Projects deliver beneficial change in a world increasing in pace and complexity. With scarce resources and infinite opportunity, society demands greater effectiveness, competency, accountability and, increasingly, a zero tolerance of project failure.
With the right capability in initiation, sponsorship, governance and delivery, all projects can succeed in benefitting those whose lives they touch. A formal project management career structure will contribute greatly to achieving far greater project success.
The Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management has been designed to provide greater access to the provision of competent project professionals to the employment market. There remains huge scope for the development of education in the project management sector, which will be accelerated through the introduction of a higher apprenticeship in the discipline.
The existing marketplace for knowledge-based project management qualifications and training courses is highly developed. Whilst valuable in their own right, the knowledge gained through these qualifications is only part of what is required to manage projects effectively. The Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management provides an alternative to such courses and will help increase project success rates by:
- Providing structure;
- Developing greater competence earlier in people’s careers.
The Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management provides progression routes for those wishing to enter the project management profession or further their career in other disciplines using project management skills. As such, it provides a clear opportunity to increase competency and fill identified skills gaps. Skills gaps identified in the profession include stakeholder management skills, dealing with complexity, communication skills and technical competences such as project scheduling, risk management, earned value, planning and estimating.
Although it is difficult to accurately estimate the size of the project management workforce due to variations in how project management is classified across different industries, it is estimated that in 2011 there were 80,000 project professionals in the UK (Source: Arras People Project Management Benchmark report, 2011)
Project management is growing as a career of first choice. Traditionally, a significant number of people move into managing projects after several years’ work in different sectors and functions. The perception that project management is a mid-career choice means that access to talented and competent young project professionals remains limited. Many control functions within major projects can provide opportunities for younger professionals that can be developed into more senior project roles over time. The availability of higher apprenticeships will formally recognise the value of this, laying firm foundations for the next generation of competent project management professionals.
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