Encouraging the next generation of Project Managers is an absolute must for all industries as the world we now inhabit is in a constant state of change, it seems everyday something new is on the horizon. Project Managers are required to deliver successful change across all industries. The demand for project managers has never been higher, and as a result more and more young people are considering a career in Project Management. Now with chartered recognition through the APM there is a structured and robust career path for people entering the exciting world of Project Management.
The Midlands Branch Committee of APM understands the importance of encouraging and recognising future talent in our industry building upon the APM strategy and national initiatives. The branch Young Project Manager of the Year Award, now in its third year is both a recognition and celebration of young project management talent. This award proves an excellent opportunity for Corporate Partners and Affiliates to network and gain wider recognition for their organisation in addition to showcase young talent. The judges were again impressed by the standard of this year’s submissions, the entry process closely mirrors the National awards with the addition of a video element. Indeed, the judges would not be surprised to see some of this year’s entries in the national awards.
The prestigious 2018 awards event was held on 23rd January 2019 at the Institution of Engineering & Technology (IET), in Birmingham. This year’s awards event saw a change to the usual format with an increased scope of activity. The branch elected to operate the event as a formal CPD event and allow individual members of the APM to attend in addition to corporate partners. The event provided networking opportunities with local project professionals, an opportunity to top up CPD ready for Chartered Status and a chance to chat with the finalists and the APM leaders.
David Munslow, Corporate Sub-Committee Chair, welcomed all the attendees and introduced the well-attended event running through the agenda for the evening. David commented on the high standard of submissions this year and congratulated all the finalists on being shortlisted. Following the welcome from the APM Midlands Branch, we were treated to an inspiring presentation on “Managing Virtual Project Teams” by Sorrel Gilbert, APM Board Member.
This was then followed by a first for the awards event with an interactive panel discussion on “Stakeholder Engagement in the Digital Age and Managing Upwards: Managing Senior Stakeholders”. We were fortunate to have such a knowledgeable panel in Debbie Dore – Chief Executive, Association for Project Management, Rob Campling – Head of Civil Programme Management, Rolls-Royce plc, Veronica Watson – Head of Global Portfolio & PLM, Global Brands Division, Walgreens Boots Alliance and John Williams – Managing Director, ProjExc PM Consulting. The branch would like to thank our panellists for their time and contribution in making this event successful. This session was incredibly interactive and without doubt the questions could have easily gone on for a double or triple the allocated time. Questions were posed from our finalists and from the audience in general, this was a great success and will likely become a regular part of future events. Feedback following the event was very positive with this new addition to the agenda, and mirrors the format for the Branch Corporate Advisory Group events.
Everyone had worked up a healthy appetite during the panel discussion which thankfully was followed by a buffet style dinner and drinks which gave an opportunity for all attendees to network with other senior local project professionals, Midlands APM Corporate Partners and Affiliates, and of course the finalists. This networking opportunity gave a chance to chat with APM leaders and the Midlands committee and influence what we do to support our corporate members and their organisations. If anyone wants to get more involved and help shape future events within Midlands Branch committee we would be delighted.
Following dinner the attendees were treated to a very inspiring key note presentation from APM Chief Executive Debbie Dore who spoke passionately on the “Unique Challenges for the Young PM”. Many of the attendees, from finalists, to students and young members and harden professionals alike took a lot from the hints and strategies that Debbie talked about.
Following Debbie, was Sam Higgins of Rolls Royce who was the winner of the Midlands Branch Young Project Manager of the Year Award 2017. Sam briefly talked about the event from last year and how it felt to win the award.
Sam told our finalists about the impact of winning the award has had on his career within Rolls Royce. Sam described the experience by saying the awards event gave him the platform to showcase some of his achievements and really helped to propel his career into a new direction. Winning the award and having it on his CV shows that his work and efforts have been recognised by an external body – and when that external body is the APM, and you work in Project Management in the UK, there’s not a lot else that needs to be said on the value of that. That ability to expose and promote young professionals, in any industry, is difficult, which makes events like this that much more important. The positive impact it has had on his career Sam described as “priceless, helping me to a number of promotions and massively broadening my reach and experience within Project Management.”
Needless to say Sam was very positive about the whole event and the recognition this opportunity has given him within his career, as a final comment he said “Don’t underestimate the power of promoting and exposing young professionals!” It was great to have the insight from a previous winner and was well received with our 2018 finalists and I am sure it has inspired future young PM’s to submit entries into both the Midlands Corporate Members YPM and the national awards alike. Tensions were then running high to see who would be awarded the Midlands Corporate Members 2019 Young Project Managers of year and take over the crown from Sam. Prior to the awards ceremony and the long awaited result, Sam introduced each of the finalists who gave a short presentation on their projects.
The standards of this year’s awards were again very high, making the task of judging the entries for the panel a tough one. The judges were reassured if this is the standard of the next generation of project managers then future change and transformation is in very good hands.
Following the presentations the award winners were announced by David Munslow, Corporate Sub-Committee Chair and presented by Debbie Dore, APM Chief Executive. The runner up award went to Harry Osborne of QinetiQ. As the suspense in the room was growing, it was left to announce the winner, the Midlands branch Young Project Manager of the Year 2018 was awarded to Sophie Laverick of XPO Logistics.
Sophie’s project “Tamworth Transition Project”, saw Sophie lead and successfully deliver the transition of responsibility for operating a Sainsbury’s distribution centre from the outgoing service provider to XPO Logistics. The intense 8 week timeline required a robust but fitting level of governance to ensure: speed of decision-making, effective management of competing stakeholder interests, and clear communication lines between a wide range of work streams such as HR, IT, QHSE, property and procurement. The transition went smoothly with no impact to operational service and received excellent feedback from the customer. Sophie was absolutely delighted to win and went away with a trophy and package of benefits including two years free membership of the APM, a copy of the APM Body of Knowledge 6th Edition and £50 of Amazon vouchers. Sophie was well supported with members from the XPO Logistics Retail Project Team, where Sophie is a key member. Sophie said of the awards “It was a huge honour to have been recognised in this way by the APM Midlands branch! I’m also incredibly proud to have been able to represent XPO Logistics; showcasing just one example of the many on going projects across our company that keep the supply chain wheels turning for countless household retail brands. On the evening itself I particularly enjoyed both the presentation from APM Chief Executive Debbie Dore on the challenges that young PMs face, and the interactive panel discussion which was a fun way to share learnings from the expertise in the room. I was blown away by the scale and complexity of the other finalists’ projects and would very much like to congratulate them on their achievements. Finally, a big thank you must go to the XPO Retail BU project team and the Tamworth operations team for their guidance and encouragement – I recognise how incredibly lucky I am to be able to work alongside such a talented and inspiring bunch.” Sophie will be back next year to hand over the crown to the APM Midlands Branch Young Project Manager of the Year 2019 …who will it be?
Continuing the theme of young talent for the Branch the APM Midlands Branch also awarded the Student Group of the Year 2019. MBA Project Management students Aliasgar Bootwala, Muhammed Afsal, Daniela Lopes and Ayesha Talat of University of Bedfordshire were named Student Group of the Year. The students who had to plan a project from a mandate through to producing a project brief and project plan. Ayesha said: “I feel very grateful to have won this award, an achievement that can showcase how effective team effort and dedication to work hard can get you very far. I would like to thank our lecturers who supported us throughout – we couldn't have done this without them.” Aliasgar said: “I am thrilled and proud to achieve such a feat and to be recognised from an external institution. I was lucky to have had a great team of fellow students to work with and inspiring tutors.” Mohammed added: “We are so happy that we won and it is all because of the tutor support which made it happen; I really appreciate that.” The whole event was an absolute success and the stars of the event without doubt were the finalists and winners, who all shone brightly that evening.
All of this year’s events photos were taken by attendees to the event and shared on Twitter using the #MidlandsYPM this proved to be very popular with many attendees tweeting throughout the event. If you would like any of the images then search on #MidlandsYPM and download any of the photos.