The winners of the first PM Challenge event of 2023, held by APM’s Wessex Branch, were announced recently, with a team of young professionals from BAE systems taking the top prize for their sustainability focused project.
The PM Challenge competition is run by APM branches around the UK, to support the learning and development of emerging project professionals who are becoming established in their careers. Participating teams put forward a proposal for a project that addresses a real-world challenge on the Wessex Branch competition’s theme of sustainability. They’re then mentored to help deliver it. This enables participants to gain hands-on experience of project delivery, as well as theoretical learning and network-building.
The winning team was Keen2BGreen from BAE Systems. Their project was to expand BAE’s existing school outreach to Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools and provide workshops on all aspects of sustainability.
Team member Beth Jones said: “We presented to small classes of between 8-15 students over a period of four hours, covering topics such as the environment, safety and people. We inspired this through a range of interactive activities such as planting to increase the biodiversity in the area and resource efficiency building towers from spaghetti and marshmallows.”
Fellow team member Digby Everett-Jordan said: “I enjoyed the challenge because it gave me the chance to actually make a tangible impact outside of my everyday work at an early point in my career.
“Being named the winners of the APM challenge is a great feeling and an achievement I’m extremely proud to share with the Keen2BGreen team.”
Other members of the team were Jake Symonds, Dominic Champken and Chanel Radford.
Chanel said: “I enjoyed having exposure to other areas of project management than I usually would in my work placement, as well as refining skills that I have already developed.”
Dominic commented: “I enjoyed being able to collaborate with other likeminded people to attempt a new experience such as working with children in schools which is something I likely wouldn't have done if not for the APM challenge.”
Jake added: “As a team we put in a lot of time and work into the project to ensure a successful delivery, this was then carried out when completing the reports and presentations. Overall I’m grateful to be named as the wining team and am thankful to the APM for the opportunity.”
Two teams were also named as runners-up: Team Triumph from BAE systems and Shaun the Sheeps from the University of Southampton.
David Corbin FAPM, Chair of APM’s Wessex Branch, said: “The judges were hugely impressed with the quality of the teams, both in terms of the actual projects being delivered and the project management skills being demonstrated. It’s clear that the teams benefited from the experience of delivering a real project, sticking to the deadlines and working together as a project team. For some, it was for the very first time and we could clearly see the improvement in each team as the challenge progressed.
“As a Branch, we have a proud history of running this event - as the originators of the PM Challenge over 10 years ago. It’s highly rewarding to see those in the early stages of their careers get involved and test themselves against their peers.”
David also expressed his thanks for the sponsor of the Wessex Branch PM Challenge, 20/20 Project Management Training, along with the event’s organising committee, judges and mentors.
Other APM branches will be running PM Challenges throughout the year, so watch this space for updates on future winners.