Cultivating the Next Generation of Project Leaders
The next generation of project leaders is already out there — in high schools and universities around the world. One of our jobs at PMI is to help bring them into the profession. PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) is doing just that — with the support of great partners and some highly innovative programming. Olivier Lazar explains all.
Imagine you’re 17 or 18 years old and you’re interested in engineering and hot cars.
Now imagine that someone gives you a once-in-a-lifetime chance to design, build and race a miniature Formula 1® car using some of the advanced technology employed by real Formula 1 teams. And you get to race the car you’ve designed competitively at Silverstone, the home of British motor racing in the U.K.
Would that be cool or what?
The best part of this scenario is that it’s not a fantasy. It’s very real, and it’s brought to you in part by PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF).
In recent years, PMIEF has worked with leading nonprofit organizations around the world to integrate project management into programming for youth ages 5 to 19. It’s all part of PMIEF’s mission to enable youth to realize their potential and to transform lives through project management and PMI’s vision of “inspiring youth to achieve their goals, making dreams a reality.”
“PMI is looking to the future by cultivating the next generation of project professionals,” said Ashley Forsyth, Executive Director of PMIEF. “Our aim is not just to energize the profession by engaging smart young talent. It’s to empower young people who are passionate about social change to drive transformation and help solve society’s biggest challenges.”
In this case, PMIEF has teamed up with F1® in Schools, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing an exciting yet challenging educational experience through the magnetic appeal of Formula 1. Its main objective: to help change perceptions of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and to encourage careers in STEM fields by creating a fun learning environment for young people.
The project involves some 26,000 schools around the world and culminates in a five-day World Finals event at a Grand Prix venue. This year’s event at Silverstone’s Wing International Conference and Exhibition Centre brought together 53 teams from 25 countries.
Integrating Project Management
Thanks to its partnership with PMIEF, F1 in Schools is integrating project management into its programs. Staff and in-country coordinators have participated in project management training and coaching, and project management has been built into the competition handbook, which will ultimately be used by 1 million youth in more than 50 countries.
Beyond F1 in Schools, PMIEF has partnerships with Junior Achievement Africa and Special Olympics International. In addition, last year PMI launched the PMI Make Reality Challenge — a virtual global hackathon competition for college and university students to develop creative solutions to challenges related to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
In seeking to engage young people, PMI has one important advantage over many other organizations: the skills we teach are immediately applicable to a young person’s life regardless of their age. Just ask Libby Atkin, a 17-year-old student in the U.K., whose team, “SBA Avidity,” won the Best Application of Project Management Award at the Aramco F1® in Schools World Finals, held 14 July in Silverstone.
“I’ve definitely applied some of the principles of project management,” Libby said. “Being at school there is a lot of schoolwork, including coursework on the subject I study. Improving my time management skills and understanding how to delegate time to each individual task has really improved how I tackle things. If I get faced with a challenge or an obstacle, I can now think more critically about the situation.”
Libby served as the project manager on her three-student team, which also included team manager, Missy McArdle, 18, and engineer, Alex Jenkin, 18. All three hail from Scarborough in northern England.
“Project management teaches a number of important life and professional skills,” says Forsyth of PMIEF. “These include team management, organization, time management, goal setting, to name a few. PMIEF is thrilled to see how all the teams in the competition embraced this learning opportunity to understand what project management is and apply it to this exciting and fun STEM challenge.”
Applying Project Management Skills
These sentiments were echoed by members of “Hydron,” the Australian team that was crowned overall winner in the competition.
“I’d really like other young people to know about the utility of project management,” said Will Johnson, Team Principal (with project management specialty), of the Hydron team. “When you actually adhere to these things and set up work breakdown structures, scope statements and other key project management principles, these things can form a really strong skeleton for the team to build itself on. Project management is really important and something that all up-and-coming F1 in School students can really have.”
One other lesson that students in the competition seemed to have learned is the importance of people-centered power skills.
“Teamwork and collaboration have also been really important,” said Libby. “As we’re a small team, we’ve had to collaborate no matter what. Everything gets combined for the end result – it’s a competition at the end of the day, and we all have to meet the same standard. All this has really helped me improve my teamwork skills.”
Could this exposure to project management help refresh the ranks of the profession? Perhaps so, says Libby. “I definitely think project management is a potential career path for me,” she said. “I’m quite an organized person and like things to be in order… I’m interested in the management side of things, and I could see it as a future career path!”
That would certainly be a win for all of us in the project management profession.
Vice President, Youth & Social Impact | PMI
The Earth Prize 2023 is now open!
We are happy to share that registration for The Earth Prize 2023 is now open! The Earth Prize is an annual $200,000 environmental sustainability competition for students between the ages of 13 and 19 all over the world, which rewards the teams whose projects have the most potential to address environmental issues.
Participants in The Earth Prize have access to mentorship by university students from top universities and exclusive learning content covering key environmental sustainability concepts and featuring young environmental change-makers from around the world (here's a sneak peek).
The winning team receives a $100,000 prize to be split between the team members and their school, and 3 runner-up teams receive a $25,000 prize each for their schools. One teacher participating in the competition as a supervisor will also be recognized as "The Earth Prize 2023 Educator of the Year" and rewarded with a $10,000 prize.
Students and teachers can now register on our website for free until November 30th.
For more information, visit www.theearthprize.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just to let the F1 in Schools community know, our Founder and Chairman, Andrew Denford completed his mammoth charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats – 969 miles in 9 days!! 🏆🚴
Click the link below to view his story and to donate!
AUSTRALIAN TEAM CROWNED ARAMCO
A team of six 17-year-old students from Australia lifted the Aramco F1® in Schools World Champions trophy at Silverstone this week, as the global STEM initiative held its 17th World Finals.
‘Hydron’ with team members Will Johnson, Benjamin Noonan, Alexander Liu, Andrew Yeang, Timothy Crichton and Alastair Murphy fought off intense competition, beating 52 teams from 25 countries to win coveted university scholarships to study at UCL Engineering in London and the prestigious World Champions title.
Hydron also won the Fastest Car Award supported by Mercedes AMG F1 Team and Best Engineered Car Award supported by Williams. They were nominated for three other awards: Scrutineering Award, Best Pit Display and Best Application of Project Management.
The Aramco F1® in Schools World Finals 2022 featured 21 awards, with presenters from award supporter companies and F1® personalities. Teams from 14 countries were among the award winners, including two awards for the host nation.
The F1® in Schools competition provides an opportunity for teams of students to research, design, test, manufacture and race a miniature Formula 1 car, using some of the advanced technology applied within real F1® teams. All the teams competing this week spent hundreds of hours producing their models, and it was Hydron that rose to the top.
Taking the World Champions title was a proud moment for Hydron with Will Johnson, Team Principal saying: “When we set out it was our dream to come to the World Finals and here we are now, it’s crazy to think how far we’ve come. We can’t believe we’ve done it. It’s not one person, it’s a real team effort. It’s the teamwork, the relationship between us and our shared ambitions, all going for one thing that makes it so special.
“Our engineers did a fantastic job of designing our cars, hours and hours of work, thousands, doing the CAD modelling, but it’s the gelling of the team and working together that made our car the best too. Some of us are keen to look at the opportunity of the scholarship which is great too. We’ve put in so much work, late nights, staying back at school, getting through to the end was a big challenge, but it’s paid off for us. We’re just over the moon!”
Blackout from Wales took the runners up spot in the competition, with SBA Avidity from the UK completing the podium and winning Best Application of Project Management Award.
Andrew Denford, Founder and Chairman of F1® in Schools commented: “I am always blown away by the work of the students taking part in F1 in Schools and they continue to surprise me with the innovations and quality of their cars and the supporting presentations. Just as in the sport of Formula 1 we see teams pushing the boundaries of the rules and regulations in their determination to produce the best car; putting many hours into testing and perfecting it, and paying close attention to detail in the visual identity of their team. Hydron developed an outstanding car and showed fantastic teamwork to earn a well-deserved victory.”
“But it is not only the academic excellence that we have seen at the World Finals,” adds Denford. “F1 in Schools changes lives around the world and these boys and girls will have formed friendships which will last a lifetime. I know that they will all have learned life skills which will be invaluable throughout their careers.”
Talal H. Al-Marri, General Manager, Public Affairs at Aramco commented, “As a title sponsor of the Aramco F1® in Schools World Finals, we are now providing a platform for the brightest young STEM minds from around the world to test their skills and be inspired to pursue a career in solving some of the most pressing challenges facing the world. Our sincere congratulations to Hydron who won the coveted university scholarships to study at UCL Engineering in London and the prestigious World Champions title.”
The Aramco F1® in Schools World Finals 2022 is held with the support of a host of sponsors, including Formula 1®, Aramco, Denford, Autodesk, FIA Women in Motorsport, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, UCL Mechanical Engineering, Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, FIA Action for Road Safety and F1® Manager 22.
F1® in Schools revs up student careers