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Qualifications for experienced lean practitioners

Formal lean qualifications for individuals

If you are an individual looking for lean qualifications, there are several routes to consider. Most individuals become LCS certified through an LCS Accredited organisation, where they are employed. You can also become certified through a consultant’s public or client programme or, if you are an experienced lean practitioner, via the LCS Approved Prior Learning & Experience Route (APLE) at Level 2 and Level 3.

The APLE route is designed for practitioners with few or no formal lean qualifications, or recognition of their credentials. These practitioners will have a track record of leadership and lean implementation at a strategic level, plus an in-depth knowledge of lean thinking principles and techniques gained through roles in employment and lean related education.

Benefits of becoming LCS qualified via APLE

  • Receive independent endorsement of your leadership capabilities
  • Strengthens your credibility as a senior lean thinker
  • Improves your critical reflection capability
  • Clarifies your appreciation of lean leadership attributes
  • Helps build confidence and self assurance
  • Gain access to a network of practitioners for continuing development and peer-to-peer learning

Application Criteria for APLE certification

Applicants for Level 2 or 3 certification through the APLE route need specific levels of knowledge and experience gained though roles in employment. For example, a Level 2 applicant should have spend at least five years in management roles, while a Level 3 applicant should have been successful in applying lean thinking in management roles within varied environments over at least ten years.

Practical competence

Case studies that are strategic in nature are used to evidence an applicant's practical capability.


Applicants need to demonstrate their leadership capabilities when implementing lean programmes.

Critical reflection

Applicants are required to critically reflect on their case experiences - essentially, making meaning of an experience and learning lessons.

APLE certification options for experienced managers

There are APLE certification options at Level 2 and Level 3

Level 2: Technical

Level 2 is designed for experienced practitioners with continuous improvement knowledge, gained either through formal training by an educational institution or training provider, or experientially through casual courses, on the job study or other pursuits.

2a: Implementation & Design

On the advanced lean knowledge and leadership competences required for lean management. Ability to design and implement programmes, play a leading role in managing departmental or cross functional teams, with some support and guidance.

2b: Implementation & Leadership

On the advanced lean knowledge and leadership competences required for lean management. Ability to design and implement programmes, play a leading role in managing inter-business, departmental or cross functional teams, with high levels of responsibility and requiring minimal support and guidance

Level 2 fees:

Qualification without a knowledge test:



Qualification including a knowledge test:



Level 3: Strategic

Level 3 is the highest LCS qualification. It indicates that the holder has a progressive, mature and broad understanding of lean thinking and is a capable lean leader. Level 3 practitioners will also be able to effectively design and implement lean programmes at a strategic or transformative level.

3a: Strategic Enterprise

On advanced lean knowledge and the strategic and leadership competences required for lean leadership at a senior level. Those with LCS 3a should be able to design lean strategies for an organisation (or a significant business unit) and demonstrate appropriate lean leadership qualities and practices.

3b: Strategic Supply Chain

On advanced lean knowledge and the strategic and leadership competences required for lean leadership at the highest level. Those with LCS 3b should be able to design and lead lean strategies for an organisation and demonstrate mature lean leadership qualities and practices.

Level 3 fee:

Level 3 Programme from:



* with exemptions & discounts for those in accredited organisations and with exemptions

Process for Level 2 applicants

For Level 2, you are required to complete an online application form that describes your lean roles and achievements. You make a statement summarising how your lean knowledge and practical experience meets the Level 2 criteria and submit two case studies that evidence your capability. You critically reflect on your case experiences and provide a reference. You may be required to take an online test if you have insufficient training/qualifications.

Process for Level 3 candidates

For Level 3, you embark on a nine month programme during which you must produce a portfolio of material evidencing your capability.evidence, guided by a Level 3 Adviser. The portfolio consists of three transformational/strategic lean case studies and an assignment on lean thinking, covering its development, its current priorities and highlighting specific trends, opportunities or issues. The programme concludes with a presentation by the candidate to an LCS expert panel.

Becoming qualified through an LCS Accredited organisation

If you are the employee of an LCS accredited organisation, you can become certified once you have successfully completed the organisation’s CI training programme. Enquire with your organisation for more information.

Continuously develop as a lean practitioner

LCS Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provides a structured approach to continuously improving your Lean Competence. It helps career practitioners identify and establish their personal continuous improvement goals through constant self-assessment, goal-setting, sharing and reflection, signalling to the business community that their competency is current and well-practised.

“I have found [LCS lean certification] to be a hugely worthwhile and interesting process. It’s been a real learning experience for me…and has certainly developed my own thinking.”.

Successful Level 3 lean certified candidate, 2015

About LCS

The LCS is an industry recognised and University developed qualifications framework used across the globe.

Contact us about APLE certification

Contact us now to find out more information or to discuss LCS certification.