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Hinkley Point Project

Programme Manager

Programme Manager

What do programme manager jobs involve?

A programme manager’s day-to-day responsibilities are often similar to those of a project manager. One key difference, however, is the size and scope of their responsibilities. Usually, a programme will be made up from several smaller, inter-connected projects. It’s up to a programme manager to ensure that the overall programme meets its targets and is a success.

Programme managers are required in all sorts of organisations, meaning you could work in a variety of different sectors, including:

»   Engineering

»   Construction

»   Finance

»   IT

»   Manufacturing

»   Marketing

You’ll take on the responsibility for planning, organising and implementing high-scale projects that can often be very complex. You’ll maintain an overview of everything, delegating individual projects appropriately. You could find yourself planning budgets and resources, mitigating risks, reporting on a programme’s status, managing project teams and more.

What is a programme manager’s salary?

As a programme manager, your salary can vary depending on your level of expertise, as well as the sector and organisation you’re working in.

Early in your career, you can expect to earn between £20,000 and £40,000 per year, with this figure rising in line with your experience. Programme managers at the peak of their career can see their salary increase to anywhere between £60,000 and £100,000, with some going even higher.

These figures are intended as a guideline only. 

What skills do I need?

To succeed in programme manager jobs, you need to be highly organised, with excellent time management and the ability to multi-task. You need to be confident working under pressure, and able to find creative solutions for problems.

You’ll need to have good communication and interpersonal skills, and the ability to motivate those around you. Having a solid understanding of procurement processes, as well as project management methods such as PRINCE2. Finally, commercial acumen is key, as is a working knowledge of the specific industry you’re in.

What qualifications do I need?

To become a project manager, you’ll need a minimum of an undergraduate degree, ideally in Management, Business Administration or another related area.

While not essential, having a postgraduate qualification can help give you an advantage when it comes to applying for roles.

What are the hours and conditions?

As a programme manager, you’ll usually work between 35 and 40 hours per week. This will usually be office hours, running Monday to Friday, 9 to 5. However, there may be occasions when you need to work extra hours, sometimes at evenings and weekends, to ensure deadlines are met.

Where you spend your working day will depend largely on what sector you’re in. You could be mainly based in an office, or could find yourself travelling to construction sites or other locations. It’s likely that travel will be a regular occurrence, and you may have to spend some time away from home.

Career progression

With the right training and experience, there are good opportunities for career progression in programme manager jobs. Depending on the size of the organisation, you could move up the internal career ladder, taking on responsibility for larger programmes, eventually moving into a director position. Alternatively, you could opt to move into a consultancy role instead.

To help you make the most of your opportunities and maximise your earning potential, you may want to look into completing a professional qualification, or becoming a member of a recognised industry body.

Areas of specialism 

Due to the nature of the role, programme managers have the opportunity to work across a broad spectrum of industries, meaning there are a variety of different areas you can choose to specialise in. Opting to remain in the same sector throughout your career can help you acquire specialist knowledge, being viewed as an expert in your field.

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