Interview - James Patraiko

We recently caught up with James Patraiko who had been sponsored by EVMT to receive a Project Fundamentals Qualification from the Association of Project Management (APM). Here's what he had to say.

Hello James. Could you provide us with some information about your qualification?

I met Mark Townley through a career mentor scheme offered by my university. I chose Mark from a long list of potential mentors, due to his evident enthusiasm to be a mentor and as I thought his CV looked just like one I’d aspire mine to evolve into by his career stage. Once paired up, I was delighted to accept Mark’s offer to sponsor me through a project management qualification.

Mark’s suggested course was the Project Fundamentals Qualification, created by the Association of Project Management – a chartered body for the project management profession.

The course aims itself at those with 0-2 years of project manager experience, ‘wishing to gain a broad understanding of the principles of the profession. If achieved it will offer the individual the knowledge to make a positive contribution to any project’.

How do you feel the course went?

My company ‘Corre Energy’- a green energy storage start-up, agreed to allow me a week of leave, in which I studied the information dense, 150 pages of an A4 study guide. Shortly after my week of study, I sat an open exam in Clifton, Bristol. The exam waiting room was filled with budding project managers, all flicking though their identical study guides and poring over notepads while I concentrated on my stack of flash cards. The exam room was instantly reminiscent of the countless such rooms that I’d been in throughout school up to my master’s university degree – at the end of which, naively, I had thought I had taken my final ever exams.

An exam pass grade of 60% meant my score of 80% awarded me the qualification. An email of congratulations from APM was followed by an online certificate and a badge which I was able to easily attach to my LinkedIn profile.

What have you enjoyed and learnt from doing this qualification?

The claim made by the APM, that a course graduate can ‘make a positive contribution to any project’ initially seemed a little bold. However, while studying the course, I began to lose my cynicism and now I genuinely do believe these claims. The course’s purpose is partly to ground trainee project managers in a common project language, avoiding costly misunderstandings down the line and also to act as a foundation upon which to build. It teaches its content by journeying through the classic lifecycles of a project and along the way explores many of the techniques that have evolved over the years that improve the chance of a given project succeeding. These techniques range from predicting disasters, to using psychology to empower a team. This course, and by extension, project management as a whole, is so enjoyable to me for its intuitive nature. This becomes obvious when you think that almost everything we do is a project by definition, even grocery shopping for example.

I enjoyed it so much in fact that I’ve requested for my company to sponsor me for the second stage of the APM course called, Project Management Qualification (PMQ). The text book for this is twice as big and the exam is 3 hrs. It allows the graduate ‘to achieve a broad level of project management knowledge sufficient to participate in projects from individual assignments through to large capital projects’. My request has been accepted so I’ll be completing this in 2020.

What are your plans for the future?

My field is Renewable Energy Engineering, as this is what I read for my integrated Master’s degree at university. The field has so much going for it; it’s rapidly growing, is desperately needed all around the world, involves exciting cutting edge technology, benefits the planet environmentally and socio-economically - what’s not to like? My ambition is to gain as much PM experience in this field as possible in order to become as effective as I possibly can. Then ideally, I’ll be able to choose renewable projects that I am particularly interested in. My dream goal for the last decade has been to help bring renewable energy to less economically developed countries which don’t have access to electricity since infrastructure, in the way of transmission and distribution grid lines, is so basic. There’s over a billion people globally without access to electricity so my work will be cut out for me!

We wish James all the best for the future.

If would like further information about gaining an APM qualification or to discuss career prospects in project management and marketing, please contact us at evmtmarketing@gmail.com

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