Project manager

Project managers work in many different areas of the health service. They lead on the delivery of projects, making sure agreed outcomes are achieved on time and within budget.

Starting your career

Subject choices

At school, there are lots of things for you to think about when choosing subjects. If you’re thinking about a career as a project manager, useful subjects include:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Administration and IT
  • Business Management
  • Computing Science
  • Engineering Science

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job in the health service.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you the skills, knowledge and work experience you need to start your career as a project manager.

Find out more about these Foundation Apprenticeships:

Modern Apprenticeships

Start or continue developing your career in project management with a Modern Apprenticeship.

Find out more about these Modern Apprenticeships:

Graduate Apprenticeships

Graduate Apprenticeships are a great way to learn the technical, practical and job-specific skills you’ll need for this role. A Graduate Apprenticeship is work-based, but you’ll also attend college or university to get your degree.

Find out more about these Graduate Apprenticeships:

College and university

If you decide to go to college or university, you can do an HND or a degree before starting your career as a project manager. Make sure you choose a subject related to the area you want to work in.

Many Scottish colleges and universities deliver courses in these areas:

  • Business Information Systems
  • Business Management
  • Computing
  • Construction Management
  • Engineering
  • Finance
  • Management and Leadership

You should check specific entry requirements before applying.

If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). The programme supports adult learners who would like to do a degree.  

Some universities also provide access courses to help you get the entry qualifications you need for a degree programme. 

Search for college or university courses on My World of Work.

Other career pathways

Some project managers start their careers in roles such as:

Professional qualifications that also help you get into this role include:

  • PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner level
  • Agile Project Manager Foundation and Practitioner level

The role

As a project manager, you’ll plan and lead projects by organising people, and resources, assigning tasks and managing risks.

You’ll find project managers working in almost all areas of the NHS. The types of projects you’ll work on could include:

  • capital investment
  • business operations
  • workforce planning
  • public health
  • digital transformation

You may lead lots of projects at the same time, depending on the needs and priorities of the organisation.

What you’ll do

Tasks include:

  • plan and start the project by finding out the needs of the organisation or service
  • develop a project plan
  • agree the timescales, budget and resource requirements
  • choose and co-ordinate the project team
  • identify and manage issues and risks
  • use project management software to schedule tasks, manage resources and monitor progress throughout the project lifecycle
  • provide regular progress reports to stakeholders, including problems and solutions
  • evaluate the success of the project

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • communication
  • teamwork
  • leadership
  • risk management
  • critical thinking
  • decision-making

Who you’ll work with

As a project manager, you’ll work with a wide range of people. This will depend on the project or part of the health service you work in. In the NHS, this could include:

  • programme manager
  • project officer
  • healthcare service manager
  • health economist
  • civil engineer
  • finance manager
  • IT manager

Working environment

Project managers work in an office, or remotely.

Learning and development

During your career as a project manager, you could gain additional qualifications, such as a master’s degree in Project Management. Short courses or self-directed learning will provide opportunities to learn new tools, technologies, systems and processes.

These qualifications will help your career prospects and could lead to more senior roles, such as:

  • lead project manager
  • programme manager
  • healthcare service manager

Professional bodies

As a project manager, you can join these professional bodies: