Lean Systems (Professional Diploma) (Online Learning) (September 2021)

University of Limerick (22PDQMLSTDAD)
Key Programme Details


NFQ Level

Level 9 About NFQ

Delivery Method



Part Time

ECTS Credits



School of Engineering

General Information

Any queries please email: springboard@ul.ie






Graduate & Professional Studies
Enterprise Research Centre
University of Limerick
V94 T9PX

Important Dates
Application Deadline


Start Date


End Date


About this Course

Applications will open Wednesday 16th June 2021.

Since 2006 this Lean Black Belt course, has been developing participants' Lean productivity and process improvement skills in a real and practical way for industry.

For all participants a company-based project is a key element of the programme, ensuring the integration of the various concepts covered in the taught element in a real world setting. The onus is on Springboard+ participants to find a company placement to undertake their project, assistance will be provided by the Springboard+ coordinator if required. The taught content is designed to support the project implementation and the project begins on the first day of the course. The programme provides learning opportunities for participants to apply Lean tools and techniques within an organisation. This develops their skills and confidence in the application of Lean, and serves as a case study of their skills. In addition the output of the programme/project should involve a significant benefit to the company.

The Lean Systems Specialist Diploma is a distance education course. Participants would normally attend face-to-face sessions on three Saturdays a semester and engage in distance education and online learning throughout the programme.

Normally participants attend face-to-face sessions on three Saturdays a semester and engage in distance education and online learning throughout the programme.

However, in line with the Universities strategy on dealing with the ever evolving COVID19 situation, this will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and may be delivered in a part-time blended format for Semester 1.

For updates on the impact of COVID19 on delivery please consult this section of the University of Limerick website:

Please note we will need to correspond with you by email throughout the application process. For this reason, we ask that you regularly check your email and spam folders.


When students have finished this course they will be able to:
1. Demonstrate the skills necessary to plan, implement, monitor and control Lean activities at both operational and strategic levels in an organisational setting.
2. Explain the business process improvement methods and implementation tools of Lean.
3. Present a professional Lean plan to peers with the potential to eliminate waste and/or add value to a process within their chosen project organisation or field

Entry Requirements

Applicants are normally expected to hold an NFQ level 8 primary honours degree (minimum H2.2), or equivalent and have at least 5 years of relevant workplace experience.

Applicants may be required to undertake a short process improvement assignment to satisfy the course admission team that they have the motivation and ability to complete and benefit from this course.

Alternative Entry Route
Candidates who do not meet the minimum entry criteria can be evaluated under the UL RPL policy and in addition may be interviewed to ascertain their suitability for the programme.

Long Description

The demand for Lean skillsets is a national one. The Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) Board 2025 Report stated that Lean initiatives are needed to enhance the productivity and innovative capacity across enterprise, in addition to improving efficiencies and reducing waste, the pervasive nature and end-to-end business implications of lean principles need to be realised to fundamentally change the culture and ways of working to harness people’s creativity and problem solving capabilities.

In the increasingly competitive environment of Industry 4.0, Lean provides a management philosophy that eliminates wastes and inefficiencies allowing companies to work smarter rather than harder. This focus on “smart working” not “hard working” will help to balance evolving company need with evolving company needs where diversity and work-life balance become sources of competitive advantage.


AU5041 LEAN THINKING / LEAN TOOLS 1: Lean tools and applications in company context
AU5033 LEADERSHIP & CHANGE MANAGEMENT: Implementing lean and supporting change activity
AU5042 LEAN THINKING / LEAN TOOLS 2: Lean implementation tools and techniques in context
AU5092 LEAN SYSTEMS PROJECT: Application Project applying learning in real life setting
CA4003 Career Development: An optional module for those students who wish to pursue this professional development workshop. Which prepare learners with CV and career coaching, develop a LinkedIn/online presence, physical presentation and interviews skills.

Timetable Info

Approx. 6 contact hours (face to face or online depending on government guidelines) per week. This is a part time course. You can keep up to date with the Universities plans for what semester 1 delivery will be here: https://www.ul.ie/covid/

Delivery Notes


RPL Information

The University of Limerick operates a policy for the Recognition of Prior Learning, both formal and informal/experiential learning. Informal and experiential learning includes non-accredited personal and professional education; work based training and relevant life/work experiences. This learning is assessed initially for entry on to particular courses of study but may additionally lead to academic credits and exemptions from subjects on the intended course of study. Applications for RPL are dealt with on an individual basis, facilitated by representatives from the relevant academic departments and Registrar's office at the University of Limerick. RPL for Springboard+ 2021 will be managed by Graduate and Professional Studies as part of the application process. Graduate & Professional Studies provides support and assistance to guide the learner through their RPL application and in compiling their portfolio. The process is student centric, with consideration made on a case-by-case basis, through submitted documentation and communication with the application team and course director. The operation of the RPL policy has been applied successfully to previous cohorts. Academic and professional qualifications, work and life experience are important considerations in assessment, but motivation and overall potential for the selected course has been a major factor in evaluating applicants.

Application Procedures


Step 1 is to submit your application on the Springboard+ website, you will then be sent a link via email to apply to the University of Limerick (UL) directly (this will be step 2). You must provide all documents requested on this email which must be uploaded with your application on the UL site. It is only when we receive ALL requested documents that your application is considered complete.

Note : It may take a few days after your application is updated to 'Pending' on the Springboard+ website for us to send you the link to apply to UL (step 2).

Please note we will need to correspond with you by email throughout the application process. For this reason, we ask that you regularly check your email and spam folders.

Required Documents for UL application:

Delays in receiving these documents will affect the progress of your application.
- Photo or Scanned original copy of your transcripts for all years of study. (Graduates of UL need only provide us with their Student ID number.)
- Photo or Scanned copy of passport to verify ID and full legal name.
- A copy of your most recent CV, please note that by providing this document you are agreeing that we may send it to members of industry if you require assistance when searching for an Industry Learning Placement (ILE) or project work (applies to some courses only).
- Proof of Status, e.g. unemployed, employed, self-employed, returners. Acceptable documents are outlined in 'Acceptable Documents for Proof of Status' section.
- Applicants who do not have English as their first language may satisfy English Language
• If your qualifications have been obtained in a country where English is an official language this will suffice
If this is not available, the following additional documents must be provided:
• English translation of your qualification(s)/transcripts
• English language competency certificate

All employed participants must pay a contribution of the course cost directly to the provider for all level 7-9 courses. Please note some formerly self-employed applicants not in receipt on DEASP payment are liable for 10% fees also. The onus is on the participant to arrange payment of this fee. The HEA will fund the remainder of the cost directly to the provider. Please note some formerly self-employed applicants not in receipt on DEASP payment are liable for 10% fees also.

Employed and formerly self-employed (outlined above) participants will be required to make a 10% course contribution of €500 directly to the University of Limerick.

Springboard+ will pay all fees for unemployed and returner participants.

Course Acceptance
Should an offer be made, in order to accept a course offer employed participants must pay a non-refundable acceptance fee of €250 to the University of Limerick. This €250 will be deducted from the contribution of €500 as outlined above. The full fees of €500 are due in two equal instalments which is €250 per installment. Once the €250 acceptance has been paid that covers semester 1 fees. The remaining €250 is due by 21st January 2022.

In order to avail of Springboard+ funding you must provide written proof as outlined below:

Written proof from the Department of Employment and Social Protection (DEASP) that you are in receipt of an eligible payment (see Springboard+ site).

Swear a declaration before a Commissioner for Oaths attesting to your status and provide written proof.

Employed/Self Employed
Provide a copy of most recent P60 or other relevant revenue documentation or a letter from their current employer to confirm employment or self-employment.

Formerly Self-Employed
Provide a letter/statement from Revenue stating that the applicant is no longer trading or a similar letter from the applicants (former) accountant should be sufficient. Swear a declaration, witnessed by a Commissioner of Oaths, stating that the applicant is no longer self-employed.

NOTE: If your employment status changes during the application process it is your responsibility to inform a Springboard+ coordinator at UL and to provide proof of new status.

To be eligible for Springboard+ funding applicants must be resident in the state.

Please note you may be required to verify your Nationality and Residency status.

For Returners and Employed/Self-Employed applicants, the following rules apply :
- must be ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to the programme.
** Note: The period of residency for holders of Stamp 4 or Stamp 4 EU FAM is calculated from the date of receipt of the Stamp 4.
Any period of residency in the state before this date will not be taken into consideration ( ie you must hold Stamp 4 for three of the five years preceding)