • Principles and methods: Use a structured method and appropriate improvement tools engaging with subject matter experts to deliver business benefits
  • Project selection and Scoping: Identify and scope improvement projects and establish clear measurable objectives
  • Problem definition: Develop a problem/opportunity statement supported by validated data
  • Voice of the customer: Apply techniques to identify customers, their requirements and translate these to metrics
  • Process mapping & analysis: Apply process mapping tools to visualise processes, analyse process performance establishing key insights for performance improvement
  • Lean tools: Apply techniques such as identification and removal of 8 wastes, 5S (Sort, Shine, Set, Standardise, Sustain), standard work, kaizen, visual displays and controls, error proofing, preventative maintenance
  • Data acquisition for analysis: Develop data collection plan and validated measurement processes to understand performance
  • Basic statistics & measures: Establish patterns and trends in data over time using tally, pie, run/trend and pareto charts
  • Data analysis-statistical methods: Identify common and special cause variation
  • Process capability & performance: Analyse product/process performance using good quality data
  • Root cause analysis: Use cause and effect diagrams, technique of 5 whys and graphical analysis to understand and verify root causes
  • Identification & prioritisation: Identify and prioritise improvement solutions
  • Benchmarking: Recognise the value of sharing best practice
  • Sustainability & control: Create control and reaction plans with detection measures, identify opportunities to embed changes to leverage benefit to the business.

Improvement Technicians demonstrate the following Behaviours:

  • Drive for results: Clear commitment for identifying opportunities and delivering improvements, pays attention to detail
  • Team-working: Helps when asked, works effectively in a diverse team, considers impact of own actions on others, motivates peers
  • Professionalism: Acts in a moral, legal and socially appropriate manner, aligns behaviours to the organisations values, trusted to working on own when appropriate
  • Continuous development: Acts upon feedback, reflects on performance and has a desire for learning
  • Safe working: Ensures safety of self and others, challenges safety
Entry Requirements

Individual employers will set their own entry requirements.


Either before or during the apprenticeship, apprentices will be required to achieve level 2 qualifications in English and mathematics prior to taking the end point assessment.

There is the option for learner to achieve yellow belt six sigma accreditation (additional costs apply – Contact us for details)


Full time apprentices will typically spend 12 to 15 months on-programme working towards the apprenticeship standard, with a minimum of 20% of this time being off-the-job training. Apprentices without English and mathematics at level 2 must achieve level 2 prior to taking their end point assessment (EPA)

The EPA should only start once the employer is satisfied that gateway requirements for EPA have been met and that the apprentice is consistently working at or above the level set out in the standard. EPA must be conducted by an EPAO approved to offer services against this standard, as selected by the employer from the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) Register of End Point Assessment
Organisations (RoEPAO).

The EPA consists of three distinct assessment methods:-

• Multiple choice examination – to assess knowledge elements of the standard
• Project report, presentation & questioning – to holistically assess knowledge, skills and
behaviours (KSBs) in the standard
• Professional discussion underpinned by log – to holistically assess KSBs across the standard.
Performance in the EPA will determine the apprenticeship grade of fail, pass, merit or distinction.

End Point Assessment Overview

Area AssessedAssessed byGradingWeighting 
Multiple Choice
End Point
Project Report,
Presentation &
Knowledge, skill
and behaviour
End Point
underpinned by
Knowledge, skill
and behaviour
End Point


Course and Career Progression

There are a variety of job titles associated with the occupation, these include, but are not limited to: Business Improvement Co-ordinator, Continuous Improvement Executive, Process Technician, Operational Excellence/Lean Engineer, Lean Six Sigma Yellow belt and Quality Control Analyst.

Successful candidates can also progress onto a higher apprenticeship such as the Level 4 Improvement Practitioner.


Improvement Technician Apprenticeship
Course Outline: Improvement Technicians are responsible for delivery and coaching of improvement activity within an area of responsibility, often associated with Lean and Six Sigma methodologies.

Starting employment as an apprentice can occur throughout the year however the start-date for attending college for training, where required, might vary depending on the type of apprenticeship and will be communicated post-employment and sign-up.

LevelLevel 3
DurationTypically 12-14 months.
CampusBraintree Campus
Apprenticeship Funding Band (Levy paying employers)£4,000
Employer Contribution Fee (Non-levy paying employers)£200

What will this cost my Business?

Non-levy paying employers will need to contribute 5% of the maximum funding band as published by the Skills Funding Agency for the delivery of training and assessment for their apprenticeship. Levy paying employers will pay the full cost of the agreed funding band using their Digital Apprenticeship account.

Apprenticeship Funding Bands

Apprenticeship Funding Bands
Employers with less than 50 employees who are recruiting an apprentice aged 16-18 years old will not be required to pay the contribution fee. Any associated cost to the individual will be made clear at the interview.


All fees, prices and funding information shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change due to factors outside of our control. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

Courses fees are generally not confirmed for September until June / July due to the above factors.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.