Operational Research Specialist

The Level 7 Operational Research Specialist Apprenticeship is currently being used to upskill current employees who work for HMRC and improve their ability to make strategic, tactical, and operational decisions at work.

Operational Research Specialists start by diagnosing and analysing a problem and end with recommendations for change and supporting implementation. Typically, Operational Research Specialists will structure complex non-routine problems and formulate specific research questions which they then evaluate and implement, interacting with a variety of stakeholders. 

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for understanding and resolving a complex non-routine problem to meet their clients’ requirements. The Operational Research Specialist has a high level of autonomy and accountability for their work. They are unlikely to have detailed subject matter expertise. 

An Operational Research Specialist will: 

  • Work with clients to understand problems and capture requirements 
  • Use formal and informal methods to understand the organisations’ systems and processes. 
  • Relate their understanding of a client problem and organisational context to a set of Operational Research problem archetypes and Operational Research methods. 
  • Conduct analysis using a range of Operational Research methods, adapting, and developing them to meet client needs whilst understanding limitations. 
  • Identify available data available to solve a problem and use it whilst maintaining data protection principles. 
  • Develop and implement methods to quality assure their work and others’ analyses. 

Benefits of the programme   

The University of Kent is a Top 50 university, offering impeccable teaching and industry-standard facilities across two diverse and vibrant campuses in Medway and Canterbury. Kent Business School, a thriving division of the University, prides itself on championing sustainable innovation through high-quality research and education impacting business and society. 

The focus of the apprenticeship to equip individuals with the skills and knowledge for specific job roles. At the Kent Business School, we have an experienced team of academic teaching staff who hold a wealth of expertise, allowing apprentices to thrive in the workplace while gaining a degree. 

Kent Business School is the sole supplier of the education component of this apprenticeship to HMRC. The Business School holds the ‘Triple Crown’ of accreditation from three major industry awarding bodies: EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB. 

Our Apprenticeship programme will: 

  • Will combine on-the-job training and off-the-job training to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and behaviours need to become competent in their job role 
  • Apprentices will spend 80% of their time learning in their current job role with the support of an Apprenticeships Advisor and their line manager.
  • Apprentices will spend 20% of their time studying towards their academic qualification with the triple accredited Kent Business School via blended learning. 


The apprenticeship is underpinned by Kent Business School’s MSc in Business Analytics. On successful completion of the end-point assessment, apprentices will hold an apprenticeship qualification and (subject to the work-based project report meeting requirements of a dissertation research project) an MSc Business Analytics degree.  

Duration and commitment   

The duration of the apprenticeship will be two and a half years, including the end-point assessment. This course is delivered online with two 2-day residentials across the two years. In addition to online learning and residentials, Apprentices are also expected to attend meetings with a dedicated Apprenticeship Advisor every 8-12 weeks.    

Entry requirements   

Apprentices enrolling on this programme are expected to have a good Honours Degree from the UK or an equivalent internationally recognised qualification. Consideration will be given for those applicants who hold relevant work experience in place of a formal First-Class Honours Degree.  Applicants also need to hold a GCSE in English and Maths at grade 4 (C grade) or equivalent.  


Year 1

 Apprentices take the following compulsory modules:   

Year 2

  Apprentices take the following compulsory modules:   

Year 3

In order to achieve the MSc in Business Analytics, the following module will need to be completed:

·     BUSN9860 Business Analytics Research Project*

*Please note that MSc in Business Analytics does not form part of the apprenticeship and will occur additional costs outside of the levy or co-investment funding. 

Fees and funding 

The cost of this course is £14,000 which can be covered by the apprenticeship levy or by government co-investment. In order to obtain an MSc in Business Analytics, there will be an additional top-up fee of £2,925 which cannot be paid from the levy or government co-investment. 

The standard for the Operational Research Specialist on the Institute for Apprenticeships website: www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/professional-economist-degree/  

Start Dates 


Next Steps

Employers and Employees

Our team are there to offer support with developing apprenticeships in your organisation, be it upskilling existing employees or recruiting for new roles.

Contact us by emailing recruitapprenticeships@kent.ac.uk or by calling 01634 888467 (9:30am - 4pm Monday to Friday).

Students and Prospective Apprentices

Apprenticeships are available to those already employed in a relevant position and require the support of an employer to take part. If you are not already employed in a relevant role, please visit our please visit our Becoming an Apprentice page.

The Level 7 Operational Research Specialist apprenticeship is underpinned by the MSc in Business Analytics: Business Analytics - MSc - Postgraduate courses - University of Kent

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