Inspiring the next generation of project management talent

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Over the last 25 years I’ve encountered one persistent challenge: How do we identify, recruit and develop talent in project management and control disciplines?
To say schools and universities aren’t producing “the right type” of skills and behaviours for the industry is looking in the wrong direction. We need to first look at ourselves as a profession. Why? Because as custodians of discipline knowledge, insight and foresight, we understand the profession’s needs and therefore the capabilities required in the project management professional of today and tomorrow.

In the current worldwide economic malaise we remain a pleasing anomaly with a positive outlook. There is an enduring need for project management talent. Despite the continued demand, the potential for excellent remuneration and the flexibility of location, a career in project management still seems to be slipping under the radar of ‘Generation Y’.
Further education, at present, is not designed to produce the required raft of intellectually astute project managers, controllers, planners and risk specialists.  The responsibility lies with us to help young talent recognise project management as a viable, positive choice for their immediate futures.

We need to promote the exciting projects they could be working on within a few short weeks of leaving school or university.

We must reach out to ensure our value is evident, our contribution understood and our profession an appealing and achievable choice.

To be effective, communication needs to be done during their inquisitive and opinion forming years within the school system.

So make a difference this month. Go back to school and sell the future of project management to Generation Y.


This article first appeared in Project magazine, November 2013


Posted by Martin O'Reilly 1 on 9th Jan 2014

About the Author
I am a consultant with Rhead Group. Over the last 20 years in PM and particularly the Defence sector I have developed a real respect for P3M, MSP, EVM and assurance of client’s programmes as value adding specialisms. Being in the world of PM has allowed me to work on some of the biggest and most complex programmes that are undertaken, such as aircraft carriers, submarines and missile systems along with the infrastructure to support them. My biggest buzz comes from establishing pragmatic control in complex programmes, especially where good practice is considered "too hard to do". Current client demand is driving towards the setting up of Portfolio Management Control Frameworks integrating these management methods to gain control from the top down and the bottom up, creating visibility in challenging portfolios, programmes and projects, resulting in confidence in data and decision making.

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