THE Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM) has welcomed the recent announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormick that a major spending boost is being planned for the October budget to launch new construction projects.
With "significant" new spending on top of the existing $100 billion infrastructure list, the availability of skilled project management resources will be crucial to successful project outcomes of this scale, according to AIPM. This resource is essential if these projects are to adhere to industry standards and use of best practices, the institute said.
The announcement coincides with the upcoming release of a study by researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU), and supported by AIPM, which analysed the efficiency of a group of projects in different industries. The study found that construction projects in the group had the lowest average efficiency, whereas the mining industry had the most efficient projects.
“With a focus on infrastructure and construction projects to help steer Australia’s economy out of the COVID-19 period, government needs to consider the availability and competency of a skilled project management workforce to deliver projects efficiently to ensure that the original investment is maximised," AIPM CEO said Elizabeth Foley said.
“There are numerous examples in the building and construction industry where a lack of skilled labour, poor cash flow, smaller profit margins, high insurance cost, and the lack of a business case have resulted in failures in safety and risk and the high rate of failure of projects. In line with our recent advocacy at state government level, for projects of this scale, certified project managers are needed who can demonstrate that they have the practical experience their resumes claim, and evidence that their experience is up-to-date, and their knowledge is growing with changes in industry and technology,” Ms Foley said.
ECU joint chief investigaor Richard Hughe said, “Project management forms part of a standard competency required across multiple industries. The job-relevant knowledge of planning methodologies and procedures, delivery, controlling and handing-over of projects can only be obtained through the legitimate study of project management fundamentals through accredited tertiary qualifications.
“If you’re a project manager, no matter which industry you’re working in, it’s important to ensure effective communication, collaboration and coordination with your team and stakeholders, as this was often associated with more efficient projects” Mr Hughes said.
According to Ms Foley, universities and vocational educators also need to ensure that project management courses are available in Australia now to accommodate the urgent need for a skilled workforce. It is essential that these courses have been assessed by project management specialists and meet the requirements of the project management industry.
Ms Foley said, “It is imperative that the higher education courses related to project management that are available today have high-quality content and delivery, to ensure there is the skillset to deliver on the projects that will carry Australia out of the COVID-19 crisis and consequent recession.”
AIPM and ECU’s joint research will be available for release by downloadable eBook on the AIPM website on September 21, 2020.