Association for Project Management
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APM North West Conference 2024: Synergies Across Sectors

The APM North West Conference was an event organised by the APM North West Network, with the theme ‘Synergies Across Sectors’. The theme this year built upon last year's theme of Connecting Projects and People.

The conference was hosted by Neil Horner, the APM North West Network Lead, and Charlotte Brew, the Deputy Network Lead, supported by the APN North West Network Team. The event was sponsored by Stantec and held at the Pendulum Hotel Manchester.

The organisers made every effort to make the conference as supportive, diverse, and inclusive as possible. This year the North West Network team were keen to explore and celebrate the Project Management ‘Synergies Across Sectors’. This theme was selected against the backdrop of a diverse portfolio of project demand across the Northwest of England presenting opportunity and complexity to professionals and organisations. Against this backdrop the North West Network Team are keen to inform, inspire and excite all about the opportunities which lie ahead.

The conference featured an inspirational line-up of speakers including professors of the profession, leaders within the largest regional businesses, specialists, and expertise in the field of project management, diversity, and future talent. The conferences was opened and closed by our regional network lead, Neil Horner, with Professor Adam Boddison, the Chief Executive Officer for the APM, setting the context for Project Management within the UK.

The Network Team introduced Graham Winch, Professor of Project Management for Alliance Manchester Business School who provided great perspective on the history and complexity of project management as we transition into a new future.

Thereafter the conference program was structured into three themes: Adaptability and frameworks, Breaking down barriers, and Economic performance. The APM North West Network were keen to present attendees with choice, and the opportunity to make the event, ‘their event’.

A diverse portfolio of speakers delivered content and session throughout the day, this included:

Insights into what to do, not how to do it from Alan Livingstone, Stantec, A perspective on how ‘The future is fractional’ by Karen Frith of Greenlight Partners. Barney Harle, Manchester City Council shared Lessons Learned across projects, whilst Nathan Lumb, GEIC explained Agile adaptability: navigating project management in a dynamic world. Our audience were inspired by stories from Elaine Falconer, Jacobs Karen Williams of Jacobs who shared a personal story of New to nuclear - transition into nuclear from other sectors, whilst Si Bellamy OBE of the Eden Project discussed the need for demonstrating positive action for the planet. Supporting our inclusivity and diversity agenda Caroline Keep of the University of Central Lancashire provided inspirational insight into Inclusive practices in project management and leveraging digital frameworks for diverse minds. Whilst being inspired by expertise in the profession the people and project showcase created opportunity for apprentices supported by the APM North West Network to share their stories, experiences, and new insights. Adding a practical dimension Phil Hardy challenged all on ‘Getting the scope right! Illustrating the fundamental principles of project management through the media of Lego.

This energetic and diverse conference concluded with a closing keynote on Synergies Across Sectors with representatives’ form BAE, Sellafield, and Manchester City Council. The discussion, facilitated by our Network Lead, Neil Horner built upon a round table event held in March 2024 with regional leaders from across the region operating in nuclear, rail, media, infrastructure, public, private, and education contexts delivering critical UK infrastructure and global operations. The panel discussion brought scale, pragmatism, and honesty to the themes, providing a keyhole insight into the priorities and challenges our largest regional portfolio businesses face affirming the opportunities this creates for all.

The APM North West Conference was a very successful event that brought together project professionals from across the region to explore, prioritise, and celebrate Synergies Across Sectors. Attendees commended the North West Network for assembling the programme and hosting such a valuable event.

The APM North West have proudly built upon the foundations established in 2023, Connecting Projects and People, to celebrate the ‘Synergies Across Sectors’ with plans already developing for a next level conference in 2025.

Please continue to engage with, support and benefit from the APM North West Network as we work together to maintain and develop a vibrant local community, facilitating knowledge exchange, networking opportunities and outreach on behalf of the Association of Project Management.


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