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The UK’s Major Projects Authority (MPA), which has been established to develop a cadre of world-class project leaders within the Civil Service, has asked the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School to help establish its Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA), to help train project leaders. The project leaders working for the authority are responsible for delivering expensive and complex government infrastructure projects such as the Olympic Games and the UK’s high-speed train network, and part of the aim of the MPLA is to reduce the need to involve costly outside consultants in projects.

Saïd, in partnership with Deloitte, will design and deliver a one-year programme drawing on the expertise of other Oxford departments as well as the work of Saïd’s BT Centre for Major Programme Management. The plan is for 150 project leaders to be trained at the MPLA within the next four years, with the first two cohorts starting in October 2012. The three primary themes addressed will be: major project leadership; technical understanding of major project delivery; and commercial capability.

The programme will be academically rigorous, says Paul Chapman, Academy Director at Saïd Business School. “But it will also focus on the practical skills necessary to develop senior practitioners that can deliver very large and complex projects on time and on budget. We will be drawing on our considerable experience of working with senior project practitioners from around the world, as well as our research insights in developing the first programme of its kind for the public sector.”

The announcement of the agreement was made by Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.


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