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Project Professionals: Ready for the Future?

South Wales and West of England branch conference 2023
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Project Professionals: Ready for the Future?

PA Consulting logoSouth Wales and West of England Branch Conference - 18 October 2023

With thanks to our headline sponsor

The APM South Wales and West of England Branch continued their face-to-face Branch Conference series with a full day event in October.

In 2023, we as project professionals face a world of increasing uncertainty, with political and market conflicts, the continued impacts of COVID-19, and the climate crisis influencing the world we operate in. At the same time, domestic and international sustainability goals, diversity and inclusion targets and new, collaborative technologies are guiding us to build a better future. As a community, how can we ensure we’re ready?

Date: 18 October 2023
Time: 09:00-16:30
Venue: University of the West of England, Bristol

Speakers and programme

Registration and refreshments
Welcome and housekeeping
Opening Keynote
Adrian Randall, Senior Responsible Owner (SRO): Joint Crypt-Key Programme / Head MOD Cryptographic Enterprise

Adapt & Overcome: Mastering the Present Future
The challenges posed by the world of now and next are, overall, broadly consistent across the private and public sectors - the post covid hangover, achieving net zero, fiercely competitive resource marketplace, and the threat or opportunity of Artificial Intelligence (it’s both). To name a few. We will be name checking and exploring more shared challenges throughout the day.

Leading your team through AI disruption
James Lewis, Head of Learning and Development, MI-GSO|PCUBED

Organisations are increasingly concerned by the likely disruption that is imminent from AI and other digital technologies. They require support in understanding the nature of this disruption, its impact to their organisation and what business change processes we should be putting into place. Surveys suggest that the key concern is how our people will cope with what is likely to be the biggest change of their careers. Already there is change fatigue, how can we help them through the most significant and disruptive change journey so far. The presentation will talk about the generic challenges leaders and project managers face in giving each individual a positive change journey. More specifically it will focus techniques for leading teams through times of innovation. It will look at how you might specifically seek to minimise the intimidation factor of technological change such as AI by understanding what each of your people need in order to feel more comfortable.
Coffee break
Climate change – how project managers can make a difference
Leigh Woodcock, Lead Project Manager, EDF NNB GenCo (Hinkley Point C)

The UK greenhouse gas emissions target is net zero by 2050. Hinkley Point C (HPC) and the shift towards new nuclear is one of the most significant means to achieve that goal due to low carbon electricity produced by nuclear power. Big projects such as HPC will clearly assist the UK to reach this target, however more localised changes are also needed and who better to champion these changes than Project Managers. Projects of all sizes are all about change to BAU which is exactly what is needed in the fight against climate change. This presentation will provide advice to Project Managers on what we can do to effect change and meet environmental legislation without breaking the budget.
Soft Skills for the Future
Marion Thomas, Director, ExtraordinaryPM

This session explores the soft skills that enable project and programme managers to be effective in their leadership. Marion will lead a discussion on the non-technical skills that differentiate the great project managers.

Lunch and networking

Projecting for the Future focus group

Projecting for the Future: Harmonising Energy and Environment – this lunchtime focus group, in association with Alliance Manchester Business School, will focus on the challenges the project profession will face in delivering net zero, and how our members are working to deliver it. You can sign up via your conference booking and we'll be taking on the day signups during the breaks. Spaces are limited, so please join us if you can help. 

AIPP 2.0: Artificially Intelligent Project Professional
James Doherty, Management Consultant, BMT

The presentation will discuss the latest developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and their impact on Project, Program, and Portfolio Management (P3M). This is a continuation of a previous presentation given to the SWWE BCAG in May. The focus will be on the advancements in AI, particularly models like GPT-4, and their application in project management. The presentation will revisit the threats and ethical considerations of integrating AI and discuss potential solutions; This will lead into the importance of continuous learning and adaptation in the context of AI. Attendees will gain insights into how AI is changing the project profession and its role in improving decision-making, automating tasks, and enhancing ways of working.
Panel session - Ready for the Future?
Panel facilitator: Julian Wotton, Programme Director, Arcadis

Panellists: Philip Brown, Generative AI and Data Lead for PgM, Arcadis
Dr David Jones, Complex Programme Delivery, PA Consulting
James Doherty, BMT
Marion Thomas, ExtraordinaryPM
Edwin Simpson, University of Bristol
Closing Keynote - Defence Nuclear Enterprise strategy for the growing capability challenge 
Julie Morris OBE, Defence Nuclear Enterprise (DNE) Skills Programme - Senior Responsible Owner, Defence Nuclear Enterprise

This session will provide an overview of how the Defence Nuclear Enterprise will lead the Skills Transformation Programme, to ensure that we have the people we need, with the right skills, to support the Continuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD), now and in the future.   This challenge is significant, Julie will demonstrate how the Defence sector has commenced an ambitious programme, strong engagement and a close working relationship between civil and Defence for the future of skills in our industry – not just nuclear, but all supporting roles.
Closing comments

Professor Adam Boddison OBE, APM Chief Executive Officer

Drinks reception opening
Drinks reception kindly sponsored by Arcadis

*Programme subject to change

With thanks to our headline sponsor

PA Consulting

We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future. 

As strategies, technologies and innovation collide, we create opportunity from complexity.

Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking and breakthrough use of technologies to progress further, faster. Our clients adapt and transform, and together we achieve enduring results.

An innovation and transformation consultancy, we are over 4000 specialists in consumer and manufacturing, defence and security, energy and utilities, financial services, government and public services, health and life sciences, and transport. Our people are strategists, innovators, designers, consultants, digital experts, scientists, engineers and technologists. 

We operate globally from offices across the UK, US, Netherlands and Nordics.

Discover more at and connect with PA on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Bringing Ingenuity to Life.

Careers | PA Consulting 

Deliver complex programmes | PA Consulting.

With thanks to our drinks reception sponsor 

Arcadis logoArcadis

Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people, active in over 70 countries that generate €3.3 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world. 

Arcadis is proud to be a part of this particular APM event for following reasons:

1 – Arcadis is involved with many of the major South West programs of work covered by the 3 offices in the area in Bristol, Exeter and Cardiff.

2 – Arcadis is excited to be part of the conference considering our readiness for the future as professionals.

Visit website

ExtraordinaryPMExtraordinaryPM logo

ExtraordinaryPM is a group of highly experienced project managers, leadership specialists, and certified coaches who provide leadership programmes tailored for project people.

For over 5 years we have been running training and group mentoring programmes that put people and leadership at the heart of project management.

Accredited to confer 35 CPD points, our ExtraordinaryPM Mastery Programme works hand-in-glove with more technical project management tools. We use tangible, real-world examples to show you how to harness a tool kit of highly effective management and leadership techniques that can be applied to project delivery for greater success.  

ExtraordinaryPM offers you a journey of personal growth, development and empowerment delivered through a series of fully immersive courses and interactive programmes. Our Mastery Programme is based on a robust, proven framework with real life scenarios, in-depth learning, and mentoring to support you putting your learning into practice straight away.

We also offer group mentoring for Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) candidates and support both drafting of the written submission and preparation for the interview.

Visit website


MIGSO-PCUBED (MP) is a global project management consultancy providing services including Portfolio Management, Programme Leadership, Project Controls, and Managing Change. MP is the trusted delivery partner for some of the most recognisable brands in the Aerospace & Defense, Automotive, Financial Services & Technology, Public Sector, and Energy sectors, helping them to convert their big ideas into reality. MIGSO-PCUBED won APM’s ‘Project Management Consultancy of the Year’ in 2017 and were the first organisation to defend the title and won the same award in 2018.

MPs Commitment to Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
We continue to strive to shape and promote a culture where everyone is valued; where inclusiveness is a reflex, not an initiative and where EDI underpins our values and everything we do. With passion and drive, we continue to unfold the complexities of the EDI agenda, raising awareness across the workforce, creating a safe space for open dialogue and enabling everybody to play their part.

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APM South Wales and West of England Branch

The branch offers a wide range of events including an annual dinner, a one-day conference, evening events and site visits. We encourage networking between members at all events.

We recognise the different needs of our members who are new to the profession and offer introductory as well as advanced level events.

South Wales and West of England Branch
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