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WMG students win national apprentice-style contest

WMG students win national apprentice-style contestIssued by APM on 10/04/2007

APM’s second annual Student Activity Weekend (sponsored by BAE Systems) took place on 23rd-25th March as part of their initiative to engage more students with the wider APM community.

Four teams of five postgraduate students, representing Glasgow Caledonian; Northumbria; Robert Gordon; and Warwick universities competed for APM’s ‘John Edge Award’ at the Uplands Conference Centre, High Wycombe. The project advisors for the weekend were Martin Haddrill and Richard Preston.

The project brief for the teams was to raise £50.00 from an initial budget of £100.00 through the buying and selling of goods in the local area over the course of the weekend. The money raised would then be donated to Oxfam to be used as a loan for someone in Africa to set up a new business. As well as the starting budget, teams also received a minibus for the weekend and various resources to aid their research of the local area. Aside from the competitive nature of the challenge, another important factor for the teams was to gain a good practical experience of applying the project management theory covered in their studies. The judging criteria of the teams against which the teams were assessed focused on the appropriate application of project management skills as much as raising the £50.00 target.

After a relaxed introduction and dinner on the Friday evening, both teams got stuck right into the planning phase of their project with real enthusiasm, and by early Saturday afternoon all teams had got their plan approved and signed off by the project advisors and were given the green light to move into the implementation phase. The teams’ plans all focused on obtaining second hand goods from local charity shops and fairs on the Saturday afternoon, with the intention of selling these at fairs the following day. Time was very tight, and the teams were also required to report back to the advisors and judges at certain stages during the implementation.

All of the teams worked hard long into Saturday night preparing for the sale of their wares the following morning. The teams also had access to the project advisors to check on their progress and to give some last pieces of advice.

With the clocks going forward in the early hours of Sunday morning another challenge was the very early start to get to the fairs in time to catch the first-minute rush, with the judges having the opportunity to visit the teams at their respective fairs. Northumbria and Warwick set off at 4am to get to Hounslow and Milton Keynes respectively, although Northumbria later changed destination and joined Warwick in Milton Keynes. Robert Gordon were next to leave for a local fair and were able to later move to Taplow in Berkshire which proved a more lucrative choice. Glasgow Caledonian made advantage of the later start at Taplow and were able to be much more relaxed in their preparation, which was further credit for their excellent risk management process.

All teams had clearly impressed with their enthusiasm, hard work, and the rate at which they had adapted their studies to a real situation. Prior to the final presentations, a mere handful points separated them, and it was a real shame to only have one winner. All teams had learnt and developed greatly over a short space of time and after much deliberation, the judges came to a decision, which was announced by BAE Systems’ paul Goodge. Val Edge, wife of the late John Edge, presented the 2007 John Edge Award to Warwick University. Warwick had impressed with their professional approach to the task, the way they had operated as a team, and the skills of their appointed project manager, Arbab Noor Muhammad Palijo.

Every team had put in a tremendous level of effort throughout the weekend, and although nobody reached their goal of £50.00 profit, everyone had a great time and gained some vital project management experience for the future.

If you would be interested in attending the 2008 Student Weekend, please contact Owain Wilson at owain.wilson@apm.org.uk