"By stripping away a lot of the ‘white noise’ which surrounds projects and project management in general, we get to the heart of the issues that make or break projects."


Ian Thompson

PhD Student (Mech. Eng.) Queen’s University Belfast


“Hello. My name is Ian Thompson and I’m currently reading for a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the Queen’s University in Belfast. I have completed the CAPM training course which was spread over five different days. Why did I do the CAPM course? Well, doing a PhD you are given a set amount of work to do, or given a task to do, and you’re given an amount of time to do it in. It needs done in that time so, basically, you have to manage your own time yourself which I see as just a massive project over the space of three years. So I thought, right let’s get a bit of experience in this and managing such a project. There’s no better project than one you have a vested interest in!

 So, I decided to do the CAPM course which has actually helped me in my PhD time allocation of what I can do when, what needs to be done by when. One of the most important things I’ve found was being able to budget my time. It was really helpful as I was advised to draw up a Gantt chart of my three years and what needs to be done and when I need to have it done by. And that way at the start I was able to look at this and so I could see over the next three years of my plan of work. That way it kept me on track and if I was falling behind I knew where I had to pick up time or if I was ahead of time where I could possibly finish early.

Another thing I found useful with the CAPM was the course on risk and risk assessment and risk management. You can plan the project to the nth degree but unforeseen circumstances do happen. One example was I actually had to go to a conference in Germany and the Icelandic volcano erupted and I wasn’t able to fly there but I had to get to the conference to present a paper. So, luckily we knew that the volcano might erupt so we’d planned to get a boat and hire a car. We had all this set in motion before we left and before we knew that the plane would be cancelled so that was one such topic that definitely helped me. So that was my day-to-day going about…

Also, I thought it would be useful to get it just for employers would find it beneficial. Especially if you’re going to rise up the ranks of a company you’ll become in charge of a number of people and, I’m sure, sooner or later be in charge of a project so I thought it would be useful from that point of view. I am quite an organised person so I wanted to get a proper grounding in how to properly organise events etc. Also, within my university they recognise that I was doing external accreditation modules and they thought that was good for the university and good for me as an overall point to put on my CV. It was also good to have external tutors coming in from the outside and teach us as opposed to being self-taught within the university. Again, that’s good for the university and good for the companies coming in.

On a whole I would definitely recommend the CAPM course; I found it useful and beneficial. Even if you don’t use it later on I found it useful for my PhD. And even just allocating my time in general; even down to, I don’t know, organising holidays – even just my own time in general, what I can do and when I can do it. I hope that helps! Thanks.”

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