Christopher's experience of the APM PPQ

An interview with Project Manager, Christopher Rasiah 

How did you get into Project Management?
It started after I graduated from Aston University after completing a Masters in Chemical Engineering.  I joined Kvaerner Oil and Gas Ltd (KOGL).  KOGL had acquired the old Trafalgar House business which owned various companies from design to construction, operations and maintenance.  KOGL wanted to train new Project engineers and future Project Managers who were familiar with the business and the various companies it now owned.  I gained a variety of experience and led small projects.

I then joined AEA Technology as a Project manager (Process) for supply of power fluidics separation packages. We designed and built packages using a local fabricator. 

After that the opportunities presented themselves to now being a Project Manager on small to large projects at early phase engineering to FEED with capital value of 2 MM USD.

Currently I am Project Engineering Manager with Genesis Energies on 30,000 man-hour projects whilst in parallel running a small 3-month study.  

How did you hear about the APM?
I was the Training and Development manager for the Study delivery team at Genesis Energies. This was a voluntary role in parallel to my other duties. The Study delivery team wanted to understand the opportunities to develop in Project Management. This lead me to research and connect with the APM.

Why did you decide to undertake the APM Project Professional Qualification? 
I applied and joined an ECITB Cross Industry mentoring programme where I was allocated an experienced mentor.  This again was to support my Training and Development role at Genesis energies. It turned out that I was as experienced as my mentor!

I was encouraged to gain the PPQ qualification by my Mentor who felt I had the experience to gain this.

How relevant to your project experience did you find the content of the programme?
It was very relevant and showed that the core skills of Project Management can be applied across all industries with transferrable skills.

Which element of the programme did you find the most beneficial?
I really enjoyed the module on Governance.  In general, all the elements are applicable but good Governance struck a chord with me.

There were a lot of useful tools for project management covered such as:
  • Tuchman’s Team and Group development model for developing a team;
  • Johari Window Model as a simple psychological tool for understanding: self-awareness, personal development, improving communications, interpersonal relationships, group dynamics, team development & inter-group relationships;
  • Organisational structures (Functional, Balanced Matrix versus Project);
  • Assessing Suppliers performance;
  • Stakeholder management;
  • Planning and cost monitoring etc.

How did undertaking the APM PPQ fit in with your work schedule?

I had four weeks holiday to use up during the COVID lockdown. I studied and then sat all the invigilated exams (remotely) during that time.

How long did it take you to complete the qualification? On average, how many hours did you spend on it per week?
There were four modules to complete.  It was a concentrated period of studying over four weeks which included also sitting each module, invigilated remotely exam.

For each module it was around 30 hours studying time including my own need to have a ‘mock’ exam.

Did you feel supported whilst working through the online PPQ content?
Yes, very much so by 20/20.

I would sit the example paper as a mock paper under the exam conditions.  Phil Jeffries at 20/20 was helpful on feedback and providing encouragement.

How will your new qualification benefit you going forward?
It will support my aspirations to continue to develop as an Engineering Project Management Leader and hopefully inspire others to be more intentional with their own professional development.

How likely would you be to recommend 20/20 to a colleague/friend?
Very. They provided excellent course material for studying and support. The on-line portal was very effective. A mark of 10 /10.


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