A lot of project management training is done over three or five days in a classroom with 15-20 others. Having restrictions on time can be a problem as it doesn’t give students the opportunity to get the most out of their training by allowing for questions.
“Training should be at the pace of the slowest person but it doesn’t always work out that way, especially when you have a short space of time to cram in all of that information,” says Rowe. “Doing it through flexible learning, students have people on hand through support networks, whether it’s telephone support, email support or live chat and you’re not fighting with 20 other students in the class for the tutor’s attention.”
The role of recruitment in education
Aspiring project managers also need to consider what recruiters are looking for when they hire for project management roles. As mentioned previously, this may relate to the industry they are looking to enter.
“Recruitment does play a huge part. You only have to look at the major websites that your recruiters are advertising on to see that the companies advertising for project management roles ask for candidates that have methodology behind them,” says Rowe. “Project managers should be looking at upskilling themselves to put themselves in the best possible position to go for those roles.”
Project managers who do contract work should pay special attention to the skills market, he adds. “What happens when you come to the end of a project? The market may well have changed. Rather than the ‘desire’ to have somebody with a methodology behind them, recruiters may request it as a ‘must-have’. Companies want people to be able to provide the best outcome for them. To provide the best outcome you need a very well structured approach. Project management training provides that.”
When Project Manager online conducted a survey on education and professional development earlier this year, it found that of those respondents who had undertaken education or training with their current employer, close to four in five had initiated this themselves.
Rowe says this is a huge benefit for professional development, and it looks good on your CV. “Being certified or qualified demonstrates a certain level of aptitude in that area. It demonstrates to any potential employer out there, or your current employer, that you are looking to provide the best outcome for that company.”
On an individual level, a qualification and/or certification provides confidence and that can be the difference between performing well and being plagued by a project’s problems. “Having a structured approach to manage those issues is a huge weight off your shoulders. It gives you the confidence to know what you’re doing and to know you’re being effective,” Rowe says. “I’ve always been an advocate of structure. If you want to be a successful project manager this is going to add value for you.”