Kick Start Your Project Management Career with APM’s PFQ

Carrying on with an Association for Project Management (APM) theme this week – did you know that they have recently changed the names of the two main accreditation?

Previously there was the Foundation Certificate – that’s now called Project Fundamentals Qualification (PFQ) and the other one which was the next level up – the APMP – is now called Project Management Qualification (PMQ)

I often get asked about which courses to do if you’re starting out in project management. Normally people want to jump straight onto PRINCE2 but I often think that’s a bit like learning to cook by using a recipe card rather than taking a cookery course in some of the basics first.

So I often recommend the – what was the Foundation certification – but is now the PFQ as a first step.

The PFQ really is the fundamentals of project management – it is the basic knowledge of good project management practice.

It’s the “how project schedules work” and the “why do risk management”.

It’s the basic technical knowledge you need before progressing onto things like methodologies (PRINCE2 being one of those) or pulling together a project plan for a real project.

And there’s a cost-effective way to do it

You can do a training course if you like – but if money is tight, and you know you are happy to work through a case study with supporting material under your own steam – you can do it as a distance learning course – with an exam at the end for just £250 (at the time of writing there is a sale which takes it down to £200)

You can take the course through Parallel Training – more details here.

We’ve tried it ourselves

We started trialling the course a few months back here at Arras People to find out how it worked and if we would recommend it.

And yes we would.

To get started you get the Study Guide.

It’s simple and easy to read through – with all the basic concepts covered. As you work through the book, you’re also using a case study about a new project manager who has to manage a web design project.

Alongside the study guide, there are video lectures and podcasts to listen to that reinforce your learning.

There are also exam style questions at the end of each chapter – these get you ready for the actual exam if you choose to take that and receive your certification if you pass.

You can take your time – or go through it as fast as you like.

The exam is also taken online – its done using a remote proctor using a web cam so you choose when it’s convenient to you.

Here’s what included in the total package:

  1. The APM fundamentals study guide published by APM and written by Parallel Project Training.
  2. Twenty bite-size video lectures presented by the authors of the APM fundamentals study guide.
  3. Eighteen reflection exercises in which you consider how to apply the principles to your projects.
  4. Twenty five podcasts which you can download and listen to as you travel.
  5. Twenty four case study episodes in which you watch a new project manager apply the principles of project management to her first project.
  6. One hundred and four sample multiple choice questions to check you progress with the course.
  7. A full sample exam paper.
  8. An on-line tutor support via our study group.
  9. Online APM Project Fundamentals Exam (APM PFQ).

Personally I would recommend this course and this method to anyone who is just getting started in project management – it’s a good course and a great price.

Then what?

From here you can decide if methodology training is something to consider i.e., PRINCE2 – or you might want to continue your APM journey and opt for the Project Management Qualification (PMQ) which you can also do online (personally I would recommend an in person training course if you’re quite new to project management because it is quick a jump up from the PFQ level). You might also decide that actually you want to explore the offerings from PMI.

There’s plenty more reading available on this blog about what to do in your personal development – find out more by searching for PRINCE2, APM or PMI.


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