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How taking the UCL project management course has transformed our work

20 September 2017

Victoria Banks and Alison Pretlove both work in short courses management for UCL Innovation and Enterprise. They attended the UCL short course APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ) in Autumn 2016. We spoke to them several months later to find out what they thought of the course and whether it’s had any impact on their day-to-day work.

“We support staff at UCL who want to develop new short courses and professional development and had discussed our need for a more structured way of helping people. We were also getting a lot of questions from senior leaders around how to manage resources and costs of developing short courses which were difficult to answer in a consistent way.

As UCL employees working with short courses, we knew about the APM Project Management course and that the academics teaching it were experts in their field. That confidence in the quality of the course meant we didn’t have to look any further.

Sign up to the short course: APM Project Management Qualification (PMQ)

Academic perspectives on project management that are out of this world!

teaching the apm project management course

The best thing about the course was undoubtedly the people teaching it – they’re experts from UCL’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory and School of Management.

The space perspective added such an interesting dimension to the course. Examples and experiences from this background were fascinating. For example  we learnt about project managing the build of a deep-space telescope where the lenses alone take 10 years to build. If the project wasn’t effectively managed and the timings right, then millions of pounds would be wasted.

We also enjoyed being among a diverse group of participants: they came from backgrounds ranging from Formula One to construction. Having such a wide variety of people in the room resulted in very interesting discussions and input and enriched the experience for us.

Intense but entertaining

The course runs over five days, and you can then sit an exam at a later date in order to gain the qualification, which is internationally recognised and a valuable addition to your CV. It’s a very intense week with a lot of material to cover, but what was unexpected was how entertaining it was.

We’d expected it to be a slightly dry subject matter but were surprised to find it wasn’t boring at all. This was down to the excellent teaching by all the staff, particularly by Matt Whyndham, the course leader. He has a great sense of humour and an ability to give examples and analogies that really brought the subject to life and kept us all engrossed and motivated throughout the five days.

The days were well structured with a good mix of short lectures, individual tasks, group work and opportunities to share experience, which enriched the learning and consolidating process.

Changing the way we work, and delivering impact

matt wyndham teaching the apm project management course

What we’ve gained from attending this course is learning a best-practice approach to managing projects and multiple stakeholders.

We came out armed with a framework we could apply to our work and have subsequently introduced a project management approach to the support we provide. This has helped us develop a defined service offering for those developing new short courses at UCL based on the knowledge and techniques we’ve learned.

The biggest change has been in understanding and managing the upfront planning and preparation needed in these projects. Making sure projects don’t proceed until this stage has been fully completed is a step closer to ensuring success.

The experience we’ve gained from attending this course has completely changed how we work on a day-to-day basis and we’d recommend anyone involved in running projects, from any industry, to sign up!”

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Page last modified on 18 September 2017 09:06