Projecting Success

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Vocational Training Council

The VTC and WMG’s MSc in Programme and Project Management nurtures 21st-century competences

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 9:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 February, 2018, 9:03am

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Businesses from a wide spectrum of sectors now seek competitive advantages in an increasingly technology-enabled, globalised work environment. As companies strive to improve organisational success, deliver business goals, and meet high performance expectations, the demand for project management skills has risen.

VTC Chairman Dr Roy Chung Chi-ping says demand for project managers comes from an increase in jobs requiring project-oriented skills, rapid advancements in technology, and companies expanding their activities globally. “Project management brings together processes, systems and teamwork, all of which are key value drivers for any company operating in today’s complex and competitive environment,” notes Chung. He says that project management professionals need a combination of technical and soft skills that exemplify 21st-century “must-have" competencies. These include a commitment to lifelong learning, technical knowledge, design thinking skills, and strong cross-cultural understanding and communication skills.

Project management professionals also need to embrace the five “Ws” (who, what, where, when, and why), as these are fundamental to project management information gathering and problem solving. Chung says it is vital that project management professionals remain curious, creative and innovative. “They should never find themselves doing the same thing today and tomorrow as they were doing yesterday,” he says.

As demand for project management is extending into financial and professional services, beyond traditional sectors such as construction, engineering and manufacturing, demand for professionals with the right project management skills will continue to grow. Chung says the Belt and Road Initiative, which has already initiated a diverse range of projects, will also create more demand for project management professionals. According to the Project Management Institute, a leading international association, more than 15 million new project management roles will be created worldwide over the next 20 years.

Chung says the VTC and WMG at the University of Warwick in the UK have joined together to provide a high-quality MSc in Programme and Project Management (PPM) programme (Reg. no.: 251907) since 2009 for those seeking to enhance their employability. Both institutions share a vision of providing quality education and striving for excellence. Established in 1965, the University of Warwick is one of the leading higher education institutions in the UK. It is a uniquely successful institution, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in both research and teaching, for innovation and for links with business and industry.

The PPM aims to train students to meet the demand for skilled project managers. It equips students with a broad set of technical and soft skills which can be applied to multiple industries. The one-year full-time, or two- to three-year part-time PPM is suited to individuals seeking to move into project management, either in their current area of employment, or in a new area of expertise. The part-time programme allows individuals who are in employment the flexibility to continue to develop their career options.

The PPM modules are taught in Hong Kong by academics from Warwick, and the degree is identical to that awarded in the UK. Students also have an opportunity to study two modules with no additional tuition fees in the UK, or with other WMG partner institutions in South East Asia regions. Instead of exams, students must pass nine modules which are assessed by assignments and projects that focus on up-to-date topics. Modules include financial analysis and control systems, organisations, people and performance, project planning and management control, programme and project strategy, international joint ventures, change management, and maintaining a multi-project programme environment.

Amanda Lam, a class of 2015 graduate who completed the PPM at WMG as a part-time student, recalls how she was able to immediately translate her classroom experiences into practical use. As a manager of human resources digital products available across the Southeast Asian market, Lam needed to be aware of different cultural requirements and preferences.

“The programme really helped me to better understand how to manage cultural differences,” says Lam, who completed her bachelor’s degree in computer systems engineering at the University of Warwick. When the company she worked for was taken over in a merger and acquisition, Lam says her PPM studies helped her to adjust and lead her team within the new company culture. She also credits the PPM with helping her to change jobs, gain promotion, and equipping her with the abilities to take on more senior project management responsibilities.

Among the many programme highlights, Lam says modules covering product design and development, the application of technology and patent applications and product protection, which involved working with legal consultants, were noteworthy. The support and resources, including access to the VTC’s comprehensive library and research materials, were invaluable, she adds.

Full-time student Fibe Li was attracted to the PPM by its excellent international reputation, noting that it’s taught in Hong Kong by faculty from the University of Warwick. Li believes the master’s degree will make her resume stand out, and will serve as a strong addition to her marketing degree. “When I spoke to education consultants and PPM alumni, they all recommended the programme offered through the VTC,” says Li.

Now a third of the way through the one-year full-time programme, Li says the combination of theory and real-life practical application experiences, the interaction with fellow classmates, and the insightful tuition, make her feel confident and enthusiastic about her future. “Taking the PPM is giving me a lot to look forward to,” says Li. After graduation, Li plans to pursue a project management role in the events industry.

It is a matter of discretion for individual employers to recognize any qualification to which this course may lead.