DEVELOPING LEARNING MANUALS FOR EUROPEAN CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGERS
The need for further training in construction and project management has been extensively recognised by professionals and organizations worldwide. Several authors have been recognising that traditional graduations in civil engineering and architecture in several European countries do not provide enough knowledge on these topics therefore requiring people to enter into complementary training actions in order to overcome this problem. Actually, the traditionally packed curricula of most programmes offered by European higher education institutions and the legendary bias to design subjects leave little room for management topics and some resistance from academics to even consider that.
On the other hand, this yields the opportunity for developing specific training for those professionals, encompassing subjects not usually mentioned in the syllabus of their graduation courses. Moreover, professional competency in project management is truly achieved by the blend of knowledge gained during training and abilities developed through experience.
The project reported in this paper managed to merge under the same objective a set of authors from different institutions, countries and backgrounds for a common task of producing seven learning manuals into several relevant topics of project and construction management. It was a large scale project entitled “Common Learning Outcomes for European Managers in Construction”, financed by the European Union. The contents were previously discussed in the scope of project meetings and gained the experience of previous research projects conducted by the same team in the topic of construction management training in Europe. The content of the manuals was later assessed by the other project team members and by the project advisory board which has been set up with a set of relevant professionals from each country involved.
As already said previously, the outputs of the project were seven books. The length of each book was about 50.000 words or 120 pages in A4 paper size. The manuals were entitled as follows: “Project Management”, “Human Resources Management in Construction”, “Partnering in Construction”, “Economy and Financial Management in Construction”, “Real Estate Management”, “Business Management in Construction Enterprises”, and “Construction Management”. Each book was self contained and it could be read separately. However, reading the entire suite could add value, because the reader gets the whole picture of the construction process from a managerial point of view, allowing him/her to create links among the manuals hence, improving his/her understanding.
However, the success of the project can only be measured by the adhesion of training institutions to adopting the manuals for learning courses in the subjects approached and this can only be reported at some point in the future. Meanwhile, it is recognised by the authors that the project positively contributed to the development of construction management in Europe.