Association for Project Management
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Tenth SWWE Project Management Challenge Competition: Finals and Awards Night 2023/4

On the evening of the 23 May 2024, around 120 excited sponsors, customers, mentors and team members packed themselves in to BAWA in Bristol for the tenth South Wales and West of England (SWWE) Network Project Management Challenge Finals and Awards Night with four down-selected teams competing for the Winner’s trophy.

At the end of the night after four remarkable presentations, the Winners trophy was awarded to Team Synergy from Babcock who are based in Plymouth.

Team Synergy delivered a project to their chosen charity, Ash Rescue. Ash Rescue is a rescue charity dedicated to relieving the suffering of equines and wildlife through rehabilitation. The objectives of Team Synergy were around providing project management support to improve the management of horse sponsorship scheme, build of a data management and to upgrade the existing payment system.

Concluding statement from the Jenny at Ash Rescue charity stated…"Ash Rescue is grateful to the brilliant Team Synergy for their help in creating a software package for our Horse Sponsorship Scheme. Sponsoring one of our rescue horses has been a vastly under used tool because of the amount of time and effort it took to do previously. Team Synergy recognised where and how they could help improve our system, they put together a clear, concise plan, involving us at each stage. We were impressed by their professional and helpful approach and their understanding of our technical limitations. The end result is a system that is easy to use and highly efficient and will be a huge asset for the future of AR.”

The other Winners award of the evening went to Atkins, Team Apex. They won the Best Storyboard award for delivering a project to their client, John Wesley’s New Room in Bristol, who provide a variety of events to promote community enrichment. A place where everyone is welcome to explore, step back, take time, reconnect and recharge.

Team Apex project focused on a social media campaign, café decoration and redesign, fundraising planning and an alcohol licence for the premises. Team Apex can be seen in the picture below.

The standard of the presentations on the night was, yet again, astonishing. All of the twenty teams competing in this year’s competition have obviously worked extremely hard and have gained lots of valuable experience and knowledge that will help them to develop their careers as project professionals. All teams were asked to deliver outputs and benefits to deserving projects across the community and, importantly, were able to demonstrate and develop their own professional project management competences, understand critical success factors, develop their own personal behaviours and learn from their mistakes, as well as get a taste of what it feels like to be part of an integrated team delivering a very real project.

The other finalists competing in the competition were; Team Albatross from Airbus (working with Great Western Air Ambulance charity), Team Impact from Turner and Townsend (working with their charity Jessie May) and Team Uplift from Airbus (working with their charity Wild Hogs Hedgehog Rescue).

There were sixteen runners up teams who also competed in the Best Storyboard competition, and these are shown below along with their chosen charities. The significant number of participant teams represents an astounding collective contribution by corporate project teams in the South West to the charity sector, representing corporate community reach, social value and collaboration that makes a big difference to the lives of many people across society who either struggle or are disadvantaged in life.

The Project Board consisting of Head Judge and SWWE committee member Bruce Phillips, SWWE Network chair and deputy chair Paul Johnson and Gary Mainwaring, SWWE committee members Martin Gosden and Allan Reid, John Bone (Senior Lecturer, SGS College), Sarah Halstead (Atkins), Mike Hooper (Atkins) and Carolyn Bellars (MOD), managed three key assessment stages:

  • Provision of a project plan in December 2023 that identified smart outputs and benefits to be delivered, associated resources, costs and key risks;
  • Provision of a final report in March 2024 which demonstrated how the teams delivered the project outputs and benefits defined in the original project plan using a range of competences defined in the APM BoK; and
  • The delivery of four 15 minutes presentations at the Awards and Finals Night.

Bruce Phillips, who managed the competition overall, said “The project board was unanimous in its praise for the significant effort shown by all entries in the SWWE Network’s tenth successful PM Challenge competition. All of the aspiring project professionals in all of the competing teams have worked extremely hard to deliver their projects. It is astonishing to see such a high standard from such young professionals and that their outputs are actually being used for very worthy charitable and social causes. Whilst winning the competition is ‘icing on the cake’ every member of every team is a winner as the competition is all about individual and collective learning and development. Every single member of each team should be justifiably proud of their achievements in delivering real benefit to the wider community and, equally as important, the development of their personal and professional competences for their future careers in the project profession. I would urge you all to keep that thought at the front of your mind and to build upon these experiences – both in terms of success and in what you have learned - as you develop your careers further.”

All participating teams, mentors, sponsors, corporate organisations, charities and supporters were thanked and congratulated on their excellent contributions towards another successful Challenge competition which would simply not be possible without their support, commitments and motivations. The SWWE Challenge competition has really blossomed over its ten years existence which has been fundamentally achieved through both the sustained contribution of our corporate communities in the South West and also the realisation that having a career in the project profession can bring huge opportunities to our project professionals of tomorrow.

Bruce Phillips


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