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We must hone our skills for the challenges ahead, starting with resilience

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Over the past few months, we have seen the profession rise above a challenging environment to continue delivering life-saving and critical projects. Some of these were even delivered in record time or in new, innovative ways.

Looking ahead to the second half of this year, while nothing is certain, it is expected many organisations that reduced their activity or output during the lockdown period will resume. Such restarts will require major change to enable new ways of working. We as a profession must be ready to adapt to that change, stepping up to the demands of industries and communities who have seen what we are capable of in recent months.

Of course, we must be equipped with a full complement of hard and soft skills to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, so that we can continually deliver successful projects. Our Golden Thread report, produced in partnership with PwC, shows that project activity contributes £156.5bn of Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy annually; about 8.9 per cent of total UK GVA. So it is in everyone’s interest for project professionals to have a first-class skillset.

While these figures highlight the economic importance of the project profession, they can also put pressure on practitioners’ shoulders. Our most recent survey of project professionals shows that 63 per cent say they have experienced stress as a result of their main project.

With that in mind, one of the skills both organisations and individuals will need to develop is resilience – defined in previous APM research as ‘how well a person can adapt to the events in their life’. This is particularly relevant during Mental Health Awareness Week, when we should all take the opportunity to reflect on the mental wellbeing of ourselves and others at a time when we are experiencing so many unprecedented events.

Understanding the importance of resilience is a crucial first step to developing this attribute and it is something we can all benefit from understanding for ourselves and our teams. I encourage you to take a look and learn more about resilience. If you feel this is already an area of strength for you, please share your insight with colleagues. Together, we can help each other be more prepared for whatever lies ahead.

APM is committed to helping project professionals in all aspects of their work, including personal wellbeing and mental health. Find out more by reading research reports and dedicated blogs on this topic.

Image: Allan Wood Photography/


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