Project management: Become the orchestra’s conductor

Man writing on a flip chart during a meeting in the office.

Project management qualifications are in greater demand than ever, so acquiring skills in this area is a smart investment in your career.

The below article was first published by Create Digital on 26 May 2021.

One of the big issues identified by the Project Management Survey 2020 was the increasing complexity of projects being taken on by Australian businesses. That didn’t sit well with another issue the research revealed, a lack of people with the requisite training and experience to manage such projects effectively.

“One of the main takeaways here was the urgent need to build capacity in project management,” says Dr Ross Yates, an educator and project management practitioner, and an associate of Engineering Education Australia.

“There’s a noticeable shortage of skills. The research, by KPMG and the AIPM, says project management qualifications need to be invested in. It said 65 per cent of organisations indicated a preference for hiring candidates with relevant qualifications or certification. And 64 per cent think project management skills will continue to become more important.”

Add to this the May 2021 Federal Budget announcements of over $15 billion earmarked for major infrastructure projects around Australia, and it’s clear the engineering sector is going to experience enormous demand for qualified project managers over the next several decades.

“There’s a real value proposition for engineers, and anybody else conducting project activities, in bringing some learned process in to project management,” Yates says.

“It’s about doing everything in a structured way, also enabling resilience and adaptability, from project background to communication and people management, to the facilitation of a vital piece of work within strict timelines and under budget pressure, all in an increasingly uncertain business environment. It’s up to the project manager to conduct the orchestra, to get the job done.”

Gold standard Project Management qualification

Engineering Education Australia (EEA) is the training organisation of Engineers Australia, with qualifications delivered and assessed by its wholly-owned Registered Training Organisation, The Moreland Group (RTO No. 6332).

In June 2021, The Moreland Group launched updated version of its Project Management program. This includes the BSB40920 Certificate IV in Project Management Practice and BSB50820 Diploma of Project Management.

Both are 12-month courses, delivered 100 per cent online. “There are live sessions on weeknights that are also recorded so students can watch them in their own time,” says Meagan Noronha, RTO Administration Manager at The Moreland Group.

“We make assessments as practical as possible so they can use current projects they’re working on in their jobs and improve on what they’re already doing, so it is of great benefit to their organisation, too. For those who don’t have current projects, in the Diploma we have an engineering case study for them to work on. Real-world problems and tasks bring an immediacy of understanding to the process of learning.”

Both courses count towards Engineers Australia’s CPD requirements, with recognition of around 15 to 20 hours per month. Engineers Australia members receive a 15 per cent discount on course costs.

Online courses offer the freedom to choose when and where study is conducted and allows people at mid to advanced stages of their careers and lives to organise their learning around their own priorities.

Students have six weeks to complete each unit, supported by an enormous amount of learning materials, case studies, videos and other media.

One of the most powerful benefits of such a course, Noronha says, is that students receive guidance from an actual project management practitioner. “The trainers and assessors are project managers who share insights from their decades of knowledge and experience throughout the course,” she says. “These practitioners also provide students feedback on their specific queries or challenges.”

How does project management help people and businesses?

So, in the post-COVID future of engineering, as firms large and small continue to feel their way forward and as governments develop entirely new expectations around the delivery of major infrastructure programs, success will often hinge on the talent of the project management team. This is revealing itself in a new level of focus on methods and materials as well as time, scope, cost, risk and quality – all of the things project managers do best. In an uncertain environment, Yates says, competence in project management is a powerful competitive advantage.

“We find that people first graduate as engineers then go and work, they generally don’t study project management before they’re put into a project management role,” Noronha explains. “They’re thrown into that role, and then they come to us to get some structure around that. We offer them international best practice processes in project management so they can improve on what they’re doing.”

“Once they’ve been through the course, they find they’re not just doing the job, but are actually enabling in their organisation the very best project management processes. That’s a powerful benefit for every stakeholder.”

To find out more about enhancing your future career with gold standard Project Management qualifications, visit the BSB40920 Certificate IV in Project Management Practice or the BSB50820 Diploma of Project Management information pages.