The choice of project management as a first career is becoming increasingly common. This is a significant change because traditional project management was seen as a second career. This is a continuing trend as shown by the Arras People benchmark report. They asked project management practitioners asked if PPM is, in fact, their first career or their second. The results are fascinating; they show that while a majority of people still see project management as a second career. However as you can see below, it is more common for younger people to see project management as a first career.
The conclude that When the UK respondents are cut by age, as in figure below, we can see that the percentage of the population in a first career are certainly higher amongst those under the age of 42. As an overall number though, they are lower accounting for 43% of the respondents.
In the under 34’s we see a wider gap and the actual number is higher, accounting for 54% of the respondents, so maybe the career of first choice is taking traction?
This is the first time they have asked this question and it will be interesting to see how this changes over the next few years.
We can expect to see this trend accelerating as the APM has just launched the project management trailblazer apprenticeships. This sets a benchmark standard for all PM apprenticeships, including the knowledge to be developed, skills to leaned and the expected behaviours.
To respond to these changes Parallel Project Training and Interserve Learning and Employment have combined togeather to offer a structured project management apprenticeship. This is available as a 24-month programme for new starters and 18 months for those who have some prior experience. The programme consists of three main components, knowledge of the principles of project management, skills development workshops and then the practical application of the skills in the workplace.
Knowledge of the Principles of Project Management
Knowledge or project management is evaluated by a gateway exam taken within the first 12 months of the programme. This is done by the completion of the APM Project Management Qualification. This is a 3-hour written exam with 10 questions from a selection of 16 options. Training for this is provided using the Parallel Learning System which combined workshops, e-learning, podcasts and webinars with project management experts. Apprentices will be expected to complete monthly homework questions and a full mock exam before taking the final gateway exam.
Skills and Behaviours Development Workshops
In addition to theory apprentice learn how to use and apply the tools and techniques of project management at workshops. Based on a simulated project these workshops develop the practical skills of project management including stakeholder management, planning, budgeting, change control, reporting and managing risk.
Putting Theory into Practice
The final element of the apprenticeship programme is applying the skills developed in the workshops and theory parts of the course to a workplace project. This application is supported by an apprentice mentor but needs to support of the employer to give the apprentice access to a suitable project.
End Point Assessment
Once the apprentice has completed all these elements of the course they can then submit their portfolio for endpoint assessment, this is a paper review of what they have learned and also an interview where they have to show that they have met the standard set by the APM.