Project Management Training Through Skillnets

12 October, 2015

Here in Velopi we have been expanding our course offerings to include several one-day courses that make interesting ways for Project Management Professionals (PMPs)© to amass Professional Development Units (PDUs). However, the only way these make commercial sense for us is to offer them exclusively to our corporate clients.

For the unemployed Project Manager, or the Project Manager working in a small enterprise, where the training budget is tight (or non-existent), one or two day courses are really the stuff of fantasy. Even our flagship PMP© Exam Preparation and PgMP© Exam Preparation courses, which are available to the public, at venues in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, are expensive if you are funding them yourself.

So this is where the Skillnets enterprise-led learning networks come in. This is an interesting scheme whereby small, Irish companies can gain access to top quality training without paying through the nose for it.

There are over sixty Skillnets around the country and they provide training to employees of private sector and semi-state companies based in the Republic of Ireland. To avail of the Skillnets service, your company has to join one of the Skillnets training networks. Choose one that provides courses that align well with your business. For instance the Irish Medical Device Association Skillnet would cater better for the medical device industry than the Aviation Finance Finuas network.

The good news is that in most cases it will be free for a company to become a member of a Skillnet. Member companies then pay subsidized course fees for their employees – individual employees cannot pay directly for courses. If a particular Skillnet network sounds interesting, the next step for a company to do is to contact the Network Manager to arrange a discussion about how to join the network (and what fees, if any, are applicable) and how to sign staff members up for an existing training course. But the most useful part of this conversation will be your company’s training needs. The nice thing about the Skillnets concept is that the member companies drive the training agenda. If there is enough interest in a particular type of training course, the Skillnet will contact training companies (like Velopi) and organize courses to satisfy the members’ needs.

For training companies, classes with fewer than ten participants are not cost effective. However, a network of small companies can usually make up that sort of number between them. This is the reason small companies value the Skillnet concept so highly.

Another novel way that Skillnet can make up the course numbers is by opening the courses up to unemployed people for free. Ironically, for Project Managers, being employed usually means being cash-rich, but time-poor and training opportunities are passed up because of work pressure. The trouble is: unemployment reverses the problem. Now you have all the time in the world, but are acutely conscious of your lack of income.  A Skillnet course can, not only provide new skills, but also afford networking opportunities with small companies who might just be in the market for an enthusiastic Project Manager like you.

Be sure to check the eligibility requirements before applying for a Skillnet course though. If you are currently working on a Jobs Initiative (JI) scheme, a national of a non-European Economic Area (EEA) country or a full-time second- or third-level student, you are not eligible for these courses.

So if you have been interested in project management or want to introduce professional project management practices into your organization while it is still small, then our Introduction to Project Management and Project Management Essentials courses are run through the Skillnets. If you are aware that you do not have a project management qualification then our Component Certificate in Project Management course will provide a very practical, hands-on way of obtaining a Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) level-6 accreditation. It too is available through the Skillnet.

It is surprising to learn that the Skillnets have been around since 1999. They receive their funding from the National Training Fund (NTF) through the Department of Education and Skills (DES).

By Velopi Seamus Collins

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