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Projects deliver meaningful change at young offenders’ institution

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Association for Project Management’s Scotland Branch partnered with Heriot-Watt University to deliver a unique outreach workshop at His Majesty's Young Offenders Institution (HMYOI) Polmont, Scotland.

The branch held an interactive workshop with a group of young people within Scottish Prison Service (SPS) care. The group learned about the project profession and the workshop gave participants the opportunity to have hands-on experience of projects and project management.

The workshop began with an introduction to APM followed by an activity led by Branch Chair, Dr Amos Haniff. The group was split into teams of five. Each team competed for a contract to design the next ‘must have’ toy on behalf of a fictitious APM Corporate Member. The brief for each team was to design and build a working, ride-on child’s car and a bridge for the car to ride over safely. For added project complexity, the bridge was to span a ‘river’.

Participants working on their project

To achieve the task, each team was provided with a full set of components, supplied by Heriot-Watt University. These included various sized panels, wheels, plastic pipes and fixings. Most importantly, each team was assigned an APM volunteer mentor who provided support and guidance for a successful delivery of the project objectives. The winning car was judged on its safety, fitness-for-purpose and aesthetic criteria. The best team was awarded a prize and all participants received stationery from APM.

Participants working on their project

During the wrap-up workshop led by APM volunteer Adam Quin, participants were asked to reflect on the exercise; all commented on the absolute focus and application to the task displayed throughout the duration of the challenge. The atmosphere was energetic and enjoyable with a lot of humour between the teams. The workshop was visited by various members of HMYOI Polmont staff, including the establishment’s Deputy Governor.

There was also an opportunity for the young people to network. During the lunchbreak they were able to ask questions to APM volunteers Adam Quin, Amos Haniff, Shirley Conway, Erin Slater, Louise Benwell and David Fogarty. They also discussed career opportunities in project management.

APM volunteers were also given a tour of the site. They had the opportunity to visit some of the workshops and meet the dedicated staff who provide support for young people there. APM’s Scotland Branch is considering how they can provide Project Management Qualification training and further support to people in custody to aid their reintegration back into the community.  

Following the success of the event, the Scotland Branch will continue to partner with Heriot-Watt University to provide future workshops at other institutes and schools.

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