Online MSc courses in demand as sector grows
Dr Roula Michaelides, director of studies for the online MSc in Project Management at the University of Liverpool, on securing new opportunities in a growing sector.
Confidence in the construction industry is at an all-time high as construction output in the UK, and across the world, reaches a six-year peak following several years of recession. According to the latest monthly survey of construction purchasing managers by Markit for the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), the construction sector has not only survived but is now thriving. November 2013 saw global construction output grow at its fastest pace in a decade, hitting 62.6% on the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) after a long-run series average of 54.1%.
New project commissions also increased at the joint fastest pace since September 2007, which in turn has contributed to a significant increase in workforce numbers, pointing to continued optimism and rising expectations for the future.
This robust trend has created the need for a more sophisticated and skilled workforce and industry professionals are recognising the critical role an advanced education will play.
Analysis from the University of Liverpool’s Management School has revealed that since 2010, the online MSc Project Management in Construction and Infrastructure programme has witnessed significant student growth.
Fully online programmes provide a flexible and mobile learning environment that enables construction professionals to keep working while pursuing a postgraduate degree, even when based at various sites and locations around the globe.
Many of those in the online MSc in Project Management programmes are working for large corporations or as construction contractors in global “hotspots” such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
For our online students, continuing their learning whilst actively maintaining their professional working practice offers the perfect balance. Many construction professionals work in multicultural teams within their companies and benefit from the global classroom element of a fully online learning model. In fact, feedback from our online alumni and current students suggests that the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise with peers and academics from around the world is of top importance.
Interestingly, students find that similar workplace challenges arise regardless of geographical regions or continents. The ability to share views and expert advice with an international peer group provides students with a unique opportunity to learn from one another through a large network of project management professionals in the programme.
In fact, many students report that the “virtual” distance allows them to be more forthright with their advice and feedback, which they might not necessarily give or share with a colleague or fellow student within the same workplace or on campus classroom.
We are confident that as the construction sector continues to thrive, demand for postgraduate management degrees with a construction and infrastructure specialisation will too continue to rise.
The University of Liverpool has a very strong portfolio of online postgraduate programmes, including an MSc in Project Management – Construction and Infrastructure.