A brand new module on project management was an exciting new addition to this year’s programme of studies of the B.Sc. (Hons) in Earth Systems and was greeted with enthusiasm by the students reading for this degree.
Two of the second-year students involved had the following to say:
“EMP2019 has been the most challenging yet rewarding unit in the course so far. Meeting people who are actively involved in industry, and working within a team aspiring to create a successful, fully implementable project left me very appreciative of this opportunity.” - Jeremy Bartolo
"Personally, the project management unit was a huge learning curve. This unit gets you involved in real-life situations that may be encountered in the workplace, while teaching you essential soft skills that can only be learned from experience." - Luca Laudi
The new study-unit EMP2019 is designed to equip students with key knowledge and skills needed for environmental project management, and to give them practical hands-on experience of the design, planning and execution of a mini-project. The first part of the unit comprised a lecture-based overview of the concepts involved and a detailed introduction to the phases of conceptualising and planning a project, including project initiation, PERT planning, budget and resource considerations, risk management, and project implementation overview.
Students then applied the unit’s taught element to the design and implementation of their own mini-project, working in small groups in collaboration with selected local institutions in carrying out a variety of mini-projects:
- the development of a Plastisphere educational room, and of an aquaponics system, at the National Aquarium,
- the production of a new brochure, and a cost/benefit analysis for a new irrigation system, at the Argotti Botanic Gardens and Resource Centre,
- the design of a new Quaternary room at the National Museum of Natural History, and
- the creation of a physical geography information poster, and of an interactive biodiversity field guide for the I-Land Observatory and Interpretation Centre at Fomm ir-Riħ.
The new unit’s focus on the development and practical application of all the aspects of project management will be of direct and immediate use to graduates wishing to work in the field of environmental management. According to a tracer study conducted recently by the Institute of Earth Systems, a significant proportion of students graduating with the Institute’s B.Sc. (Hons) in Earth Systems go on to follow careers in this field within governmental and private bodies, both in Malta and abroad. The degree’s programme of study has just been reviewed and updated with the specific aim of increasing its relevance within today’s competitive job market.