Costain and EC Harris lead the way in advancing project management professionalism

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Dayner Proudfoot is PR and Marketing Manager at the Association for Project Management (APM), the largest professional body of its kind in Europe. Dayner has over 8 years of marketing experience and is responsible for the external communications of APM.

Costain RPP cohort
Costain RPP cohort

Two of the country’s leading names in construction and engineering, Costain and EC Harris, have extended their commitment to raising standards in project management professionalism by supporting 27 of their leading project professionals in achieving the Association for Project Management’s Registered Project Professional (RPP) standard.

Both organisations will be putting through selected employees to achieve the prestigious pan-sector standard that assesses individuals against elements of professionalism (APM 5 Dimensions of Professionalism) similar to those used by the traditional professions. Having key staff from across their businesses achieve the “gold standard” for project professionals will enhance their status and recognition while raising the standards in project delivery.

Costain is sponsoring a cohort of 17 people (pictured) to attain RPP which, in conjunction with their APM accredited Project Management Academy, aims to meet customer demands for project competence while addressing the need for succession planning in the project management community.

Jeremy Galpin, Costain’s training and talent manager said: “In line with our strategy to meet our customers’ needs, the Costain academy has been instrumental in up-skilling our managers to demonstrate competence and deliver complete solutions. Our customers are increasingly demanding the whole of project capability and it’s very likely that the RPP designation will become a prerequisite for further advancement and winning more work in the future.”

Costain believe that having a project manager with RPP means the customer can be confident the individual has been externally assessed as competent and is dedicated to their own continuing development. Shafali Shown-Keen, who joined Costain in 2008, believes that achieving RPP is the next logical step in her career.

“The APM’s RPP lifts project management to the highest level. It will give me a competitive advantage and prove that I am a responsible leader with the ability to manage a complex project. It also complements our ability to offer complete solutions across the Group,” said Shafali.

Many of Costain’s customers, like BAA, Network Rail and Crossrail, already recognise RPP as an industry benchmark that has raised the standard for project management, as a profession, to the highest level. Vicknayson Thevendran, a project manager on the Royal Oak Portal project for Crossrail in West London believes that RPP gives customers the confidence that a person has the necessary competence to manage large complex multi-faceted projects, from inception right through to completion.

Vick added: “RPP provides clients and employers with confidence that the person with RPP experience has the necessary competencies to manage the project and to get the job done.”

APM Registered Project Professional (RPP)
APM Registered Project Professional (RPP)

Ten senior project managers within EC Harris have been nominated as the first group of RPP candidates from the international built asset consultancy with a target of October to submit their portfolios. Candidates are nominated by their head of service only if they meet strict criteria linked to their role, experience and performance. Following the first batch EC Harris will nominate further employees for the future, which is likely to be early 2012.

By adopting APM competences as the foundation for personal development across the programme and project management discipline EC Harris will support the establishment of a professional development route across their Service Line. This includes individual assessment against APM competences, learning and training support towards the APMP qualification and recognition of experienced project managers via the APM Registered Project Professional standard.

Keith Andrews, partner at EC Harris, said: “We believe that RPP has the potential to become the benchmark for the profession and are keen to follow up our input into the standard design, working groups and pilot, with promoting its adoption at an early stage.”

EC Harris, who achieved APM Corporate Accreditation in 2010, is keen to promote RPP in order to achieve a recognisable industry designation for their people, provide development in the self analysis required for completion, develop a service differentiator for winning new work and demonstrate how they are actively working to lead development of the PM profession.

Keith added: “EC Harris is pleased to be working closely with APM in the design and delivery of the RPP designation, as a means of raising standards and recognition of the project management profession. We intend to increasingly integrate the RPP standard within our own internal accreditation system.”

Furthermore EC Harris has agreed in principle with the APM to pilot the use of technology to encourage EC Harris programme and project managers around the globe to participate in the process to achieve the RPP designation.

Commenting on the news, Andrew Bragg, APM’s chief executive, said: “The extensive profession-wide consultation which underpinned the development of APM Registered Project Professional (RPP) makes us confident that it represents the new gold standard for assessing project management competence. RPP recognises excellence in project management so I am particularly proud that leading organisations of EC Harris and Costain’s stature are placing our pan-sector standard at the heart of its project management activity”.

Candidates looking to gain admittance to the APM Register of Project Professionals need to be able to demonstrate the capabilities of a responsible leader, have the ability to manage a complex project and use appropriate tools, processes and techniques.

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