PM Group won the 2016 CPD Employer of the Year Excellence Award from Engineers Ireland. In this article, Una Healy, the company's training and development manager, discusses the company's CPD initiatives and why they are key to attracting and retaining top talent
Civil

In November of this year, PM Group, the international project delivery company, won the 2016 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Employer of the Year Excellence Award from Engineers Ireland.  This is an independently assessed award which recognises the company’s culture of learning and development across all its international offices and the corresponding investment by PM Group in its people.

The company’s commitment to CPD is core to its success, and it is a learning organisation. Graduates and experienced hires in the engineering sector know the value of CPD and PM Group’s suite of programmes puts it at the pinnacle of the engineering sector – comparable to peer companies in professional services and multinational organisations.

Graduate training programme


Throughout its 43 years in business, PM Group has focused on providing graduates with further training and development.  The programme was formalised as far back as 1998 and updated in 2006.  A major milestone was the appointment of the dedicated Group Training and Development Manager who has helped drive the programme and overseen the rebrand in September 2016.  Today, every graduate recruited to PM Group takes part in the redesigned two year, Next graduate programme.

3336-pm-new-office-2139-editThe programme is specially tailored to align with changing engineering qualifications and creates the next generation of engineers, architects, and project managers, providing them with all the support and training they need to progress to the next stage of development in their PM Group career. The programme has been fast-tracked, now delivered over two years (previously over four years) to give graduates every opportunity to learn. Aside from the development aspect, the programme creates a strong team bond and a real information-sharing culture across the organisation.

Graduates learn about the key technical skills in their field, project management and communications skills, and, as a result, develop an understanding of PM Group’s business and customer base. As well as structured learning to develop the key competencies required for their role, graduates get intensive on-the-job training. The opportunity for an international learning assignment matched to a graduate’s specialism is currently being rolled out as part of the programme and is very attractive to new entrants to the workforce.

The learning does not stop after the participants graduate from their programme, as there are a number of key competencies that PM Group needs embedded in its employees’ professional DNA and it constantly works to help employees develop these skill sets to improve their career path.

Fostering innovation


One of the initiatives commended by the 2016 CPD Employer of the Year Excellence Award from Engineers Ireland was the Innovation in Action Award programme, which is a competition open to all employees. It provides a real opportunity to solve long-term and challenging problems for PM Group and its customers, while also gaining internal recognition, enhancing technical skill sets and presenting innovations at the highest level. It is a source of huge pride among employees to feature in PM Group’s Innovation in Action Award process, which can ultimately lead to commercialisation of processes or solutions.

The awards are run by the Group Technical Officer, who draws on the expertise of the specialist technology group from across the organisation. Any employee can enter an idea for the award, and will receive mentorship and assistance in bringing their idea to the next stage. There are a number of categories  ̶  with a substantial individual prize of €10,000. Last year’s individual recipient was former graduate, Graham Langton, whose innovation looks at modeling cost-effective energy efficient workplaces.  The Innovation in Action Award initiative was recognised as best in class and is a huge motivator across the geographic and specialism mix of PM Group employees.

Creating managers


ja2_9493-edit-edit-editEmployees continue to learn as they progress within PM Group and every year candidates in each office are selected by their local operations manager take part in the management development programme. This programme spans a year, with a day each month of training off-site in the Irish Management Institute or a similar location. Participants take the company challenge, working together to identify and solve problems faced by PM Group and its customers. The teams create practical solutions to practical problems, and present these to their peers and to management, working to implement them once the programme is complete.

Inculcating learning


PM Group keeps the learning ethos at the core of its business – it seeks out individuals who want to progress and develop their careers by improving their expertise and expanding their experience. While employees can undertake eLearning and lunchtime training sessions year-round, PM Group’s project management training is also hugely important for employees. As an industry leader, PM Group has supported universities and colleges in the development of their courses. The expertise held within PM Group in this area is a major asset in attracting experienced engineers to the company where learning agility is valued and encouraged across projects, industry sectors, and international offices. Lessons shared is an important part of the CPD programme and also forms part of the company’s drive for consistent excellence in project delivery.

Developing leaders


img_6225The ‘always learning’ mentality in PM Group is a fundamental part of the senior management structure too. Individuals are hand-selected to participate in a two-year programme leading to a MSc in Leadership. Formal and informal mentoring systems are seen as a really important part of developing leaders in PM Group.

Senior managers and company leadership encourage all employees to really engage with the CPD programme.  It is cited as one of the significant attraction and retention factors, and it makes people proud of how their company implements their learning culture across their offices.

About PM Group

PM Group is an international project delivery company operating across Europe, the USA and Asia. The company has an excellent worldwide reputation for designing and delivering complex specialist workplaces. With a strong performance this year and planning for positive future growth, PM Group is hiring 500 graduates over five years.

Una Healy is the group training and development manager in PM Group. Listen below to Una explain why PM Group’s CPD programme won the 2016 CPD Employer of the Year Excellence Award from Engineers Ireland.

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In November of this year, PM Group, the international project delivery company, won the 2016 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Employer of the Year Excellence Award from Engineers Ireland.  This is an independently assessed award which recognises the company’s culture of learning and development across all its international offices and...