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LCS Qualifications

Qualifications for organisations, consultants and individuals

LCS Certificates of Lean Competency are issued to individuals by LCS accredited organisations or consultants and also directly by the LCS at Level 2 and Level 3 via the Approved Prior Learning & Experience route.

Our seven levels of competency

The LCS qualifications framework has seven competency levels, which range from 1a to 3b. They are grouped into three categories: 1) Fundamental, 2) Technical and 3) Strategic. The levels cover a broad range of competency, from awareness of core principles of lean, right up to strategic lean leadership. An accredited organisation can initially accredit to one or several levels and can add levels to its accreditation at any point. A detailed description for each level is available to make it clear what knowledge and practical capability is required.


Level 1A Awareness

Level 1B Diagnosis & Analysis

Level 1C Improvement & Implementation


Level 2A Implementation & Design

Level 2B Implementation & Leadership


Level 3A Strategic Enterprise

Level 3B Strategic Supply Chain

For Organisations

Are you an organisation looking to accredited your CI training programme?

For Consultants

Are you a consultant looking to accredited your CI training programme?

For Individuals

Are you an experienced lean practitioner looking for recognition through formal qualifications?

University developed

The LCS is the only university linked lean qualification framework for the workplace. Created in 2005 by the Lean Enterprise Research Centre, Cardiff Business School, it is managed by Lean Competency Services Ltd under licence from Cardiff University.

How the LCS levels compare with Belts

Coloured belts are often used as descriptors for the different levels in some continuous improvement qualification systems, such as in Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma.

While there is no universal standard definition for each of the belts, accredited organisations must adhere to the guidance in the table to the right if they want to include a belt colour after the LCS level number on thier LCS personal certificates:


LCS - Level 1a

LCS - Level 1b

LCS - Level 1c

LCS - Level 2a

LCS - Level 2b

LCS - Level 3a

LCS - Level 3b

Belts permitted

White, Yellow

Green, Orange


Blue, Brown, Black

Black, Master Black



LCS Framework Details

Click below to explore the details of the LCS framework, including the Level Descriptors.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have any questions, we may have the answer on our FAQ’s page. Click on the link below.

Verification of qualifications

Information for employment or recruitment agencies carrying out screening or pre-employment checks.

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The LCS is a licenced service of Cardiff University