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Transform Model: Train

The S A Partners Lean Academy is the overarching term we use for all of our Lean training, learning and personal development programmes. Graduates of our training programmes will be invited to be part of our client network, and benefit from a wide range of services and content developed to help improve their CI skills.

How Does it Work?

Our training programmes cater for all levels of your organisation, from front line tasks (Lean Awareness/Team Member/Team Leader), through to middle tier processes (Coach), and top tier systems (Master Coach).

All our certification levels are accredited to Cardiff University’s Lean Competency System, and the number of supported days will be determined by your organisation’s needs and existing capability. You can find all about each of our certification level by clicking on each of the brochures below which will open in PDF format.



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What Lean Training capability do we offer?

  • Our objective is to provide the necessary skills that enable individuals and teams to improve their own work & create your own in-house improvement capability.Members of the Panalpina team after their training
  • We have developed formal training programmes and have formed key relationships with accreditation bodies that allow us to develop internationally recognised qualifications. These qualifications can be customised to your requirements.
  • Our training ethos is “to train you to be better than us” and that all training should carry vocational evidence of its application to gain accreditation.
  • We can develop individual, team, site or multi-site training programmes and can train from the boardroom to the shop floor.
  • Our offer covers Lean (including a blend of Lean & Sigma), Leadership, Coaching, 6 Sigma, Training Within Industry (TWI) and Programme Management.
Dale Farm Team receiving their LCS certificates
Dale Farm team receiving their LCS accreditation awards from Nick Whelan, CEO

The video below shows a large group of  Clear Stream technology Plc employees taking part of the Lean Awareness in-house workshop.

Training at Clearstream Technologies

Lean Competency System

Our Lean Training Programme has been aligned, continuously improved and accredited by the Cardiff University Lean Competency System (LCS) standard since 2010.

As an accredited training provider you can be assured that our training is well structured and effectively delivered and managed.

Below are the 7 Levels of the Lean Competency System covered in our Training offering:

Toni Whitehead

These 7 Levels typically relate to roles and grades within organisations as shown below:

7-stage-lcs-pyramid-modelWe deliver a range of open and in-house lean training. Our programmes are enriched by more than two decades of experience ‘in the field’, delivering benefits and shaping behavioural change for sustained organisational improvement.

We have worked with a broad and diverse range of organisations and have captured learning from our many interventions, which we have fed back into our training. Our programmes are significantly different to those offered by our competitors because they deliver real improvements, tangible organisational benefits and sustained change.

What makes us different?

There are many organisations offering Lean/CI training and you probably feel overwhelmed by the choice available. So what makes us unique?
• We can offer Certified and uncertified programmes, tailored to meet organisational or individual needs and goals.
• Fully tailored in company programmes or attend one of our regular public workshops.
• Flexible programmes – it is possible to enter the framework at any level. Candidates may take a stand alone workshop, or progress through the levels to achieve a qualification appropriate for their role and competence.

Why choose our Training – Benefits & Learning Outcomes

• It will equip your employees with vital change management and systematic problem solving skills
• It will empower your employees to deliver real, substantive and sustained benefits to your organisation.
• It will allow your organisation to develop an internal capability to enhance customer value.

We expect our Lean/CI Coach (or Black Belt) level programmes to target improvement projects with the potential to deliver benefits in the order of £100K per candidate.

Our Unique Selling Propositions (USPs)

Our Lean training programmes boast five USPs that clearly differentiate us from other training providers:
1. Quality-assured Learning & Development for your most valuable assets – your people. (Training is delivered by individuals who are experienced in delivering training but, more importantly, in delivering benefits).
2. Accreditation & Certification from a world-class, Russell Group, research-led University (Cardiff University).
3. Formal recognition of your people’s improvement efforts.
4. ‘Improvement’ embedded into your organisational culture.
5. Dramatic performance improvement – Training is highly results-focused – your organisation can enjoys benefits while you develop your internal capability.

Our Delivery & Assessment Methods

We use a blend of three delivery methods:
1. Conventional classroom – but highly interactive, participatory and fun.
2. Learning by doing – results-focused so that the organisation benefits while training is ongoing
3. Coaching – locking in learning and enabling sustained behavioural change to maximise the return on investment in training. In fact, some recent research findings state that:

‘To fully benefit from leadership and management development programmes, business organisations should follow up with professional coaching to ensure that knowledge is translated into leadership behaviour’

Source: Leadership and Management Wales report, Coaching for Impact: Making Leadership and Management Development More Effective, Sep 2013



Formal Assessment & Certification is carried out independent of the Training by Drs Donna Samuel & Toni Whitehead.
At each level there is a knowledge and practical application element. For our more in depth programmes candidates are required to submit evidence of work based ‘Learning by Doing’ on real projects. (An S A Partners coach can
support candidates through this stage).

Certification will support the adoption of a continuous improvement culture by engaging and rewarding your people and providing them with the capability to deliver sustainable Lean/CI transformation.
Please note that having a number of PhDs in the business, S A Partners offer mentoring, coaching and assessment of individuals who consider they are eligible for Strategic Level 3.

What our Clients say about us:

Ray Keeling, Head of Supply Operations, Allergy Therapeutics – ” The S A Partners approach focused on skills transfer so that we would be able to continue the improvement ourselves. Key to our success was integrating the problem solving work with our compliance system, and S A Partners were instrumental in helping us to that. The consultants challenged and externalised us and this is what we needed“.

Clare Hickson, Formerly of United Utilities – “S A Partners’ approach was very much about working with us rather than doing it for us. S A Partners have challenged us and have really been able to drive forward the benefits. And what have we got as a result? We’ve got a lot of engaged, up-skilled capabilities in the key areas we needed them across the organisation. They have been able to help us deliver substantial cost effectiveness“.

Gill Nicholls, Customer Experience Manager, Manchester Airport Group – “Our consultant became part of the customer journey team, with complete dedication to our development and our airport. He gave us the confidence to believe in our own abilities, in order to carry on the improvement process“.

Want to know more?

To learn more about our Lean Sigma Training Services, please contact Donna Samuel or Toni Whitehead.

Shingo Training

S A Partners have had an affiliation with the Shingo Institute since 2014. Described as ‘the’ bench mark for operational excellence, the Shingo Prize is internationally recognised as a world-class award.

As an affiliate, our Shingo training programmes consists of a 2 day hands on practical Shingo workshop at leading organisations, covering the Shingo principles of Enterprise Excellence.

Shingo trained organisations are consistently delivering new levels of success to all their stakeholders.

Shingo History & Background

The Shingo Prize was created twenty-five years ago, at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business of Utah State University. During this time, the Shingo Institute has experienced and learned many valuable and powerful things.

This has given them a greater understanding of what is required for organisations to achieve lasting, sustainable results. This knowledge has been captured in the Shingo Mode. [more]

shingo model

S A Partners deliver the full range of Shingo workshops to organisations around the world.

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Discover Excellence

Behaviours that lead to enterprise excellence

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Behaviours that enable a culture  of respect & humility

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Behaviours that improve a continuous flow of value

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Behaviours that align people, systems & strategy

Enterprise Excellence Masterclass

The Enterprise Excellence Master Class are 4 modules of 2 days each in the UK, or 4 modules delivered in two 4-day sessions for Ireland. They are delivered through a series of highly interactive on-site workshops, covering the following:

  • Module 1 Discover Excellence – Shingo Model, Gemba Visits
  • Module 2 Behavioural Deployment – Guiding Pronciples, Ideal Behaviours, Gemba Visits
  • Module 3 Core Systems (1) – Strategy Deployment System, Learning & Development System, Gemba Visits
  • Module 4 Core Systems (2) – Improvement System, Leader Standard Work System, Gemba Visits

Leadership for Improvement

Our Leadership proposition provides the techniques, competencies and behaviours that will help you achieve Excellence within your business.

The WHY – Typical Problems:

Lack of:

  • Clarity of Purpose
  • Confidence and Capability of
  • Leaders at every level
  • Ownership of decision making
  • People connection & harmonious working
  • Consistent Leadership Behaviour

Resulting in:

  • Disconnection between areas and
  • Levels across the business
  • People become disengaged with
  • Process of change
  • Low predictability of results
  • The transformation fails

WHAT can we do to address this?

leadership for improvement programmesThe approach will not only develop the performance of your key business processes but it will also develop the leadership competence of you and your Team in the following areas:

  • Designing, Deploying and Continuously Improving Business Systems and Behaviours
  • Developing your personal Language Dialogue and Listening Skills
  • Developing your Emotional Intelligence to better engage with your Team
  • Developing you Situational Leadership Capability to be able to respond appropriately in any situation
  • Developing your facilitation skills get the best from Team Diversity when Problem Solving
  • Designing, deploying and adhering to daily leader standard work processes


HOW do we do this?

1 leadership for improvement assess


  • Plan Assessment, Conduct the Assessment, Analyse the Results, Feedback and Develop Roadmap
  • Assessments can be micro-level to cover the entire business or macro-level focus in specific areas and levels of leadership

2 leadership for improvement train


  • Each chosen element has a 2-day classroom training session with the selected number of groups
  • Each session can facilitate 10-12 Participants

3 leadership for improvement coach


  • 1-2-1 coaching of individuals at the workplace over a twelve month period – 4 coaching sessions per visit
  • Each individual has 4 coaching session per year

4 leadership for improvement improve


  • 1-day Action learning-set sessions with groups to share experience take place once per quarter
  • ½ day Quarterly Program review meetings with the leadership Team to ensure objectives are on-track

Available Materials:

00 - Leadership for Improvement page 1
01 - Principled Thinking Behaviours & Systems page1
02 - Leader Standard Work page1
03 - Kata Coaching page1
04 - Skillful Dialogue page1
05 - Group Facilitation page1
06 - Situational Leadership page1
07 - Emotional Intelligence page1

70-20-10Our Approach to people development is based on 70-20-10

  • 10% Theory / Classroom training
  • 20% Experiential network sharing amongst delegates
  • 70% On-the-job observation and coaching

Participants will:

  • Increase their understanding of each of the core elements of the “Leadership for Improvement” Model
  • Consider what each element means in their own business context
  • Conduct a hi-level assessment of competence and need at the 3 levels of leadership
  • Create a leadership development roadmap to support Business needs

View our Leadership Training Courses

This is a leadership training table, highlighting our leadership courses for team leaders through to senior leaders.

This leadership training table shows our 9 module Leadership programme for Managers.

This table highlights the 10 actions required by Team Leaders with an overview of each one.

What 6 Sigma training do we offer?

  • A range of courses from basic awareness to Master Black Belt
  • Popular courses:
    • Lean to 6 Sigma conversion
      • For those strong in Lean but limited knowledge of 6 Sigma
  • Green Belt
  • Black Belt


  • People wanting to develop the technical skills to be able to lead an improvement team


  • Provide a rigorous improvement framework to solve problems and improve processes

How do we train?

  • All courses use 70:20:10 experiential learning model to turn theory into practical results
  • And are supported with online tools to provide the support each candidate needs to make the learning lasting
  • Lots of simulations, examples and support to help everyone deliver practical results from can be seen as a complicated subject

Lean Competency System

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The Lean Competency System is a lean qualifications framework for practitioners, employees and all those whose work involves continuous improvement.

Contact us

  • Read our terms & conditions
 Leadership Skills & Training

Leadership Skills & Training

Find out how we can support your Leadership & Continuous Improvement Programmes.

Systems Consulting

Systems Consulting

Supporting your organisation to achieve Enterprise Excellence.

Latest Resources

Latest Resources

S A Partners continues to invest in industry research to support our customers.

Events & Workshops

Events & Workshops

Supporting your learning Journey - delivering workshops and Shingo Prize guidance