How to become a... Project Manager

how to become a project manager
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by Jessica Tabinor on

There are fantastic project manager jobs available in the UK, with the chance to work on exciting projects in a variety of different sectors.

Keep reading to find out more about the skills you’ll need to enter this field and to discover if a career as a project manager is the right fit for you.

RATES
£20-80k dependent on experience

HOTSPOTS
Hinkley Point C / HS2

QUALIFICATIONS
Undergraduate Degree
 

What do project manager jobs involve?

Project managers take on the responsibility for ensuring projects are completed on time and within budget, as well as ensuring all key objectives are met. In this role, you’ll be in charge of planning and overseeing all aspects of a project, leading by example and being seen as the main point of contact for key stakeholders.

The role is a varied one, with the opportunity to work in a wide range of different sectors, including:

  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Marketing
  • IT
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Sector
     

The nature of project manager jobs mean that your day-to-day duties will vary, depending on the industry, organisation and project you’re working on. However, common activities include creating detailed project plans, working out budgets and resources, monitoring and tracking a project’s progress, carrying out risk assessments, recruiting and overseeing specialists and sub-contractors, evaluating results and more.
 

What is a project manager’s salary?

The salary you’ll earn as a project manager can vary considerably according to the industry you’re in, as well as the organisation and location.

In an entry-level position, you can expect to earn anywhere between £20,000 and £35,000 per year. As you progress and gain more experience, this figure can rise to between £40,000 and £80,000 per year, depending on the industry.

If you decide to go into business for yourself as a freelance contractor, you can set your own rate, with averages falling between £300 and £500 per day.

These figures are intended as a guideline only. 
 

What skills do I need?

To be a successful project manager you’ll need a good understanding of the industry you’ve chosen to work in, whether that’s construction, engineering, marketing or any other discipline. However, there are a number of key skills that are important for all project managers, regardless of sector.

First and foremost, excellent organisational and time-management skills are key, as is the ability to multi-task and perform well under pressure. You’ll need good communication and interpersonal skills in order to motive your team and manage the expectations of senior management and other stakeholders. A good grasp of maths and some financial expertise is also important, as you’ll need to be able to create and manage budgets.
 

What qualifications do I need?

It’s possible to begin a career in project management with an undergraduate degree in any subject. However, certain subjects, especially those focused on business or management, will give you a head start by providing you with an understanding of the commercial elements of projects.

If you complete an undergraduate degree in an unrelated subject, you can always opt to complete a postgraduate course in project management afterwards.

Many large organisations offer graduate schemes, allowing you to gain vital industry experience, often while completing further training and qualifications.
 

What are the hours and conditions?

You can expect to work between 35 and 40 hours per week, Monday to Friday. However, this may vary in certain sectors. You may also be required to work additional hours during evenings and weekends to meet deadlines, as and when deadlines dictate. If you’re a freelancer, you can set your own hours.

Your working environment will vary depending on your sector. You could find yourself spending most of your time in an office, or alternatively could spend a good deal of time based on construction sites or manufacturing plants.
 

Career progression

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there are numerous opportunities for progression throughout your career. To help you move up the career level, you may want to look into gaining a professional qualification through organisations such as the Association for Project Management (APM), Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and Project Management Institute (PMI).

You’ll develop a number of transferable skills in your career as well, meaning you can choose to move into a different sector if you so wish.
 

Areas of specialism 

As previously mentioned, there is a demand for project managers in a wide range of different industries, giving lots of opportunities for specialism. Rather than move from one sector to another, many project managers will choose to specialise in one, working to grow their knowledge in that specific field.


To search for opportunities across the sector click here. Or, browse our dedicated HS2 and Hinkley Point C pages for more information.


Cx Jobs

Project Engineer

I am currently working with one of the UK's leading engineering contractors who require the services of a Project Engineer to undertake a portfolio of data cabling projects across their MOD sites in Portsmouth.As a Project Engineer you will successfully plan and control day-to-day activities in support of customer projects, in order to deliver them to the time, cost, quality and customer satisfaction objectives as defined by the Project Manager. You will be required to:Supervise field-based staff and subcontractors as required.Demonstrate appropriate Health and Safety leadership to ensure that the safety first and foremost message is visible and alive throughout any activities carried out.Ensure adherence to policies, processes and proceduresEnsure under direction, all works comply with standards and to meet and exceed client expectations, as well as the requirements to meet/exceed international standards and manufacturers installation guideline systems.To provide leadership for the project delivery team and to maximise the potential of the team and the individuals within.To participate within bid activity; as requested by the senior management and to work in conjunction with the Business Development department and in line with Focus Win processes.Aid with input in the preparation of the business plans and budgets. Based on the initial contract parameters and objectives. Seeking opportunities to suggest actions which maximises profit on the project.To provide appropriate input to all monthly reviews in line with business procedures to ensure that the management team have full knowledge of the completion and financial status of the project.To manage all related activities to the successful completion of the projects. In line with agreed quality and commercial plans to achieve targets within agreed timescales and cost constraints.Ensure that positive relationships are maintained with the customer through efficient delivery of projects with a view to optimising future opportunities and profitability.Ensuring design and installation meets internal and client specifications and statutory requirements The right candidates will have:Project Engineering experience on MOD Data Cabling projects.Current SC Clearance or have previously obtained this.SMSTSFirst Aid For more information on this role, please contact Scarlet Wilson on 01617071516.

Project Engineer

I am currently working with a leading engineering contractor that require the services of a Project Engineer to undertake a portfolio of data cabling projects across their MOD sites in Portsmouth.As a Project Engineer you will successfully plan and control day-to-day activities in support of customer projects, in order to deliver them to the time, cost, quality and customer satisfaction objectives as defined by the Project Manager. You will be required to:Supervise field-based staff and subcontractors as required.Demonstrate appropriate Health and Safety leadership to ensure that the safety first and foremost message is visible and alive throughout any activities carried out.Ensure adherence to policies, processes and proceduresEnsure under direction, all works comply with standards and to meet and exceed client expectations, as well as the requirements to meet/exceed international standards and manufacturers installation guideline systems.To provide leadership for the project delivery team and to maximise the potential of the team and the individuals within.To participate within bid activity; as requested by the senior management and to work in conjunction with the Business Development department and in line with Focus Win processes.Aid with input in the preparation of the business plans and budgets. Based on the initial contract parameters and objectives. Seeking opportunities to suggest actions which maximises profit on the project.To provide appropriate input to all monthly reviews in line with business procedures to ensure that the management team have full knowledge of the completion and financial status of the project.To manage all related activities to the successful completion of the projects. In line with agreed quality and commercial plans to achieve targets within agreed timescales and cost constraints.Ensure that positive relationships are maintained with the customer through efficient delivery of projects with a view to optimising future opportunities and profitability.Ensuring design and installation meets internal and client specifications and statutory requirements The right candidates will have:Project Engineering experience across MOD Data Cabling projects.Current SC Clearance or have previously obtained this.SMSTSFirst Aid For more information on this role, please contact Scarlet Wilson on 01617071516.

Team Leader

Our Client based in Hilsea has a requirement for 2 x Team Leaders. This role has an initial 3 months trial period and if successful will ongoing. The Role: Responsible for managing the performance of people and processes in a designated production area of a transparency manufacturing plant and facilitating all production and information flows. Manage employee relations working within procedures and ensure effective interface between management team and employees Support Value Stream Manager in all business aspects Maintain flexibility in line with business needs Key Deliverables Environment Health & Safety Ensure compliance to Company Policies and initiatives within the business area - reporting all incidents, accidents and near misses as per the company's procedure and implement identified corrective actions. Provide regular coaching and training to support adherence to EH&S. Quality Accountable for the quality of products and equipment on site. Accountable for ensuring all direct reports are trained competently. Identify food and bad quality practices within the value stream and escalate appropriately. Analyse quality data trends and facilitate improvements. Delivery Responsible for producing local Capacity and Production plans Meet customer demand through driving the workforce to deliver on time products using motivational techniques. Escalation or resolution of potential shortages (materials, consumables etc.) with recovery plans to mitigate impact to delivery schedule adherence (DSA) Responsible for lead times. This role is on a 9 day fortnight. 5 days week 1, 4 days week 2. No onsite parking

Scheme Project Manager (333874)

Job Title: Scheme Project Manager Location: York Duration: 6 Months INSIDE IR35 Role Brief: To manage projects through various stages of the life cycle and to support and assist delivering the overall project portfolio managed by the team. Knowledge/Experience Required: * Successful relevant experience including project management. * Educated to HNC/HND or similar standard. * Project safety management experience * Knowledge of Oracle Projects * Knowledge of safety, quality and environmental procedures. * Knowledge of commercial and financial procedures.

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