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Project Management Apprenticeships: A Game Changer for Business

Michelle Symonds, a guest blogger, explains the UK Higher PM Apprenticeship Scheme to aspiring project managers and employers.
We are delighted that APM was granted a Royal Charter. This means that project management can now be recognized on the same level as chartered engineers or chartered accountants.
Project management is becoming a more popular career choice than a job that people just happen to find. However, until now, the best route to a career as a project manager was through a university degree and then gaining experience in the workplace.
There will be a significant shift in project management that will take place from April 2017. This will allow those who don’t want to pursue a university degree to have more opportunities. Major employers and the government are supporting young people who leave 18 to learn new skills. There is a growing awareness that not everyone can afford a university education. One of those avenues is the new Project Management Apprentice program.
This Higher Apprenticeship is intended primarily for young people just out of college or school. However, there are people who are already working in a project setting and could benefit from the new scheme.
Apprenticeships were once considered a non-academic option. However, Higher Apprenticeships are now a pathway to more opportunities and can lead to higher accreditation like chartered status as project manager or degree-level qualifications.
Large employers will be more likely to encourage their employees to acquire new skills and qualifications with the new Apprenticeship Levy.
So why is this new PM Apprenticeship being created?
The Apprenticeship Levy
The UK government wants to increase productivity in UK-based businesses by investing in training people through more apprenticeships. An Apprenticeship Levy is used to implement the goal of 3 million more apprenticeships in England.
Employers with a salary bill exceeding PS3 million annually will see the Apprenticeship Levy come into effect in April 2017. The money raised will be used for training additional apprentices.
We expect to see an increase in the training requirements of apprentice project managers, as large organizations that are subject to this levie can offset the amount they pay by paying apprentices to be trained.
Employers are already paying for training, so we expect to see more employers using their levy funding to support their employees, new and old.
The Project Management Apprenticeship Program
A Level 4 Higher Apprentice program, which runs from 18 months to 2 years, provides a wealth of knowledge and best practices in project delivery. It also develops the apprentices’ professional skills in all aspects of project management.
It is based upon the skills that have been defined by the Association for Project Management through their accredited Project Management Qualification. It aligns directly with the APM Competence Framework. Each apprentice is assigned a mentor to monitor and validate their development and to help them in the workplace.
What is a Higher Apprenticeship, and how can it help you?
A Higher Apprenticeship is similar to a standard apprenticeship. It combines on-the-job training with external training. A Higher Apprenticeship, however, aims to develop higher skills and lead to higher qualifications. This could potentially be equivalent to a university degree for those who have the aptitude and desire to do so.