Over the next year, it's estimated Gen Z will make up over 42 percent of the consuming and working population in 2020. Poised to disrupt the workforce with the influx of 61 million job seekers, it's imperative the next generation is equipped with skills that help promote confidence, communication and collaboration. Vikki Kapoor (Vik), PMP®, Project Management for Life (PM4L) Founder and Vice President of the PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter couldn’t agree more.
“Project management isn’t just a career, it’s a way to learn life lessons regardless of your age,” says Vik in an interview with The PMI Educational Foundation, “The earlier these basic principles can be taught the more beneficial they can be.”
In 2014, Vik suggested teaching project management to kids as a way to encourage growth within the PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter and interest in social good efforts, leading to the beginning of PM4L.
“Our chapter tasked us with thinking of ways we could engage with our community and I thought helping local youth could be a good place to start,” said Vik.
PM4L is an initiative aiming to provide early education and awareness to students about project management. The name PM4L as a concept was formed later in 2015. The initiative does not focus only on project management as a career choice, but also provides learning experiences and outcomes that can be applied in daily life. Vik’s co-founders, Guinevere Gilbert and Zeina Assouad, were two key chapter members that helped get the initiative off the ground.
“The PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter has many passionate volunteers. I think a lot of PM4L’s success is due to their help,” said Vik.
Since its creation, PM4L has promoted project management as an important life skill, focusing on introducing project management to school-aged youth who can benefit immensely from learning core project management principles and incorporating them into everyday life, then applying this skill in a successful professional career.
In 2018, PM4L achieved a breakthrough with the Westbourne Grammar School in Melbourne, and created a pilot for year 9 students. The team completed the pilot in 2019, with four sessions spanning across the year. The pilot included 16 total workshops for 150 students with sessions covering the fundamentals of project management. The series of project management workshops focused on project management introduction, scoping and risk analysis, communication, stakeholder engagement/team work, and lessons learned. Westbourne Grammar School Principal, Ms. Meg Hansen, and year 9 director, Brendan Evans, provided their support throughout the year, encouraging students and other teachers to participate and collaborate with PM4L.
“We utilized the PMIEF resource library as a basis for our workshops, and we were able to tailor the lessons to the students from there,” said Vik.
By leveraging the PMIEF knowledge bank as the basis for the educational material, the workshop series targeted year 9 (freshman) students who are experiencing project-based learning in their curriculum.
“At first we had a hard time engaging with the students. I’m not sure if they were too shy or a little intimidated by the curriculum. But, once they became familiar with the volunteers and PM vocabulary, we started seeing some more participation,” says Vik.
The sessions with the most participation were demonstrated with fun games, exercises and group consultation. Students applied project management skills to their assigned projects, and have benefited immensely with topics such as:
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)
- Risk Management
- Stakeholder Engagement
“To further motivate the students, we offered raffle competitions for their projects, with prizes such as movie tickets. We wanted to motivate them and make the activity more fun. Our team was really pleased with the results,” says Vik.
When one youth participant was asked about her experience with the workshop, she replied “I enjoyed learning about leading a project and how to inform my stakeholders.”
This effort wouldn’t be possible without the help of the incredible PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter members listed below.
- Vikki Kapoor (PM4L Founder, Vice President PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter)
- Zeina Assouad (PM4L co-founder, Outreach Director PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter)
- Dr. Guinevere Gilbert (PM4L co-founder, Lecturer RMIT University)
- Dr. Tiendung Le (Lecturer, RMIT University)
- Dr. Omid Haass (Lecturer, RMIT University)
- Jeferson Souza (Volunteering Director, PMI Melbourne, Australia Chapter)
- Amit Merwar
- Dr. Sharon Liu
- Emily Lowe
- Shandiz Afshar
- Mark Bozovic
- David Moret
- Yarra Kabbani
For more information on how you can use PMIEF’s resources to grow your chapter’s social good efforts, visit the PMIEF resource library and connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!
To learn more about the PM4L initiative, please contact Vikki Kapoor at firstname.lastname@example.org.