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APM accredited course at Cranfield used to upskill government project managers

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“Stand up and do not be afraid of challenging the government on project delivery.” This was the challenge from Tony Meggs, chief executive of the newly-created Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA), while he addressed the audience at the recent APM Conference held in London.

“To achieve success, change is necessary… And developing capability across government is needed,” he said.

“Building capacity and capability at the front end, where the work actually gets done, is our foremost duty,” Meggs concluded.

Illustrating this commitment to building capability is the Project Leadership Programme offered by Cranfield University, which has recently been accredited by the APM. 

It is aimed at people running complex projects in government. Sponsored initially by the Cabinet Office and now overseen by the IPA, the programme was launched in June 2015 and now has 270 project leaders enrolled from 21 different departments across government.

Professor Mike Bourne, director of the Cranfield Project Leadership Programme said, “APM’s accreditation of our Project Leadership Programme is absolutely essential to us at Cranfield and our delivery partners PA Consulting and The Project Academy. Our client, the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, was incredibly keen to have the programme accredited. We believe this accreditation and alignment with APM will help build the project profession and improve project delivery across government.”

The Head of professional standards and knowledge at APM, Gill Hancock, FAPM, commented, “APM is delighted that the IPA is focussing on building capacity and capability for those running complex projects in government and that the Project Leadership Programme has been accredited. The IPA’s keenness for the programme to be accredited and their encouragement of people to attend the course highlights their strong commitment to professionalism.”

The programme is delivered by Cranfield University School of Management, PA Consulting and The Project Academy. Participants spend seven days in Cranfield over a six month period, in face-to-face workshops, exploring the role of project leadership in government. Topics covered include mindful decision making, resilience, different styles and approaches to leadership and project-to-project learning. Participants also have to run a two-day project simulation and make a short video. Besides the face-to-face time, there are e-learning modules covering mindfulness, Theory of Change and project performance. In addition there are courses in London that focus on project finance, agile methodology and an innovation psychometric.

The whole programme is designed to embed learning in a real world environment. In addition to reflective assignments, participants are supported by external coaching delivered over a 12-month period. This involves before and after 360 reviews, combined with personal development plans. People who successfully complete this programme have the opportunity to progress towards becoming an APM Registered Project Professional and there is a follow up programme to assist people on this journey.

Cranfield School of Management is one of Europe’s leading university management schools renowned for its strong links with industry and business.  It is committed to providing practical management solutions through a range of activities including postgraduate degree programmes, management development, research and consultancy.


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