The Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered body for the project profession, has announced that it is working with the major projects profession team at ITS (UK) Executive Member Highways England to introduce a scheme for developing its talented project professionals that – once completed – will give early professional recognition and membership of APM.
To make this happen, Highways England is introducing two new certificates for emerging project professionals which will align with APM’s frameworks and standards. Highways England has defined these as Foundation Project Professional and Practising Project Professional. These certificates are effectively the stepping stones to provide a clear ‘line-of-sight’ from the beginning of their careers, through to chartered status if they choose to pursue it.
The Foundation Project Professional certificate, as the first step, is awarded for supporting project delivery and embedding learning from the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification (APM PFQ). To achieve this evidence is submitted against six APM competencies – covering technical and behavioural disciplines at level 2 of the APM competence rating scale.
The more challenging Project Professional certificate is awarded for taking ownership of delivery tasks within a project team by providing evidence against eight APM competencies covering technical and behavioural skills across level 2 and 3 of the APM competence rating scale, with 12 months of continued professional development (CPD) activity. Highways England has made the commitment to award Associate Membership of APM with the practicing professional, giving staff access to additional APM professional development resources and networks.
The Highways England team is promoting these steps to drive a professional development culture through their project delivery community, make it achievable for talented and emerging professionals to target their CPD and career pathway, learn from the wider professional community through APM associate membership to achieve Full Member status within the APM (MAPM) and on through to Chartership earlier in their career.
“Project professionals are vital to our success,” said Peter Mumford, major projects executive director at Highways England. “As indicated in The Golden Thread, Association of Project Management’s latest research paper, project professionals generate over £165 billion of gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy every year. That’s £43 billion more than the entire construction sector.”
He continued: “We want to attract the best new talent and enable our project professionals to reach their full potential – and that’s why we’re working with APM. Developing recognised project professionals through independent assessment will give our people the support they need to build their experience and meet their career ambitions. Not only will it endorse the progress they are making, but it will provide us with the governance, organisation and controls to deliver our schemes effectively and assure our customers that we’re delivering safely and making the most from every pound we invest. With that in mind, I’m going to lead by example and have set myself the target of achieving APM certification this year!”
Speaking about what this means for him, for early talent and for the company, apprentice project manager at Highways England, Owen Adams said: “This news gives me real confidence that I made the right decision to join Highways England as a project management apprentice. I know where I want to get to and I can build my pathway there, right up to Chartered.”
Chief executive at APM Debbie Dore welcomed Highways England’s commitment to the profession: “Raising the profile of project professionals and the roles they play is pushing the industry forward and encouraging innovation across delivery.
By mapping its career paths to the professional qualifications and chartership offered by APM, Highways England will give its employees a great opportunity to develop their career aligned to professionally recognised standards.”