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Can someone explain Project Managers to me please?

(57 Posts)
BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 15:55:35

Want to boost my salary, which I suspect will involve changing career. I've seen Project Manager roles advertised, but don't really know much about what it entails.

Are you one? Are the jobs normally freelance, or PAYE? Is there a recognised training route?

I've got good organisational, time management and communication skills. Currently working in film and telly.

jazzcat28 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:01:29

I'm a PM

Check out the Association of Project Managers (APM) for a good starting point. They also run courses which are recognised in industry

I work as a perm employee for a global consultancy but you can do it as a contractor too. People tend to work project to project so if not a perm staff member you have to plan your next move.

What industry do you want to work in? IT, HR, events, retail and engineering all need PMs

BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 16:16:57

Thanks for the speedy reply! I've always worked in the artsy creative industries, so whichever would be nearest to that. Are most jobs freelance or permanent, would you say?

Can you give me an idea of what your main duties are? I get a buzz from being busy, and I like to tick things off lists, am I going in the right direction, do you reckon?

Am good with numbers but don't think I'd want to work within the IT sector.

PrincessSymbian Sun 25-Nov-12 16:23:12

Busy and and ticking off lists would be good starting points. PM's oversee projects, making sure they run to schedule and ensuring that all the skill/knowledge based people on the project are working to the schedule and doing their bits in the most efficient way possible.
My stbx-h was one on a lot of projects during our marriage and this is what I as an outsider managed to glean.

jazzcat28 Sun 25-Nov-12 16:26:50

Well I did an arts degree and have ended up PM-ing in a non-related industry.

In my job, I need to be able to communicate at a variety of levels (blue chip company execs one minute, admin clerk the next). I have to have a commercial understanding of what is/isn't part of our contract, what the effects are of programme (time) delays to our work. It's a lot of organising yes but also a lot of financial responsibility. I'm responsible for getting the project finished on time, at the best quality, to the budget. This also means protecting my company's profit margins. My week mainly consists of going to client meetings to give them updates on our progress, staff management stuff to get the right people working together and financial reporting.

I think it depends on the industry you get into but I think it's a fair split between permanent employee jobs and freelance.

BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 16:36:10

Thanks, been having a look at the APM website. I'd enjoy something to do with events or buildings.

Sorry to be asking what may be daft questions, but what is the likelihood of getting work, is there a spread of roles across the UK, and are there any prerequisites? Tried to do the initial competency questionnaire on the website but it's only a sample document and not openable on an iPhone.

BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 16:42:44

Sorry, I meant likelihood of getting work once I'd done a qualification, not by just walking straight into it!

BellaTheGymnast Sun 25-Nov-12 16:56:47

And (sorry!) what's a Digital Project Manager?

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 11:00:38

Ha ha, I'm still going with the questions! What's the difference (except price) in the Prince2 entry level qualification, and the APM entry level course? Is one better regarded than another?

QueenofWhatever Mon 26-Nov-12 12:53:27

I'm a project and programme manager in health care. I'm PRINCE2 qualified which is useful if not essential. What projects (not necessarily work related have you completed? If you can give us some examples, maybe we can help point you in the right direction.

PM is glorified basic sense but can still be pretty tricky. You need to be able to deliver things on time, to budget and to the agreed standard. If you're applying for jobs, you need to be able to demonstrate a track record of that or look for an entry-level position such as project support or administration. Be realistic about how much you are looking to earn.

TheMysteryCat Mon 26-Nov-12 13:00:54

Arts project manager jobs are few and far between now. Register with for a daily jobs feed.

You'll need your own public liability insurance which can be pricey.

Related jobs would be consultant, but you'll need a strong portfolio of Paye or freelance jobs, ditto for an evaluator, fundraiser or marketer.

The cuts to local government and arts council have majorly disrupted this industry, especially now the Olympics has been and gone.

Corporate event management might be a route to follow, if you have experience and qualifications.

It's a great job, but tough to break into without contacts and substantial experience.

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 13:25:12

Thanks. Don't want to out myself totally, but my freelance job at the moment involves elements of staffing, budget management and contracts in film and telly. Essentially I have to deliver X by a deadline, without going over budget.
I have a degree, but no PM qualifications.
Thanks for the website tip, yes, the arts situation is grim.

TheMysteryCat Mon 26-Nov-12 13:30:48

It's a strongly related sector, so I'd say go for it if you see a job advertised.

Have you looked at post production houses? Lots going in London. There's also for film and tv.

Younger also be well placed for digital and game companies- Bristol and Portsmouth for those.

TheMysteryCat Mon 26-Nov-12 13:31:12

You, not younger!

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 13:39:54

Related to film and tv, do you mean? Don't want to be in London, but Bristol, now you're talking!
Would you recommend doing a qualification before looking for a job? There seem to be endless levels, each more expensive than the last!

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 13:41:01

I should point out my tv/film job isn't as a production manager or production supervisor.

TheMysteryCat Mon 26-Nov-12 13:44:20

I'd study the job Reqs and see if there's a common qualification you could get. Hard to tell what you might need exactly. Sorry!

But, yes, Bristol is thriving arts, culture, media and only an hour on train into London.

jazzcat28 Mon 26-Nov-12 13:55:53

Hi OP sorry didn't get a chance to respond again yesterday.. hopefully I can answer your queries as below:

what is the likelihood of getting work, is there a spread of roles across the UK, and are there any prerequisites?

There are lots of PM jobs (advertised and not) around, at various levels and in a wide range of industries. Once you've narrowed down your industry I would approach a number of specialist recruitment agencies as well as prospectively submitting your CV to some key firms in your field on the off chance they are looking. In my company we very rarely advertise vacancies on our webiste, usually recruit from employee referrals, linked-in and CVs submitted to us by people interested in working for us. In terms of pre-requisites, you will need to demonstrate you understand the project life cycle phases (see APM site) and show how you have experience in these. Depending on the level you are applying for you may also need real experience in that sector.

What's the difference (except price) in the Prince2 entry level qualification, and the APM entry level course? Is one better regarded than another?

I had to answer an exam question on this! The short answer is that neither is better than the other. Again it very much depends on the sector you are going to work in. For IT and public sector work (govt, health care, rail etc), Prince2 is the preferred accreditation. For blue chip company work they are less fussy, but like APM as a minimum. I couldn't say for arts/events management.

Would you recommend doing a qualification before looking for a job?

Tricky one. Because the qualification requirements are so specific to job role/industry I would research very carefully before signing up to anything. You don't want to do an Masters in PM for Construction (like I'm doing) to work in retail!

My top tip is to be quite open minded about the industries you might consider working in. I am an arts person, but work in engineering. I know lots of linguists working in finance, etc. Don't feel that you have to stick to the arts sector (which is notoriously tricky to find jobs in). Be as open minded as you can and be willing to embark on a steep learning curve and most employers will be happy to support you. I entered the engineering world with an arts degree and minimal experience and now have a relatively senior position, with a company sponsorship to do a job-related Masters university course and a looming promotion. When I left my arts degree I took the view 'I need a job, any job, to pay the bills and if I like it I'll forge a career from it'. If I'd have stuck to waiting for an arts position I have a feeling I'd have been working in Asda for a lot longer until the 'right' position came along.

jazzcat28 Mon 26-Nov-12 13:56:47

Sorry for any typos, typed this very quickly whilst grabbing my 10 min lunch break!!

Mosman Mon 26-Nov-12 13:59:14

PM's are the first person to be fired on a project whether it has anything to do with them or not grin
Prince 2 is very well thought of and google agile, they are both seen as being the current quals required.
It's a very stressful job IMO

basildonbond Mon 26-Nov-12 14:02:41

dh is one (in broadcasting)

he didn't do a qualification beforehand but is just about to finish a masters in PM now which he's hoping will broaden his appeal as there's not a lot of work about at the moment in the UK in telly (he is working abroad)

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 14:05:57

Thanks again! Been scouring job adverts, and Prince2 seems to come up a lot. I've found the ads quite bewildering to be honest, there seems to be a lot of jargon that I can't penetrate!

I suppose I'm a bit scared of moving out of the arts, it's good to know it's worked for you though jazzcat. I suppose I feel at home amongst arty sort of people and worry that I won't fit in to a very corporate environment.

Ooh Mosman, stressful and easily fired?! <faints> I'm looking for something with more money and more reliability than my current job!

peasepudding Mon 26-Nov-12 14:13:27

I've just seen that there is a prince 2 course on groupon today. Can't link I'm afraid OP

Are all prince 2 courses the same? does anyone know if it would be worth doing?

It's 60% off and £199 at greenwich community college

peasepudding Mon 26-Nov-12 14:13:53

Sorry, you can do it online and then take the exam at locations throughout britain

BellaTheGymnast Mon 26-Nov-12 14:16:09

Ooh! I'm on Groupon, will check my inbox. Thanks!

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