On 31 August 1997 the practical 20-day project management course, the Programme in Project Management (PPM) was launched. Since then, this programme has been presented a total of 154 times and well over 7000 people have already benefitted from the course. This arguably makes it the best-known project management course in South Africa.
While the responsibility for the academic content of the project management course is with the Graduate School of Technology Management of the University of Pretoria, course arrangements are facilitated by the Enterprises company (the continuing education platform of the University).
Unlike the post-graduate programmes of the University that focus on both practical and theoretical aspects, the focus of the PPM is on the development of practical project management skills in the workplace. It includes several practical assignments that are performed in the place of work (e.g. the development of project plans, risk management plans, etc.) that attendees do, each in his or her specific work environment. The programme is suitable not only for engineers, but also for individuals involved in or interested in projects in any other environment.
The PPM however benefits much from post-graduate courses and research: The University has been offering a Master’s degree programme in Project Management (MPM) since 1999. Currently this is the only master’s programme on the African Continent that is accredited by the Global Accreditation Center (GAC) of the international Project Management Institute (PMI). To hone the project management skills of PPM attendees, a multi-disciplinary team of lecturers – each a subject matter expert in a specific project management knowledge area – ensure the development of project managers with a working knowledge of the broad range of disciplines needed for successful project management. These lecturers, teaching the PPM, are to a large extent the same ones that also teach the MPM. Research work done by MPM students, lecturing staff and PhD candidates ensures that the lecturers keep up with the latest developments and best practices.
In December 2006 the leading construction and engineering company, Group Five Ltd, invited proposals for project management courses from several training providers and, after rigorous assessment of the proposals, selected the Graduate School of Technology Management of the University of Pretoria to assist with the furthering of the project management discipline within this group of companies. The course selected was a tailored version of the PPM that had already been running successfully since 1997. The first Group Five course intake commenced on 9 June 2007. Since the launch of this first intake, another 8 intakes of the PPM course were successfully completed within the first 10 years of collaboration. A total number of 244 Group 5 delegates have been enrolled on the 9 course intakes and a relatively high pass rate was achieved, signifying that the delegates mastered the skills required to manage their projects successfully. Mr Jacques le Roux, head of the Group Five Academy, commented on the decade of collaboration by saying: “We started this programme 10 years ago to enrich our first-line project managers to have the necessary skills sets to turn loss-making projects into to profit-making projects. Over the 10 years we did more than that. We built a professional internal project management body that is able to function across our various construction, manufacturing and concession businesses.”
The PPM is presented in two alternative modes with identical course outcomes: the one a 20-day programme, presented in 4 study blocks of 5 days each and the other presented on 8 Fridays and 8 Saturdays. There are several intakes annually.
Course schedules and contact details of staff who can assist with enquiries are elsewhere on the website.