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Connecting Projects and People North West Branch Conference

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On 9 May a wide range of delegates gathered at the Manchester Metropolitan University Business School for the 2023 North West Branch Conference.

The event was supported by both MMU’s Engineering School and the Business school and opened by the Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education, Professor Andy Dainty. Thanks are due to MMU for their offer to host the Branch Conference again.

The Branch Committee felt it was important to put this full day of activities together again this year as the flagship for Branch events held in the North-West and reflecting the principal themes that the Branch is targeting for 2023.

As motivating factors for the profession, some very significant investment is planned in the North-West over the medium term including:

  • The proposed Innovation District in Manchester is a £1.5 billion investment over the next 10 – 15 years in the heart of the city. This will replace a large part of the University of Manchester North Campus.
  • The Hynet decarbonisation project based on the Stanlow oil refinery is a £5.2 billion investment in carbon capture and storage and the introduction of hydrogen fuels.
  • Over £200 million of government levelling-up funding for Barrow. Liverpool and Manchester.
  • Private and social housing projects

All these projects, and others, provide plenty of opportunities for the profession to attract & retain great project management talent and capability in the North-West.

The Conference title of “ Connecting People and Projects “ comprised a full day of presentations and interactive sessions with three simultaneous streams running through most of the day.

These streams each focused on one of the words in the title with a wide variety of topics ranging from building and managing teams, professional development and change management to how to project manage the Manchester Nightingale hospital. The intent was to provide plenty of opportunity for delegates to get involved and contribute to the sessions throughout the day rather than just listening to presentations.

To complete the programme a facilitated panel discussion was held in the late afternoon and covered a wide range of issues.

This year’s Conference attracted around 120 delegates, approximately 50% higher than the 2022 Branch Conference. The delegates included project management practitioners, students, corporate members, employers, academia and all who have an interest in the subject of Project Management.

The main sponsor for the event was Stantec with other stands being taken by Capgemini, Imprend and DBD. The overall response to the event on the day was very positive and subsequent feedback included:

“A very enjoyable and useful day to maintain connection to the Association and improve network.”
“Great networking and mentoring opportunity”
“Had a real community feel and strengthen my links with the APM and with my NW colleagues and peers.”
“Many thanks to APM NW Branch for putting on an excellent event.”
“Thank you North West branch for connecting practitioners, corporate partners and students.”
“Great work to the whole team for putting on a varied and informative programme that challenged all levels of project people.”

As a result, the Branch committee are already thinking about a 2024 NW Branch Conference so watch this space!

The speakers have very kindly allowed their presented material to be made available for viewing. The slides on Slideshare are now available in our APM resources area. Please click on the links below for each speaker:

Juliet Maynard, Business Change Project Management in Public Sector Environments: Science and Engineering Delivering the Academic Vision Project

Kun Wang and Ian Stewart - Can Artificial Intelligence learn to be a project professional?

Josh Hodder - Stakeholder Engagement “Your secret weapon for project success”

Nick Karamanis and Sundus Ahmad - Managing Teams: setting-up, managing and developing the PMO team of a growing small size consulting company

Andy Murray - Building your legacy: professional development with curiosity and purpose

Jane Dowson - How lean are we?

Liz Bohler - Why the northwest

Tim Lyons - Understanding how humans work within teams

Stephen O'Malley - 15 minute cities - Accessibility is gold mobility is not

Mark Roberts and Amy Blong - Supercharging regional presence

Marion Thomas - Soft skills training for project management




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