The Association for Project Management (APM) seventh Body of Knowledge (BoK7) was released mid-2019. As training providers got to grips the new edition, no one would have believed the relevance and value of material relating to virtual teams and virtual leadership.

As I have not had a chance to go to PL Projects’ (PLP) head office in Elsie Whiteley Innovation Centre (I joined in October 2020), my induction, introduction to other colleagues and finding my place in the PLP training team was all done virtually. Mike Bates, my virtual leader, with the power of his Surface Pro pen, had already transitioned to online delivery using GoToMeeting (GTM) – coupled with his affable and direct manner, virtual teaching seemed a breeze. I had a lot of learning to do! 

I have worked with Paul Whitehead (the other Training Manager at PLP) before at Leeds Beckett University, and that familiarity gave me the confidence to start contributing to delivery almost immediately, but the long-standing double act of Mike and Paul together can be daunting – I mean they can literally finish each other’s sentences! This, though, is one of the key factors that has led to a high success rate of APM assessment candidates and is why PL Projects have a long-term training relationship with Leeds City Council learners for not only the PMQ exam, but now also the Level 4 Associate Project Manager apprentices. (Did you know you could use you Apprentice Levy for a Level 4 apprenticeship that includes the PMQ as an on-programme assessment? You do now!).

I have been working with apprentices since 2018 in civil engineering and am still mentoring some of these to their End Point Assessment (EPA). In the Associate Project Manager apprenticeship, I am mainly supporting the first apprentices to develop their Portfolio of Evidence (PoE) and am getting to know the new Leeds City Council cohort beginning their 18-month journey to EPA.

Virtual teams work better with the right technology: I am pleased to say I am getting the hang of Slack, have dabbled in Miro and Mike has even sent me my own power pen. Along with the standard GTM conferencing sessions, virtual delivery seems to be my business-as-usual/steady state modus operandi.  

Although I sit in the training side of PLP, I have been supported fantastically by Marina and Molly, got nitty gritty with SharePoint and Nathan, had a crash course in the QMS system by Nicole, and virtually met others whilst contributing to a bid. I am looking forward to getting to know more of my colleagues in due course.

What do you get from PLP Training? You get support, you get passion and now you get the dynamic duo with me. I am not sure how white my hair needs to get before I can be finally be inducted into the team, but I do know that I have some awesome role models in Mike and Paul.