Why project management might actually be your dream job

No uni debt, great salaries, and loads of progression – but what exactly does a project manager do, and how do you become one? Bel French, APM’s youngest ever chartered project professional, explains…

You don’t need a degree

'A teacher once observed, "You work the hardest, but you get the worst grades,” and it was true – I put in a lot of effort but wasn’t very efficient. The answer was organisation. I started doing assignments early, making revision notes, and using bullet journalling; it helped, and I really enjoyed it.'

'I didn’t want to go to university, so I looked into apprenticeships and found one in project management. It dawned on me I could be organised for a living! I trained mostly on the job with a construction company codeand was just 22 when I became chartered with the Association for Project Management (APM). It’s a recognition of professional competence that has really helped boost my career.’

You can pick any industry

'As a project manager, you’re responsible for liaising with clients and suppliers, planning and implementing projects, and ensuring they run on time and to budget. Find an area that excites you, e.g. fashion or tech, and there will be businesses that need project managers.

'I chose construction, as I love the idea of visiting places knowing I’ve been part of their development. I now work for Gleeds, a global property consultancy. There have been times in site offices when I’ve been mistaken for the receptionist but diversity is improving. Most people are keen to see more women in the industry.'

You can earn good money

'Because I did an apprenticeship, I don’t have any university debt, and the earning potential is great especially when you get o higher grades [an average project manager’s salary is £47,500 per annum].

A lot of friends went to uni and are now on graduate salaries, but because I’m that bit further ahead in my career, I’ve found financial freedom much earlier.'


APM is the only chartered membership organisation for the project profession. To learn more about the routes into an exciting career, visit apm.org.uk

Featured first in Cosmopolitan UK - October 2022 issue

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