There are many careers available to young people today that didn’t exist 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago if you consider some digital industries. And the number of career opportunities is still evolving. In order to help young people who might take up a career that may not exist right now schools and colleges are teaching skills such as collaboration, teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving in addition to academic subjects.

And for those already on a career path it is very likely that your job now will be quite different in another 10 or 20 years’ time so everyone has to be prepared to embrace change.

Some careers have been around for a while but have seen rapid change in the 21st century. One such career is project management, which has become increasingly important in our digital, project-focused business world and is shaping how businesses perform and succeed.

A Modern Profession

Many people still seek a traditional career: doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer but what we are seeing in project management is the growth and development of a new profession.

The specific role of project manager may not, until now, have been as familiar as the more traditional careers but since the granting of the Royal Charter to the Association for Project Management (APM) in December 2016 this is about to change. It means that there is a new, internationally recognised profession for young people just starting out and for those who have been working as project managers for some time.

Typically a project manager would have taken a university degree and then taken further professional qualifications to gain recognition as a project management professional and this route still exists. However, there is another avenue to becoming a project manager in the UK that doesn’t require a degree and this is through project management apprenticeships schemes. Apprenticeships are no longer seen as a “non-academic” route to a chosen career but rather a route to wider opportunities that result in degree-level qualifications and higher accreditation such as chartered status.

The emergence of chartered status and these new apprenticeships means that project management will increasingly become a definitive career choice rather than a career of chance. The profession has come a long way since the early pioneers first started to standardise PM processes in the 1980’s.

It may not be as well-established as accountancy, say, or engineering but it is certainly now recognised worldwide as a profession with all the discipline and rigour of accountancy or engineering and, moreover, one that offers the qualified professional opportunities in a whole range of businesses and industries.

From construction, engineering and IT to banking, tourism and healthcare – these are just a few of the fields that require skilled project managers for their myriad projects. There really is no area where project management is not used, whether to produce something entirely new or improve on something that already exists; it is at the heart of business today.

UK Apprenticeships

Because the UK government is committed to developing vocational skills and increasing the quantity and quality of apprenticeships available to young people it is creating an additional 3 million apprenticeships in England by 2020.The funding for these additional apprenticeships is being raised through a levy on large organisations but they can offset the amount due by training apprentices.

The apprenticeship route to becoming a professional project manager will develop the skills, attitudes and behaviours required to succeed in any industry. It will teach the best practices that lead to the most successful project outcomes and ultimately offer a professional qualification at an equivalent level to a chartered accountant or chartered engineer.

The Future of Project Management

The UK government’s new apprenticeship levy has provided a new opportunity for anyone to embark on a career in project management and gain chartered status. It will be interesting to see how this most modern of professions develops in the next 20 years.