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Posted by APM on 23rd Dec 2013

The accidental project manager is not a recent phenomenon. For years excellent engineers and other professionals have found themselves managing projects.

The pattern seems to be that those who excel in their fields are given a promotion and begin managing projects. Something, of course, that requires an entirely different set of skills. The danger? Poor results and unsuccessful projects.

Its the same principle that not all good footballers will make good managers you may be an excellent engineer but it doesnt guarantee youll enjoy the same success as a project manager.

Higher Apprenticeship in Project ManagementFor the Association for Project Management (APM), whose vision is to create a world in which all projects succeed, the need for equipped and experienced practitioners has never been greater.

To move toward this ambitious vision, APM has clear, defined goals, which include being at the heart of project, programme and portfolio management and to deliver qualifications, accreditation and a community of support, knowledge, experience and innovation.

Since the associations inception in 1972, these goals, and others, have been crucial in helping to grow and adapt the profession.

This trend has continued and was recently evident with the launch of a Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management, a collaborative development between APM and Skills CFA.

Vital skills

The scheme, which is equivalent to the first year of a degree, is creating new pathways into the project management profession, improving the management of projects and embedding vital project skills in organisations throughout England and Wales.

The first cohort of apprentices are now entering their second year, and the organisations that embraced the new scheme, which include British Airways, EC Harris and Rolls-Royce, are seeing results. So much so they have already enrolled new apprentices.

International defence, security and aerospace firm BAE Systems is one of many that has embraced the Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management since it launched last year.

BAE Systems has embedded the framework as part of its Project Control Foundation Scheme which takes five years to complete and includes on-the-job training coupled with studying for qualifications in project control and project management to degree level.

The firm says project management is the key discipline to ensure that it delivers its projects to time, budget and customers' expectations.

'Project managers of tomorrow'

Andrew Bloor, head of early careers at BAE Systems Military Air and Information, said: "To be an effective project manager takes time and requires experience. By recognising the importance of the role, we, working in conjunction with the Blackpool and The Fylde College and Lancaster University, are delivering the project managers of tomorrow.

Geoff Powell joined BAE Systems as part of the scheme in September 2012. He said: I'd definitely encourage my friends to join. They can't stop moaning about how much debt they're getting into at university.

The training is really good, after the first two years you get a Higher Apprenticeship, after three years you get a foundation degree, and then go on to get a Lancaster University honours degree at the end of the five years. It's just a great job and you're contributing to the future prosperity of the country.

If your organisation is interested in learning more about employing Apprentices please contact APM. Alternatively, for more information about the scheme please visit the Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management webpage.

This article was the foreward thatoriginally appeared in the Project Management' report published by Mediaplanet on Wednesday 23rd October 2013 in City A.M by Andrew Bragg, chief executive of Association for Project Management (APM).

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Back when I was a student apprenticeships were viewed as the "non-academic" option but times have changed and they can now lead to degree-level qualifications and higher accreditation, eventually, such as chartered status.

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