There are routes into the career for experienced professionals, graduates and school leavers alike.
Many project managers get appointed to the role after having worked in that particular industry for a significant period of time, as they have lots of related knowledge and skills to bring to the project.
However, many employers run project management graduate schemes, in which graduates start out as an ‘assistant project manager’ or a ‘graduate project manager’ in order to learn the ropes of project management. Whether you require a specific degree will vary according to the industry, employer and specific graduate scheme: for example, some engineering and technology organisations will require STEM subjects but many organisations will accept applications from all degree disciplines.
Similarly, a few organisations – particularly in the construction, engineering and manufacturing industries – offer higher or degree apprenticeships in project management. Entry requirements vary, but typically include a minimum of number of GCSEs (or equivalent) and a minimum number of UCAS points. Other organisations offer apprenticeships in various business-related roles (such as supply chain) that could eventually lead to a project management job.
Whatever stage in your career you become a project manager, you are likely to be required to pick up an industry qualification, such as those offered by the Association for Project Management (APM), the PRINCE2 or ‘Agile’ project management theory. It is also likely that you will need a full, clean driving licence.
You can find graduate opportunities at TARGETjobs and school leaver opportunities on TARGETcareers. The Association for Project Management and the professional bodies in the specific industries are also good sources of vacancies.