Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship: Ask An Employee

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MIGSO-PCUBED UK established their Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship programme ‘MPower’ at the back end of 2020, with the first apprentices joining in January 2021. We felt strongly about our MPower Programme, not only to grow talent and develop our workforce, but also to get an opportunity to support people to reach their full potential and further their careers.

As the world is changing, the traditional route of formal learning before joining a workforce isn’t for everyone. Our MPower Programme provides apprentices with an alternative route to achieve a degree and gain work experience. We asked some of our apprenticeship mentors Ian and Heidi about the programme and why it’s important to us.

Meet Ian

After completing a Postgraduate in Industrial Engineering, I joined a consulting firm with a great graduate programme. In my second year, I was asked to join the graduate training team alongside my other consultant duties. During my 4 years at this company I trained over 250 graduates. I then emigrated across to the UK where I joined MP. I have been part of MP for almost 3 years and have been exposed to an incredible array of sectors, programmes, and colleagues. MP has been a great company that has allowed me to learn, teach, and grow my career.

Ian Mulder

Meet Heidi

After completing a Master’s Degree in Theoretical Physics, I joined a Defence sector company on their Business & Project Management Graduate Scheme. As I came to the end of this, I began supporting the interviewing and mentoring of the next apprentice and graduate cohorts, and I continued this alongside my Project Management role until I moved on a couple of years later. I have spent my career to date within the Defence (private and public) and Energy Sectors, primarily working on Bid, Contract, and Project Management. Alongside other things, it was a great opportunity within Energy that attracted me to MP, and that role continues to interest and challenge me. MP provides me with opportunities to develop and progress professionally and personally, and support others to do so, part of this being as an Engagement Manager and a Coach to one of MP’s existing apprentices.

Heidi Riley

What made the business steer toward starting an apprentice programme?

Ian: I believe it’s a combination of looking to improve and give back to the industry as well as getting fresh ideas into the company – Both parties benefit from it. 

Why do you think apprenticeship programmes are important?

Ian: It has been really interesting seeing the growth of the apprentices over the last year. They are constantly adding new ideas and bringing a new dynamic to the company. These programmes provide apprentices with valuable experience and introduce them to new contacts and networking opportunities, as well as offering incredible exposure to the working world. These programmes are career kick-starters in my opinion.

Heidi: Apprenticeship programmes are a great option for learning whilst having the chance to put that knowledge into practice. The programmes provide an alternative route of achieving a qualification such as a degree in a more practical way, not just focusing on academics. This approach is so well suited to a profession such as Project Management, where “doing” the role and gaining experience is just as important as the theory. Having an opportunity to do both simultaneously is an optimal way to develop and progress as a great Project Manager.

How has the employment of apprentices enriched the business?

Ian: My experience with the apprentices at MP has only been great! They are hardworking, create incredible ideas, and are proactive. They have been able to drive significant differences in the way we think and approach problems within the company. They also bring learnings from their University (and past experiences) that enrich the client environment. I believe MP allows the apprentices space to grow and thrive. MP does this by creating opportunities to contribute, learn, and be proactive, allowing them to take their careers into their own hands.

Heidi: Employing apprentices helps ensure the development of effective, well trained Project Professionals who will support the future growth of the business both in terms of providing new and diverse perspectives to our initiatives, as well as continuing to provide value to our clients. MP’s reputation with clients is enhanced by apprentices. I work with one of our apprentices and she provides recognisable value to my client. It is great that MP invests in the development of new Project Managers in this way. 

How have apprentices impacted your team?

Ian: The apprentice I worked with brought brilliant ideas to the table! He came up with approaches that solved tangible problems within the team. He then built, developed, and eventually implemented the solution into the client. This proactive mentality allowed for a higher level of delivery as ideas were combined. All-in-all, the team learnt a great deal from each other and assisted in delivering great solutions to our clients.

Heidi: My client has already noted that the MP apprentice programme is of value to them, providing support to the management of their projects and the different approach and ideas the apprentices provide. The apprentice I work with is an active and enthusiastic part of the project engagement team, and wider MP team, providing support and input into work and social activities! 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of applying for a Project Manager Degree Apprenticeship at MP?

Ian: The experience and exposure to new projects and ways of working within MP is really impressive. I would have loved this kind of experience in my early career. If you are considering it, I would whole heartedly suggest it. Working on what you are studying is a golden opportunity that you will only appreciate when you are further along in your career. Being able to learn the theoretical knowledge and how sometimes that doesn’t translate into the real world is a great learning too. MP has some of the best minds in the Project, Programme and Portfolio Management sphere that span across several industries. You will not be short of subject matter experts in this company. 

Heidi: Do it! Aside from the many benefits of completing a Project Management Degree Apprenticeship, MP is a really great place to do it. MP places significant emphasis on being a supportive, inclusive, and welcoming community. There are a lot of initiatives and activities going on to develop relationships and skills, contributing to personal and professional development. Plus, there are so many great candidates for mentors!

What made you want to volunteer to support the current intake of apprentices?

Ian: I was lucky enough to have a great mentor early on in my career and I only wish to try and be that person I needed to someone else. I also believe I learn just as much from them as they do from me.

Heidi: I am enthusiastic about supporting the development and progression of others and providing guidance to help them reach their potential. At MP, and within the Project Profession in general, the sky really is the limit and the possibilities of what can be achieved is really exciting! I really enjoy working at MP, and the role I do at my client. It is challenging, rewarding, and I am constantly learning. Using my experience to develop others is important, and it absolutely works both ways, providing value to my development as well.

Find out more about our MPower Programme in our latest podcast.

Interested in an Apprenticeship?

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