Congratulations to Bel French, an Infrastructure Project Manager at Gleeds, who has become the youngest person to achieve Chartered Project Professional (ChPP) status at the age of 22 (She has since turned 23).
Bel’s career journey started in 2017, when aged 18, having completed her A-levels, she began an NVQ Level 4 Associate Project Manager apprenticeship while working on infrastructure projects and programmes at Turner & Townsend, which she completed in early 2019. As part of this, she completed her APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ).
Bel explained: “I always enjoyed doing projects at school, and so when I found out about project management as a possible career path I got really excited. I applied to a number of project management apprenticeships, as I knew I didn’t want to go to university; that was just not something for me.”
Bel gained a wealth of experience while completing her apprenticeship, working on a rotation of different rail and infrastructure projects. She says she was fortunate to have a supportive team behind her and mentors who encouraged and supported her in her role. It was at this point that APM’s ChPP standard launched, and she set her sights on achieving it.
After focusing on gaining as much experience and technical knowledge as possible, along with the challenges of the global pandemic, Bel started planning her application for chartered status via Route 3 (where assessment of professional practice and of technical knowledge is completed via a written submission and interview). In September 2021, Bel joined the consultancy Gleeds – where she currently works – and started writing her application.
Explaining what inspired her to purse chartership, Bel said: “I wanted to prove my ability through work and experience and so when the opportunity for chartership came about, I knew it would be a fantastic way for me to do that and wanted to go for it!”
Having been successful in completing her written submission and final interview stage, Bel officially became a Chartered Project professional in May 2022.
Bel’s tips for chartered applicants:
“If you’re writing a written submission, make sure it’s clear and concise, while getting your key points across at the same time. It really helps to get someone else to read over it, especially someone who has done their chartership. I also found it useful to highlight the relevant competences I was providing evidence for, ensuring I was meeting all the relevant assessment criteria.”
“Do your interview practice and revision to ensure you can talk about your technical knowledge and experience in depth. I would encourage further reading and to practise your interview out loud so that you sound confident when talking about your experience and knowledge to the interviewers!”