A marked increase in the number of individuals pursuing a degree apprenticeship in project management has been welcomed by Association for Project Management (APM), the only chartered membership organisation for the project profession, ahead of National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February). According to latest Department for Education (DfE) data, there has been a 125% increase in project management degree apprenticeship starts between 2019/20 to 2021/22
Launched in 2018, a project management degree apprenticeship (Level 6), lasts up to four years and includes APM’s Project Management Qualification (PMQ), with apprentices achieving a degree in Project Management on completion of the programme. Degree apprenticeships offer students the benefits of on-the-job learning and academic study, while earning a salary at the same time
With demand for project-related skills across many industry sectors at an all-time high, degree apprenticeships (the Level 6 standard) are helping to close the skills gap, giving employers the opportunity to recruit talented project professionals, while also upskilling and developing their existing employees.
Although it welcomes the rise in degree apprenticeship starts, APM wants to see greater awareness of degree apprenticeships and the benefits they offer among prospective apprentices, to support the advancement of project-related skills within the UK workforce.
A recent survey of 1,000 project professionals carried out by APM, with research company Censuswide, reveals that 74 % of respondents whose organisation runs an apprentice scheme thinks the scheme improves skills within their team.
Jackie Martin, Director of Education and Lifelong Learning at APM says: “Whilst we welcome the recent rise in degree apprenticeship starts, general awareness of degree apprenticeships remains relatively low and more needs to be done to address this in schools and other education settings, including information and advice on opportunities available for students, and people of all ages, considering alternative routes to a career. APM is working closely with education providers and employers to raise awareness of degree apprenticeships, and apprenticeships in general, which provide a fantastic gateway to a successful career like project management, whilst strengthening the talent pipeline for future employers.”
Employers and universities currently working together to offer the Project Management Degree Apprenticeship in the UK include Alstom, Arcadis, Arup, Atkins, AWE, BAE Systems, Pcubed, Rolls-Royce, Sellafield Ltd, UKRI, WSP the MTC, the University of Cumbria, Blackpool and the Fylde College, London Metropolitan College, University of Portsmouth, Coventry University, Aston University, University of Gloucestershire, and Leeds Beckett University. Olivia Augustynowicz a Project Management Degree Apprentice, at Coventry based the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) is currently doing a four year project management degree apprenticeship through Coventry University.
Olivia says: “Coming out of college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted my career ambitions to be, so I explored different pathways through career fairs, educational workshops and alumni presentations. Through this, I came across degree apprenticeships; more specifically, placements in the project profession.
“A fully funded university degree with the simultaneous development of work-based skills and salary made it an appealing choice. Additionally, project management offers so much opportunity for development and progression, with transferable soft skills laying the foundations of business knowledge and abilities, which leaves plenty of leeway for future career preferences, such as industry or role change.
“Being able to tie knowledge on paper to practice in the workplace at the same time is a considerable benefit to the scheme. This is further supported by being surrounded by professionals that are able to share personal industry insights that a standard classroom education wouldn’t be able to provide.”
Ben Nichols, a Project Management Degree Apprentice at the MTC adds: “At MTC I work to support project managers currently in our construction and infrastructure sector. Our course is run such that I will rotate through eight different areas of the company to develop my practical skills and understanding of the project management profession, and this is one of the many benefits being on the scheme has brought me; the opportunity to network and learn from colleagues more experienced than myself.”
Emma Carroll-Walsh, Director of Construction & Infrastructure at the MTC says: “Degree apprenticeship programmes are a cost effective way to bring in in new talent, and get individuals trained in the right way for project management and for MTC. The nature of the degree enables networking and learning across sectors which the apprentice can bring back into MTC for our continuous improvement.”
For further information project management apprenticeships visit apm.org.uk and project management apprenticeships at the MTC.
 Source: DfE published SFR: project management degree apprenticeship starts