Creating a world-class cohort of project leaders for Downer

Downer saw an opportunity to boost the skills and accreditation of its project leaders in order to achieve its strategic vision. Learn how PM-Partners delivered an award-winning, customised capability uplift programme that is helping to develop and maintain a highly-skilled workforce and set new standards in project management for the construction industry.


  • Downer sought to upskill and formally accredit its current and future project leadership cohort.
  • PM-Partners created and delivered a project management capability uplift and accreditation programme called ‘Project Plus’, specifically customised to Downer’s needs.
  • Through its collaboration with PM-Partners, Downer now employs a comprehensive and potent development framework for its project leaders, helping it maintain one of the most advanced project management workforces in the world.

Customer background

Downer is a publicly listed company (Downer EDI Limited) with a history spanning over 150 years. It designs, builds and sustains assets, infrastructure and facilities across Australia and New Zealand and employs approximately 50,000 people across more than 300 sites.

The challenge

Project management capability is the lifeblood of Downer and the company is firmly committed to hiring and developing world-class project managers.

To achieve its strategic goals, including growth and market positioning, Downer identified an opportunity to enhance the capability of its project delivery workforce by upskilling and formally certifying key roles working in and leading projects.

How PM-Partners helped

PM-Partners worked with Downer to design, implement and deliver a wholly customised project management workforce development programme called ‘Project Plus’ targeting the organisation’s current and future project leaders. This involved:

  • Undertaking skills assessments and identifying project management training needs.
  • Defining and establishing project management capability standards.
  • Developing customised training courses in line with industry standards.
  • Developing course material to align with Downer’s four strategic pillars: safety, delivery, relationships and thought leadership.
  • Developing a blueprint for workforce development excellence.
  • Delivering capability uplift services through in-house training.

The ‘Project Plus’ course content draws on project management best practice in Australia and New Zealand. It is delivered by certified trainers with hands-on experience in the building and construction industry.

Outcomes delivered

The award-winning ‘Project Plus’ development programme has helped set new industry benchmarks for workforce planning, talent development and project planning.

Downer undertook to upskill its project leaders and, to date, it has trained more than 1,200 employees in the region using ‘Project Plus’. As Downer continues to grow and change, it now has a blueprint for workforce development excellence.

“PM-Partners’ work in delivering a customised workforce development program meant that we were delivering something closely aligned to our Pillars, that delivered to Board-level vision and provided immense benefit to our employees and customers. That’s not to be underestimated.”
– Candice Mesecke, Executive Manger Organisational Development and Change, Downer

Indeed, Mesecke directly attributes improved talent retention to ‘Project Plus’ by awarding recognised, career-building qualifications and ensuring people have the opportunity and support to reach their full potential.

Today, PM-Partners continues to deliver ‘Project Plus’ for Downer, growing and maintaining the strength of the company’s world-class project management workforce.

PM-Partners now offers similar training and development courses, specifically targeted to the building and construction industry. These lead to the award of a Certificate IV in Project Management.

Do you need a pathway to ensure your delivery leaders are fully knowledgeable and formally qualified in project management? For more information on how PM-Partners can develop a customised development programme for your organisation contact the team or call us on 1300 70 13 14 today.

  • CLIENT Downer
  • WE DID Capability uplift, team training

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