If you want to make a successful career in many fields you will be expected to achieve professional qualifications and undertake continuing professional development (CPD) throughout much of your early career. You might think you already have a university degree or higher level apprenticeship but in many professions that simply isn't enough. Take project management, for example, or accountancy or engineering – these are roles where you need to be willing to commit to maybe several years more study after leaving full-time education if you are to achieve the greatest success and the pnnacle of chartered status.
Even in fields without chartered status, such as sales and marketing, it is still important to keep your skills up to date, undertake sales training courses to learn the latest best practice, and gain recognised qualifications such as those from the Institute of Sales and Marketing Management (ISMM)
You will need to gain qualifications such as the prestigious APMP exam from the Association for Project Management (which, incidentally now has a Royal Charter). Many people still refer to the APMP but, in fact, it has recently had a name change as is now formally known as the APM Project Management Qualification (APM PMQ).
You can, of course, do this by taking a series of regular project management training courses or you can take a different route if you haven't been to university and don't plan on going. One such alternative type of training is to become a project management apprentice in order to get the necessary qualifications and take your career to the next level. However, it can be hard to determine which route will be right for you so here's overview of some of the possible options for the role of project manager.
First, let’s consider agile project management. Agile project management focuses on the incremental development of solutions, allowing those working on the project to quickly react when objectives change without undermining the integrity of the project. There are 8 principles of effective agile projects: demonstrate control, develop iteratively, never compromise quality, deliver on time, communicate cleanly and continuously, build incrementally from firm foundations, collaborate, and focus on the business need.
As already mentioned the APM Project Management Qualification (remember the one that used to be called the APMP?) is designed for anyone who sees a knowledge of project management as an essential part of their role – even if they are not actually a project manager. So, for instance a member of the PMO (Project Management Office). It provides a solid foundation in PM skills, tools, processes and behaviours. Anyone can take this course and achieve a professional qualification,.
So undertaking training to gain professional qualifications, and continuing to develop your skills and knowledge, are now a part of many careers. And, indeed, sometimes the only way to distinguish yourself from other professionals with the sme level of experience.
If you are currently struggling in your small business I’m going to guess it’s because you have yet to find the right training. Have you listened to every CD and read every training manual that you can get your hands on? While training methods can be useful in regards to professional development they are not going to magically grow your business for you. It is by applying what you have learnt in the training in the workplace.
Take project management for instance, many organisations large and small struggle to consistently achieve project success yet the right project management training, when put into practise, has been proven to increase the proportion of successful projects. So little wonder that businesses are investing in professional project management courses for their employees, such as the APM Project Fundamentals course. And the same is true of finding the right training in other fields.
I have been in this industry since 2001 and when I first started out my project manager told me everything he knew - that was my "on-the-job" training.
After 16 months and hundreds of working hours as a project manager I had achieved a total of ZERO successful projects. Senior execs in my organisation at the time thought that professional project training for their employees was just a waste of thousands of dollars. Why did I fail in those early months? Simply put, the so-called "on-the-job" training that I received does not work! Here’s why:
Good Managers are not Good Trainers
You can be very good at your job but that doesn't mean you know how to properly train other employees. Training is a skill, even more so in a profession such as project management.
Our society has learned to shut down when anyone asks them to explain how they do their job. People are not comfortable talking about what they do either because they are worried it will show up gaps in their own knowledge or because they want to keep all their tricks-of-the-trade to themselves to protect their own job.
Why should a PM tell everything they know about APMP, PMP, PRINCE2 or Agile project management to you? They probably don't trust you.