Zoe Williams completed her Level 4 Associate Project Manager apprenticeship with Provek during 2020-2021. Following 13 months of dedication and hard work she successfully passed her APM PMQ exam with 72% and achieved a distinction at her end point assessment. Provek asked Zoe about her experience whilst on programme during covid and advice and recommendations for any other considering this rewarding professional development programme.
What were your reasons for wishing to enrol on the Level 4 Associate Project Manager programme?
After 16 years working in Health and Social care both in operations and short projects, I decided I wanted to be involved in both transitional and transformation change. Looking at the project management requirements (hard and soft skills) I felt that my previous experience could easily be transferable, however I felt I didn’t have the confidence to help make that transition successful. Doing the level 4 enabled me to combine the all important practical with theory, whilst it being validated not only by my line manager, but by Provek trainers who have years of experience running large projects in complex environments.
What do/did you enjoy most about the programme?
Attending the workshops was integral to my development. It gave me exposure to project professionals from different organisations and oversight of the vast ways projects are approached in different business domains. One way is not always the right way!
I was able to make long term professional relationships (peer support) with people who I can always reach out to with ideas and reflections – and vice versa.
How has the programme supported you in developing in your role (and supported career progression if applicable?)
The qualification has quadrupled my career opportunities and frequently approached by employers. I have recently been offered a new role, with good development opportunities and a space for me to be exposed to all project management principles. Alongside the opportunity to engage with stakeholders from both the science and healthcare sector. My goals are already set, PPQ then chartership in 18 months – 2 years.
What challenges have you face during your apprenticeship and how have you overcome these?
Covid has not actually been a huge challenge for me, but one that I planned for into my programme. For example, work hard when you have the time because I could suddenly have 3 children in isolation with no time on my hands. But isn’t this just good PM planning?
I think my biggest challenge was working on a high level asset software project with release dates around the same time as having to prepare for my exams and EPA. This was full on and was glad for the respite after both milestones had passed, but it was a rush to see both succeed!
What advice would you give to anyone considering enrolling on an apprenticeship?
Everything gained, nothing lost by undertaking the programme. It truly will enhance your unique abilities as a PM whilst still working in a role that you love. To ensure business sustainability, organisations need to recognise ways to help develop their existing staff or future proof new talent; this is certainly the way to do it. Please remove any thought or stereotypes linked to apprenticeships. I was 34 when I started the programme with a degree already in hand, but I simply would not have embedded my learning if I had only taken an exam. To add, I would also say from my experience, that even PMs with years of experience can learn new tricks to improve best practice.