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NHS Associate Project Manager Level 4

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This apprenticeship is for Project Managers responsible for the implementation and on-going management of project(s) in private, public or third sector organisations. Key attributes for an existing or potential Project Manager include good planning skills, organisation, leadership, management, and communication skills. An associate project manager utilises suitable resources to work together in a motivated and integrated team, with clearly defined reporting lines, roles, responsibilities and authorities. Experience in the project management competence elements is not compulsory; but it is an advantage if you already have some project management knowledge or experience.

Responsibilities are likely to include on-going management and monitoring of a project or series of projects against developmental and performance milestones, including budgetary control. An Associate Project Manager is also likely to support, manage and develop team members, drive operational planning, resolve problems, and build relationships internally and externally.

Typical Job Roles: Project Manager, Project Lead. Project Team Leader, Junior Project Manager, Implementation Manager

Professional Qualification

Associate Project Managers will be able to become student members of the Association for Project Management (APM) as the first step towards professional membership. They will be eligible for progression to associate
membership upon successful completion of the apprenticeship. Full membership can be attained through further experience and professional development. Apprentices are required to achieve a suitable level of knowledge as part of their development such that they achieve the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Level D qualification.

Employer Commitment

While direct experience of project management is not required, an employer must be prepared to provide the learner with the opportunity to carry out work and be part of projects which will enable them to produce substantial evidence towards their qualification. In order to ensure successful progression we request that employers participate in joint reviews of the learner’s progress at regular intervals throughout the apprenticeship and have some involvement with the project(s) being undertaken. This ensures continued and positive progress through the apprenticeship. It will also provide the opportunity to discuss and agree how any issues are to be resolved and how additional stretching and challenging activities can be built in.

Duration

Typically this apprenticeship will take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Training and Support from Skills Training UK

During the apprenticeship the learner will have a dedicated Trainer Assessor who will visit them within the work place at least once per month in order to support their learning, development of competency and generation of evidence. This will also be supported between visits by off-site information, advice, guidance and academic progress support. The Trainer Assessor will work with the learner and the employer in order to ensure that all learning needs are being met for both parties, in order to ensure successful progression against all elements of the apprenticeship. Successful accreditation for the International Project Management Association (IPMA) Level D qualification will require formal teaching sessions which may take place within an appropriate area within the workplace or off site.

Eligibility

Individual employers will set their own entry requirements for their apprentices. Typically candidates will have achieved a grade C or above in at least 5 GCSEs including English and Mathematics, and hold a minimum of 120 UCAS points, or equivalent. Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End Point Assessment.

Requirements: Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours

Below are examples of what the Level 4 Associate Project Manager Standard includes. Successful completion of the IPMA Level D qualification will cover the majority of the Knowledge and Skills elements of the Standard. Learners will be supported by Skills Training UK to achieve this professional qualification alongside the Apprenticeship Standard.

Knowledge

An associate project manager will be able to understand and have knowledge of:

  • Project governance – Different types of organisational structures and responsibilities, functions and project phases on different types of project. How governance can control and manage the successful delivery of projects. The significance of the project management plan (PMP).
  • Project stakeholder management – Stakeholders: their perspectives, different interests and levels of influence upon project outcomes.
  • Project communication – Key contexts of a project communication plan, its effectiveness in managing different stakeholders. Factors which can affect communications such as cultural and physical barriers.
  • Project leadership – The vision and values of the project and its links to objectives; the ways in which these can be effectively communicated and reinforced to team members and stakeholders. Leadership styles, qualities and the importance of motivation on team performance.
  • Characteristics of the working environment which encourage and sustain high performance.
  • Consolidated planning – Purpose and formats for consolidated plans to support overall management, taking account of lessons learnt and how the plans balance fundamental components of scope, schedule, resources, budgets, risks and quality requirements.
  • Budgeting and cost control – Funding, estimating, overheads; direct costs, indirect costs, fixed costs, variable costs and an overall budget for a project; tracking systems for actual costs, accruals and committed costs; alternative
  • cost breakdowns to provide for graphical representations, and performance management.
  • Business case and benefits management – Preparation and/or maintenance of business cases, including benefits management.
  • Project scope – Requirements management, and evaluation of alternative methods to learn from the past to improve delivery. Project scope change control, baseline change management, configuration management.
  • Project schedule – Scheduling and estimating for project activities including how they can be quality assessed.
  • Progress monitoring and metrics to assess work performed against the schedule. Schedule management methods to evaluate and revise activities to improve confidence in delivery.
  • Resource management – Resource analysis, resource allocation and resource acceptance.
  • Project risk and issue management – The need for and implementation of a risk management plan. Risk management methods and techniques to identify and prioritise threats or opportunities. Mitigation actions to minimise risk impacts and to optimise benefits by managing opportunities.
  • Contract management and procurement – The nature of contracts, and their implications for contracting organisations. Procurement processes. Legal and ethical means for managing contracts.
  • Project quality – Quality management processes, assurance and improvements. Outcomes of a quality management plan, metrics for processes and quality standards.
  • Project context – The different contexts in which projects can be delivered, including health, safety, and environment management. The interdependencies between project(s), programme(s) and portfolio management. Project phases and key review points, across project life cycles.

Skills

An associate project manager will be able to demonstrate the following skills within the context of your organisation.

  • Project governance – Project monitoring and reporting cycle to track, assess and interpret performance by the application of monitoring techniques to analyse status and manage information.
  • Stakeholder and communications management – Manage stakeholders, taking account of their levels of infl uence and particular interests. Manage confl icts and negotiations. Communicate to a variety of diff erent audiences.
  • Budgeting and cost control – Develop and agree project budgets, monitor forecast and actual costs against them and control changes. Tracking systems for actual costs, accruals and committed costs; structures for alternative cost breakdowns.
  • Business case – Contribute to the preparation or maintenance of a business case including achieving required outcomes.
  • Scope management – Determine, control and manage changes to the scope of a project, including assumptions,dependencies and constraints.
  • Consolidated planning – Consolidate and document the fundamental components of projects. Monitor progress and refine as appropriate.
  • Schedule management – Prepare and maintain schedules for activities aligned to project delivery.
  • Risk and issue management – Identify and monitor project risk or opportunity, plan and implement responses to them, contribute to a risk management plan. Respond to and manage issues within a defi ned governance structure.
  • Contract management and procurement – Facilitate a procurement process, contribute to the defi nition of contractual agreements and contribute to managing a contract.
  • Quality management – Develop a quality management plan, manage project assurance, and contribute to peer reviews. Utilise an organisation’s continual improvement process including lessons learned.
  • Resource management – Develop resource management plans for project activities, acquire and manage resources.

Behaviours

An associate project manager will be able to demonstrate the following behaviours:

  • Collaboration and team work – Understands and is effective as part of an integrated team.
  • Leadership – Communicates direction, and supports the vision for project delivery.
  • Effective and appropriate communication – Working effectively with and influencing others, taking account of diversity and equality. Infl uences and facilitates effective team performance.
  • Drive for results – Demonstrates clear commitment to achieving results, and improving performance.
  • Integrity, ethics, compliance and professionalism – Promotes the wider public good in all actions, acting in a morally, legally and socially appropriate manner. Promotes and models the highest standards of professional integrity, ethics, trust and continued development.


Independent End Point Assessment

To successfully complete the apprenticeship, the learner needs to pass an independent End Point Assessment which has several stages:

  •  A knowledge test using scenarios and questions (IPMALevel D qualifi cation) to be completed before End Point Assessment
  • A portfolio – this is a collection of evidence from real work projects
  • Presentation and interview carried out via a face to face with an Assessor from the End Point Assessment body, to verify the learner’s knowledge and competence

The assessor from the End Point Assessment body will then decide whether to award successful apprentices with a Pass, a Merit or a Distinction.

Professional Recognition

On completion, apprentices may choose to register as Full Members with the Association for Project Management (APM) to support their professional career development and progression.