Powerproject has been the project management training platform for LJMU’s BSc (Hons) Construction Management for over a decade. The software is used throughout the three-year full-time degree, and also with those students undertaking a five or six-year part-time qualification.
Senior lecturer John McLoughlin explains: “We introduce project planning concepts in the first year and start with MS Project for the real basics. But in the second and third years we use Powerproject, and use every single facility within it over the rest of the course.” The reason for this is made explicit in the course aims, since LJMU strongly believes that projects that simulate real-world work give students an essential understanding of industry practice and enables them to translate their academic studies into valuable professional experience.
Powerproject is tailored for construction and is intuitive for students to use. Powerproject produces accurate results with a superior presentation of the final programme, which is very important nowadays.
The widespread use of Powerproject across the UK construction industry is a major driver in the choice of platform. Nearly all major contractors and many smaller outfits and sub-contractors use it, and the University have several partnerships with local contractors, who provide work placement opportunities. They are always very impressed that LJMU have students using Powerproject. But the construction management students are not alone; Powerproject software is also in use by hundreds of students on LJMU’s undergraduate and masters programmes in civil engineering.
The field of construction is constantly evolving, and it is important that educational institutions stay ahead of the curve. The advent of BIM and transformation to a digital construction industry is one of those curves, and LJMU students are already given the best preparation possible for this changing world. LJMU students are confident with technology, and well up for its use. They are very impressed that we use the BIM module of Powerproject.
Somewhat inevitably, BIM features increasingly strongly in the course content overall. LJMU run a BIM collaboration module, where students can take advantage of the University being a multi-disciplinary institution. LJMU run the module across disciplines including students learning quantity surveying, architectural technology or to become building surveyors. Each one has a different specialist aspect: some cost, some structural design, some construction.
The most powerful endorsement of the professional and career value of learning project management with Powerproject really comes when students start to interact with real construction contractors. In addition to the work placements negotiated with local contractors, major contractors such as Laing O’Rourke, Kier, ISG, Galliford Try and others play a role in the University via Industrial Panels.
LJMU is actively exploring the opportunities driven by the need for collaborative BIM, not only with the project management software, but with other Elecosoft applications such as Bidcon, which would provide even better integration opportunities with courses such as quantity surveying. Whatever the future holds, at LJMU, and others, Powerproject is clearly and firmly a part of the professional higher education of future construction managers and civil engineers. A fact that appears to be very warmly welcomed by the construction industry.